Canberra: Team India will not seek a cover for injured pacer Ishant Sharma as he is expected to be fit for the opening Test against Australia next week even though he has been ruled out of a three-day practice match starting here on Monday.
"The doctor has advised him rest till Monday. So we would have a fresh look at him on Tuesday. But the work on him is going on and he's improving," stated media manager G S Walia here on Sunday morning.
Ishant is recovering from injury in his left ankle which forced him to leave the field after bowling only 5.3 overs against Cricket Australia Chairman's XI here on Thursday. While the team management sounds optimistic on Ishant, it's certain he wouldn't be turning out for the three-day game against Cricket Australia Chairman's XI.
The lanky fast bowler did come with the rest of his teammates to Manuka Oval on Monday morning but spent the entire duration either strolling at the ground or turning his arm over from a stationery position at the nets.
While words are on offer to ease the doubts on Ishant Sharma, the sight of Zaheer Khan is certainly uplifting for the Indian team. The left-arm paceman was all too eager to measure and bowl for close to half an hour over two spells during the intense practice session. For a long time, he kept testing the skills of Virender Sehwag.
The Delhi dasher, fresh from his record knock in one-day arena, had to summon all his concentration to counter Zaheer and on one occasion even shouted down the noise from a considerable crowd of Indian supporters who had gathered around the nets.
Zaheer is fitter and leaner and looking to last through an entire summer of Australia which he has never been able to do over two previous visits. Young Abhimanyu Mithun also appeared eager and enthused and rapped Sehwag a number of times on his pads. He also induced edges which seemed to upset Sehwag.
Sachin Tendulkar opted for his preferred method of facing throwdowns but he too seemed upset with the kind of attempt "throwdown specialist" Raghu could manage at him.
Tendulkar wanted Raghu to bowl on the off-stump and force him to either drive or leave the ball. As Raghu sent down a mixed bag of variety, Tendulkar abruptly stopped the nets and took him to an artificial turf at the other side of the nets.
The trick appeared to work for him as the master batsmen then spent a long time at the nets. India's fielding drill was intense on Monday morning with players putting themselves up to some sharp catching and throwing sessions.