According to a Times of India report, Ishant Sharma has opted out of Delhi's Ranji Trophy campaign in the upcoming edition of the tournament, after uncertainty over his Test career. The report further suggests that the team management is planning to move on from Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.
India are currently engaged in a white-ball series against West Indies, and after the conclusion of the T20I matches in Kolkata, the national side is due to play three T20Is and two Tests against Sri Lanka. The two-match Test series is likely to begin in March, and the Indian team is expecting several changes in their squad for the red-ball fixtures against Sri Lanka.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to announce the new Test captain, and the decision is expected ahead of the Sri Lanka Tests. The Indian team management is looking forward to grooming younger players in the longest format of the game considering the ongoing second edition of the World Test Championship. Earlier, India wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha had opted out of Bengal's Ranji Trophy squad due to personal reasons. In a recent development, Ishant Sharma has also decided to skip the upcoming Ranji Trophy season.
According to a Times of India report, both the players have been spoken to about their future in Test cricket by the senior members of the selection committee. At present, Rishabh Pant has been considered as India's first-choice wicket-keeper batsman in Test cricket, and the team management will look forward to grooming KS Bharat as the backup wicketkeeper, which will rule out Saha's chances of getting a game in the red-ball format.
Ishant was part of the India squad that toured South Africa, but the 33-year-old was not picked in the playing XI, and the emergence of Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Navdeep Saini will be a threat to the senior Indian pacer's future in the longest format of the game.
“They have been told that the Indian team management is looking to groom the next line of players. Their chances of playing Tests would drop drastically,” a source was quoted as saying to TOI.
The report further suggests that the team management is planning to move on from Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. The source added that Team India are looking forward to providing more chances to the youngsters.
“Things don’t look flowery for Rahane and Pujara too. They are playing Ranji Trophy which is a good sign. They are walking a tight rope though.
“This is a good chance to give youngsters a longer run. However, the house is still divided on Pujara and Rahane. With Covid playing a big role, the dearth backup middle order batters for the next line is going to be tough,” the source added.