The pacer injured himself while playing in a Ranji Trophy game.

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Veteran Indian pacer Ishant Sharma is a major doubt for the two match away Test series in New Zealand, as he badly hurt his ankle while playing in a Ranji Trophy game. Turning up for his state team Delhi, the fast bowler injured himself in the game against Vidarbha while appealing for a wicket.

The incident occured in the first innings when Vidarbha player Faiz Fazal was hit on the pads by an Ishant Sharma delivery, prompting the lanky pacer to appeal energetically. However, he sustained an injury during that appeal as he twisted his ankle.

 “Ishant has twisted his ankle and has swelling. It's looking pretty bad at the moment. We will not risk him again in this match. Let's hope it's not a fracture," a senior Delhi team management member told PTI anonymously.

"If it's pure swelling, he will be fit in some days. He needs to go to NCA (National Cricket Academy) obviously and get his rehab done along with RTP (Return To Play) certificate," he added.

The 31-year-old had picked up three wickets and conceded just 45 runs, before suffering this nasty injury. He looked in serious pain after the ankle twist and needed immediate medical attention on the field.

Ishant Sharma has been ruled out of the remainder of the Ranji Trophy game, and seems unlikely to be fit in time for playing the practice game in Hamilton. He will undergo further tests to determine the extent of his injury, but initial reports and observations suggest that the fast bowler will be a major doubt for the Test series against New Zealand.

Sharma has played 96 Test matches so far for India, and is the most experienced bowler in the trio of him, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. The Test series against New Zealand starts on February 21.

Photo courtesy: AFP/ Dibyanshu Sarkar