It came as a surprise when it was announced that senior pacer Ishant Sharma will not feature in the Delhi Capitals’ opening game of IPL 2021 against Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai on Saturday.
Considering that both Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje were not available for the game – both South African speedsters were serving their mandatory quarantine – it seemed a questionable decision by the new captain, Rishabh Pant, to not include Ishant Sharma, as well as Umesh Yadav, for youngsters Avesh Khan.
However, it has now been revealed, according to a report in the Times of India, that the 32-year-old seamer is carrying a niggle and hence wasn’t fit for selection.
Only recently, in the Test series against England, Ishant Sharma made his comeback. He was ruled out of IPL 2020, after playing just a single game in the UAE, with an abdominal muscle tear. Consequently, he missed the tour to Australia as well. He achieved fitness again and played his 100th Test.
Delhi is already hit by a couple of absentees – Shreyas Iyer and Axar Patel – and would be hoping that Ishant Sharma’s injury doesn’t compound their problems further, albeit having depth in their pace bowling department.
Avesh Khan, who recently had a terrific Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, picking up 14 wickets in 5 matches, continued his good form on Saturday. He dismissed Faf du Plessis and MS Dhoni, both for ducks.
Delhi openers delivered goods against CSK
Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan made a mockery of CSK’s total of 188 with their 138-run opening partnership in 13.3 overs. Both the openers continued their form prior to the IPL 2021- Dhawan was brilliant in the ODI series against England while Shaw had a record-shattering Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Rishabh Pant, leading the Capitals in place of Iyer, was pleased with his side’s performance, especially the way the bowlers fought back in the death overs after Suresh Raina’s half-century in the middle-overs.
“It always feels good when you get the win in the end. In the middle phase, I was under some pressure. But Avesh and Tom (Curran) did well in the middle to restrict them to 188. It was very special walking out for the toss with MS. He has been my go to man. I have learnt a lot from him,” Rishabh Pant said in the post-match presentation.
“We were thinking as to what we will do without Nortje and Rabada and I thought we had to do with the options we have. No, there was no effort for the NRR as it is still early stages in the tournament. Prithvi and Shikhar did well for us in the powerplay. They kept it simple and played some good cricketing shots,” he added.
Delhi takes on Sanju Samson’s Rajasthan Royals on Thursday in Mumbai.
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