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Ishant Sharma contracts chikungunya, to miss first Test against New Zealand

Ishant is the most experienced of India's four pacers with 209 wickets from 72 Tests. In photo: Indian cricketer Ishant Sharma on July 14, 2016. Photograph: (AFP)

Kanpur, India Sep 20, 2016, 03.23 PM (IST)
India fast bowler Ishant Sharma will not play the first Test against New Zealand as he is down with chikungunya.

"Ishant Sharma is recovering from chikungunya and will not be available for the first Test match. We have not asked for any replacement and will choose our first XI from the available 14," India coach Anil Kumble said.

Sharma is a resident of Delhi, a city that has been reeling under the chikungunya outbreak. The chikungunya death toll has gone up to 15 in India's national capital. As of September 17, around 2,600 chikungunya cases have been reported in Delhi alone.

Sharma's unavailability for the first Test against New Zealand starting on September 22 is likely to hit India's preparations as he is the senior-most pace bowler for India. 

His withdrawal means India has just three fast bowlers to choose from for the first match — Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav, though there is a strong possibility of the Indian team management picking just two of the three speedsters.

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