Need more time to be match fit: Ishant Sharma
New Delhi: Recuperating after undergoing an ankle injury, pacer Ishant Sharma has ruled himself out of India`s ODI tour of Sri Lanka next month.
The 23-year-old speedster said that although he has resumed bowling and light training, it would be extremely difficult for him to attain match fitness before the scheduled Sri Lanka tour, which starts on July 22.
"I`m feeling strong and good again and even started to bowl four-over spells. However, it will be difficult to get fully fit in time for next month`s tour to Sri Lanka," said Ishant.
"Intensity of bowling and fitness has to increase gradually and I would also need some match practice to check myself. I think I will take two or three months more to regain match fitness," he added after returning from his stint at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
Ishant had been suffering from pain in his right ankle, a result of extra growth in the bone and got the surgery done in London in the last week of March and had to miss this year`s Indian Premier League.
"I had to look at the long term rather than short and I knew surgery was the best option if I had to play for a long time. The key was to be fit in time for the new season and my rehab is progressing well. I am going back to NCA next week," Ishant told `Aaj Tak`.
The lanky pacer, who was the toast of the nation exactly a year ago with a record haul of 23 wickets from three Tests in West Indies, was completely out of form during the England and Australia tours last year when Indian lost eight consecutive Tests.
Ishant has his sight firmly set on the Test series against the same nations when they tour India later this year and early 2013.
"I think I bowled well in the Tests against England and was unlucky to get injured thereafter thus missing a chance to cement my place in the ODI team. My form against the West Indies at home was also good but somehow could not carry it to Australia.
"I know there will be a lot of talk about revenge when England and Australia come here but our focus will just be to win the series and regain the No 1 ranking in Tests. I don`t think we need to prove anything to anyone," said Ishant.
Having taken 133 wickets from 45 Tests so far, the lad from Delhi does not want to rush things in his bid to make a comeback in the Indian team.
"It was only after 30 Tests that I came to know about my exact fitness levels and my bowling and its strength and weaknesses. Fast bowling is 70 per cent fitness and the rest is skill.
"Earlier when I used to bowl after a long gap, the legs always felt a bit of pain. But this is not happening post surgery. I want to prove myself in domestic cricket before returning to the Indian team. More bowling, more fitness is my mantra right now," insisted Ishant.
Stating that he was not bogged down with the possibility of leading the Indian pace attack in Zaheer Khan`s absence in future, Ishant said, "I love bowling with Zaheer. We haven`t played together after England. But I always relish the opportunity."