India received their first major setback before the start of their long home season, with pace spearhead Ishant Sharma reportedly being ruled out of the first Test against New Zealand after suffering from the mosquito-borne disease chikungunya. The first Test between India and New Zealand begins on Thursday in Kanpur.
Indian head coach Anil Kumble has also declined the chance to call in a replacement for Sharma in the squad, which is now down to 14 players. Captain Virat Kohli and Kumble still have other pace options at their disposal in Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav.
"Ishant Sharma is recovering from chikungunya and will not be available for the first Test match," Kumble told reporters after India's training session on Tuesday. "We have not asked for any replacement and will choose our first XI from the available 14," he added, as reported by media.
Visitors New Zealand have been saddled with bigger problems before the start of the Test series: pacer Tim Southee has been ruled out of all the three matches, and all-rounder Jimmy Neesham won't be a part of the first Test.