Mumbai: Ishant Sharma has easily been India’s most improved bowler. Ishant – now 33 – is battling fitness and that puts his spot for the tour of South Africa in doubt. The lanky pacer from Delhi has featured in 105 Tests for India and in the back end of his career, he became more effective. But, with the emergence of other pacers – will Ishant make it to the SA tour?

The rise of Mohammed Siraj must have put the selectors in a spot of bother ahead of the SA tour. Ever since making his debut in Australia, Siraj has gone from strength to strength and is today one of India’s finest pacers.

Also, what makes Ishant’s chances of making the South Africa tour tricky is the return of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. Both Shami and Bumrah have done well as a pair and would certainly feature in the squad. There is also a Umesh Yadav, who has impressed lately.

If that was not enough, there are many waiting in the wings like Prasidh Krishna, Chetan Sakariya, and Avesh Khan. One cannot forget Shardul Thakur as well. Thakur – on certain conditions – can be lethal with the ball and what works in his favour is the fact that he can chip in with the bat as well.

All of this puts Ishant’s future in red-ball cricket in serious doubt.

The selectors are expected to pick a squad for the South Africa tour soon. The India tour of South Africa will feature 3 Tests and 3 ODIs, starting from December 26.