Is call drop to blame for Ishant Sharma not being included in Delhi Ranji team?

New Delhi: Not responding to phone calls and text messages of chief selector Vinay Lamba has cost Ishant Sharma a place in the 15-man Delhi squad for its Ranji Trophy opener against Rajasthan starting October 1.

Ishant is the most notable exclusion from the squad as he would have been free for Ranji Trophy duty with his name not being there in the Indian team that takes on visiting South Africa in the three T20 Internationals and five ODIs starting October 2.

Ishant Sharma with Sreenath AravindPacers Ishant Sharma (foreground) and S Aravind at the preparatory camp for the upcoming series against South Africa at NCA in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Pic/PTI

"We tried contacting Ishant but neither did he pick up calls nor replied to our text messages. Also we don't know whether he can play a first-class match during the period of his ban. If he is eligible to play we will add him in the squad," Delhi's chairman of selectors Vinay Lamba said on Wednesday.

"He is our senior bowler, how can we say that about him? But we tried to get in touch with him yesterday, but he didn't respond. I left a text, but didn't get a reply," Lamba said.

The other glaring omission from the squad is of veteran all-rounder Rajat Bhatia and left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, who was overlooked on a day when he was picked in the India A side which takes on South Africa at Palam on September 29.

Bhatia has been an asset for Delhi over the last few years and averaged 34 with the bat for a total of 305 runs and 23 with the ball for a tally of 12 wickets in the Ranji Trophy last season.

Delhi will be shorter on experience anyway with Virender Sehwag and Mithun Manhas shifting base to Haryana and J&K respectively.

"It is obviously a good feeling to be picked in the India A side. At the same time, a little disappointing I am not in the Delhi Ranji team. Having said that, the team announced is only for the Rajasthan game. Hopefully I will find a place in the team during the season," said Negi, whose name is in the reserves.

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