When the tough gets going, the going gets tough ‘“ surely this might be the motto Ishant Sharma is following these days after his spectacular spell of 6-51 (a career best) dismantled the New Zealand top-order batsmen.
When the tough gets going, the going gets tough – surely this might be the motto Ishant Sharma is following these days after his spectacular spell of 6-51 (a career best) dismantled the New Zealand top-order batsmen. The Delhi pacer, who has been wayward at times with lengths, put his best performance till date, to outfox the Kiwis. Ishant has been dropped from the Asia Cup and the World T20 squads but that did not dismantle the thought process one bit. After his career best figures, Ishant spoke to the press, “I am the same bowler who bowled against (Ricky) Ponting in 2007-08 and the same bowler who was man-of-the-series in 2011. I am the same bowler. This pitch is the same as last match. I don`t analyze my bowling a lot, because at this stage, ahead of the game it is only about mental thinking.”
Ishant has picked up 15 wickets in the series so far and by far is Team India’s best bowler. In contrast, Ishant has plummeted in the ODIs and no wonder he was chucked out of the squads that were announced by the selectors. But in Wellington, Ishant showed why he is still a lethal bowler on pitches that are suited for seam bowling and proved it with the ball. It should also be noted that Ishant bowls well when in the company of Zaheer Khan. In the South Africa series too, Ishant bowled pretty well. Even though he went wicketless in Durban, his 4/79 in the first innings in Johannesburg was a standout performance by an Indian bowler. It seems, the experience of the left-armer is rubbing onto Ishant very well. Many ex-Indian cricketers cited the importance of Zaheer Khan’s availability in the Test team and its working wonders. The likes of Mohammad Shami, is also bowling with a great deal of line and lengths.
“I will do whatever the team needs me to do. This is a team sport. If they see me fit as a one-change bowler or any other role, wherever they can see that I fit in their plans, I will do that,” added Ishant in his post-match presser. The lanky bowler seems to have passed well this litmus test but will this ‘version’ of Ishant awaken when India tours England and Australia, later this year?
Turn back to 2011, India were left licking their wounds when the English and Australia spanked them (8-0 total aggregate) in the Test series. This year, a fresh England team will take to the field under Alastair Cook’s captaincy and after their Ashes defeat, have a point to prove.
Ishant has time and again proved his credentials of a Test bowler and by no means might the overseas tours to England and Australia prove his real worth to this Indian side.