Toothless leader a huge problem for Indian attack

While his wicket-taking strike rate in ODIs is very high, Ishant has invariably struggled to keep the runs down in the death overs.

Ishant Sharma has an awful record in ODIs.


New Delhi: For a veteran of 51 Tests and 67 ODIs, it is amazing that Ishant Sharma struggles to learn from his experience and translate his talent into actual performance.

While his wicket-taking strike rate in ODIs is very high, Ishant has invariably struggled to keep the runs down in the death overs, and yet, India’s depleted bowling stocks afford him the luxury of keeping his place in not just the squad, but also in the playing XI. Wednesday’s mind-boggling victory in Jaipur put the batsmen in focus, but very few people forgot that Ishant and company had allowed Australia to get 359 in the first place.

After being battered for 304 runs in Pune, there was no change in fortunes as every bowler bar Bhuvneshwar Kumar went for over six runs an over in Jaipur.

In neither match did Ishant complete his full quota of overs — bowling nine overs for 70 on Wednesday and seven overs for 56 three days before.

While M.S. Dhoni wants Bhuvneshwar to improve his bowling at the death and thus add to his strength of being an excellent swing bowler with the new ball, it would be better if the captain, coach Duncan Fletcher and bowling coach Joe Dawes sat down the Delhi beanpole and explained his role to him.

It’s not that Ishant can’t perform the role — as sixteen wickets in his last 10 matches going back to the Champions Trophy in England attest.

But an overall economy rate of 5.66, even in today’s day and age, is not something that befits the leader of an international attack, especially one who has been in international cricket since 2008.

With young Jaydev Unadkat waiting in the wings, it’s high time Ishant got his act together.


Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

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