India in England 2014

'Ishant should step up and lead attack' - Zaheer

Nagraj Gollapudi

June 30, 2014

Comments: 89 | Text size: A | A

Zaheer Khan has a word with Ishant Sharma, Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne, 1st day, December 26, 2011
Zaheer Khan says it is time Ishant Sharma stepped up to become the leader of India's pace attack © Getty Images

Zaheer Khan wants Ishant Sharma to take over from him as the leader of India's fast-bowling group. Ishant, according to Zaheer, has enough experience to be able to guide his fast-bowling colleagues during India's five-Test series in England. Of the six frontline seam bowlers in India's squad, Ishant is the only one who has toured England before. Zaheer, who has been part of three England Test tours, missed out on selection with a side strain.

"It is Ishant who has played the most number of matches and he has been around for a while," Zaheer told ESPNcricinfo. "It is time he steps into that role. For Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] and [Mohammed] Shami, it is their first (England) tour so they will look to Ishant and [bowling coach] Joe Dawes for inputs to perform in those conditions."

Despite having played 55 Test matches, Ishant hasn't really shown signs that he could be looked at as the bowling captain. He has only played four Tests in England, during India's 2011 tour, during which he took 11 wickets. Incidentally, it was Praveen Kumar who led the attack - after an injured Zaheer limped out of the tour after just 13 overs in the first Test - and finished the series as India's best bowler, with 13 wickets in three Tests.

Ishant was India's best bowler in the two-Test series in New Zealand earlier this year, with 15 wickets at an average of 25.13, and bowled diligently during the South Africa tour before that. Zaheer, though, was present on both tours to mentor Ishant and Shami.

Zaheer was impressed with Shami, who he said possessed "very good pace" and complemented the rest of India's seam attack very well. "I was also impressed by someone like Mohammed Shami, who was able to perform the pace bowler's role very nicely," Zaheer said. "For a successful bowling unit you require a good fast bowler with very good pace and Shami has that. And that helped me cope with my workload. You do need a balanced bowling attack. You can't have bowlers with similar styles. It was a perfect combination we had, I felt. Ishant, being a very tall guy, adds that extra bounce on helpful pitches. If conditions are suitable for swing, I come in and also bring the experience."

Shami was once again the pick of the bowlers in the Indians' first warm-up match, a three-day game against Leicestershire that finished in a draw. Although Shami remained wicketless, he hurried the batsmen with his speed and movement and was able to make use of the overcast conditions much better than his senior partner Ishant. Ishant started with a no-ball - he finished with an embarrassing count of seven in just nine overs - and was constantly riled by Indian fans from the sidelines. Zaheer pointed out that a long series always provide the potential to settle in, and it would help India's fast bowlers to play as many matches as possible. "If you hit a good rhythm a series like this is the best thing that can happen to a bowler," he said. "Play as much as possible. It is important to get the confidence of bowling in those conditions and the two practice matches are crucial for the bowling unit to get used to the conditions and hit the ball in the right areas."

Zaheer said he would dearly miss being part of the Test series, having been part of three England tours in the past and played a key role in winning the 2007 series with 18 wickets. During the New Zealand tour, Zaheer said, the team management had told him to stay prepared for the England tour and manage his workload accordingly. He suffered a side strain during the IPL, however, and is still four weeks from being able to bowl again.

"That was the whole plan (playing in England)," Zaheer said. "I have been working towards this tour for the last year. I was focusing on Test matches. Even through the IPL my routines were working towards the England tour. Considering all that it was disappointing to miss out. I just hope that Indian team does well on English soil."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by BSWadekar on (July 6, 2014, 15:23 GMT)

First of all, what Ishant needs is a good county season, as Zaheer recommended previously. Prior to that, he must resolve his technical bowling problems. And the best solution is to practice in nets without the pressure of representing the nation. Hope it goes well and god knows may be Ishant is a good candidate to break Anil Bhai's record (just a wild guess).

Secondly, I hate the concept of Spearhead. Consider these units: Spin quartet of India, Pace quartet of West India, Australia (Glenn, Jason, Shane, Brett), Pakistan(Wasim, Waqar, Saqlain, Mushi), South Africa(Dale, Vernon, Morne, Jacques). Do these attacks have bowling captain? If India needs to have good bowling unit, what they need is self sufficient bowlers. One good way to get best is to deny 1000 bad.


Posted by DingDong420 on (July 4, 2014, 15:28 GMT)

Ishant shouldn't be anywhere near the India side, nor should Ashwin he got out bowled by Jadeja.

4 seamers with Binny (no Ishant) plus Jadeja

Posted by   on (July 3, 2014, 19:28 GMT)

I want dhoni to support his seamers by providing them there own field and also providing them with the new ball aftr 80 overs,as conditions are gud for seamers so new ball help seamers to pick up the wickets. Dhoni should play attacking role while batting and in captaining the side. I dnt want him to do the same mistake as he did vs SA, dat taking new ball after 146 overs. dnt think of saving runs,think of picking up wickets.

Posted by TimeKiller on (July 2, 2014, 18:30 GMT)

Does anyone remember all the furor when Stuart Binny was included in this England tour? People accused Roger Binny of nepotism, even though he excused himself when the name of Stuart Binny came up for discussion. Look at Stuart Binny's performance today and in the Bangladesh ODI. Winning triple crown (3 domestic tournaments) in the same year counts for something. There should have been more Karnataka player's in this tour. Karnataka Ranji team is better than this India test side at the moment.

Posted by niazbhi on (July 2, 2014, 15:49 GMT)

Its not that Ishant cannot do better. Shami, Umesh, B. Kumar, Pankaj Singh, Pandey all have better FC records and should be tried out. Ishant has been very inconsistent. If he needs to find his consistency, he should try it at the FC level. Even in ODI's IPL he has been very poor. He had a good NZ tour though. Also he releases the pressure by bowling bad balls so he does not help his bowling partner.

Posted by Darkmanx12155 on (July 2, 2014, 6:57 GMT)

@ ramz30380 & @jinxed1184: Look at ishants record in indian wins people.. then you can see how good he is. when the team fails, it is not fair to blame it on his bowling. he is an asset in tests. Im sure you two must have gone against jadeja too those days. now he has become the best spin bowling allrounder in the world in T20s and ODIs. Thanks to dhoni. dhoni knows ishant too is in that caliber as a fast bowler. england batting line up is weak. it was shown clearly during the SL series. ishant just needs to pick one wicket early to boost his confidence, that will bring him many more wickets and india will win the 5 tests easily. then lets see what you too has to say!!

Posted by   on (July 2, 2014, 5:06 GMT)

Zaheer absence will be felt by the Indians. Ishant does not deserve to be in the team. Shammi and Bhubi will play key roles. I am optimistic that Dhoni and co. will definitely perform well. Considering recent form of England and losing to SL in the last series will have demoralized effect on them and India must exploit this and come out winner. Best of luck! Wazir

Posted by   on (July 2, 2014, 3:28 GMT)

Jose: Well the good news then is that he has quite possibly played himself out of the playing eleven!

Posted by   on (July 2, 2014, 2:17 GMT)

Half-volleys, short and wide ones, grit for leg-byes, and of course liberal dozes of no-balls; that is our bowling spearhead. 7 no-balls in the first match and 9 no-balls in the second are said to be just official. Read this sentence from the 2nd Match's report:

"...Ishant officially overstepped nine times in 12 overs, but there were quite a few deliveries that might have been reviewed if they had taken a wicket in a Test...."


Posted by niazbhi on (July 1, 2014, 23:29 GMT)

Tests 55 wickets 164 average 37.56 SR 67.2 7. Shami, Pandey, Umesh, Kumar all have better FC records than Ishant. Almost all the indian quicks who played alongside with Ishant (and played more than 20 tests) did better than Ishant. Cannot argue with a long term result. Jadeja and Ishant are different cases. Jadeja is an allrounder and a left arm spinner (their job is limit the batsmen unless its turning). Jadeja has played 51 tests got 180 wickets at Average 26 and SR 66. Which is not bad for a left arm spinner whose job is to bowl a lot of overs to keep the pacers fresh. Jadeja being almost a test batsman, makes it even easier. India can play 4 other bowlers with him and keep everyone fresh.

Posted by lonewarriorram on (July 1, 2014, 16:34 GMT)

seems like Ishant felt 6 ball over is unfair on bowlers. This guy is bowling a no-ball every over. what a performance!!!

Posted by ramz30380 on (July 1, 2014, 16:28 GMT)

@jinxed1184 - fantastic stats mate!

@Darkmanx12155 - U must be an eternal optimist! Did u read the stats tht @jinxed1184 had pulled up?! How many series u want the Indian team to give him?! He has been occupying a place in the playing XI which another smart, talented and skilled bowler can do with! India is not starving of pacers

India needs some rookies here, throw them in, even if they dont do well, its alright but to keep repeating an offense of playing Ishant all the time, it just shows the lack of alternative thinking in the minds of the selection committe! Dont u think its unfair on some budding talents for a non-performing guy to keep playing in the XI?!

Posted by   on (July 1, 2014, 15:10 GMT)

Good luck to Ishant. In my opinion he should be back playing Ranji Trophy and nowhere near this team. But good luck to him anyway.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2014, 15:07 GMT)

India's potent attack for overseas can be: R Jadeja R Dhawan U Yadav P Singh/I Pandey/I Sharma S Ahamed

Posted by brokeneffingarm on (July 1, 2014, 15:00 GMT)

Hope Ishant takes all this negative critism as a motivating force & come back strongly.....after a couple of ranji seasons of course :)...

Posted by ladycricfan on (July 1, 2014, 14:04 GMT)

Ishant's stock ball is easy to hit. That is why he is expensive. But he has the knack of taking wickets with his variations, bouncer, slower ball, etc. In test matches, if you take wickets even if you are expensive it will serve the team. He has to cut down on his no-balls.

Posted by Coolcapricorn on (July 1, 2014, 13:48 GMT)

@jinxed1184 couldn't agree with you more - Ishant is a total liability which shows in his test bowling average of nearly 38 after so many years. Rather than step up, he should instead step down out of the team! When he should be getting better now in his mid 20's & peaking sometime in the next few years, he instead remains poor & just has one good series once in a blue moon like he did in NZ!

Posted by Darkmanx12155 on (July 1, 2014, 13:38 GMT)

I can remember how people use to criticize dhoni for picking Jadeja those days. Now see where jadeja is? Dont ever question dhoni. Don't ever question ishants ability likewise. The guy is just 25. if he continues to play till 35, he will break wasim akrams test record for sure. Am I the only fan backing ishants ability???

Posted by Venkat_Gowrishankar on (July 1, 2014, 13:12 GMT)

Personally , as fans of Indian cricket , we have nothing against Ishant Sharma. But , as fans what irritates us the most is the fact that he is not challenged by anybody else in the team for the position of spearhead and manages to find a spot repeatedly. . 58 Tests are sufficient for someone to realise his/her game and be a better smart bowler. If ishant still cannot do so , then the signs are obvious.

Posted by Nampally on (July 1, 2014, 13:03 GMT)

ZAK suggests that Ishant should lead the bowling attack & guide other pace bowlers. But he is forgetting that when Ishant cannot guide himself to bowl a decent line & length, how can he guide anyone? He is the most expensive pace bowler India ever had who continues to get his chances despite that. It is time to move on & develop alternate bowlers. Dhoni gives chances to just 3 "Specialist" bowlers in each Test match & expects "Miracles" bowling them up to 50 overs each/innings. Fundamental common sense tells any sensible captain that in a Test match stretching a Pace bowler beyond 30 overs/innings is asking for trouble. Bowler become more injury prone + Less likely to be a wkt, taker & thirdly his pace drops. ZAK, Shami & Ishant were stretched in this way in NZ & SA. So when Dravid says ZAK's pace dropped as he bowled longer, is it any surprise? Fast bowlers are used in short bursts of 6 overs- not to do the "Donkey work"! Dhoni's captaincy itself is a huge ?, when it comes to bowling!

Posted by Darkmanx12155 on (July 1, 2014, 12:51 GMT)

@ jinxed1184; Imagine ishant reading your comments! how would he feel? as fans we need to be behind him for him to gain confidence in his ability. 164 wickets is not an easy task for a fast bowler! Give him this series. Im sure he will bounce back and show you what he got! He is tall, fast and will swing the ball both ways.

@ Cricketfan11111 you nailed it mate! If they can do, so can ishant.

Show some respect to the guy!!

Posted by android_user on (July 1, 2014, 12:45 GMT)

After looking Ishants performance in practice match... his inclusion in team itself become a question mark.

Posted by ramli on (July 1, 2014, 12:27 GMT)

No Zaheer .. it's going to be Pankaj Singh this time ... something tells me that ... any takers?

Posted by ramli on (July 1, 2014, 12:27 GMT)

Ishant Sharma will come good if and only if other fast bowlers bowl well with him ... days when one bowler could run thro sides are becoming rarer ... India bowlers should know to compliment each other ... that somehow is lacking ... usually more than one fails to deliver and with 4 bowlers, how can India expect to take 20 wickets? Go with 5 bowlers including a so-called all-rounder and pray God for blessings!!!

Posted by   on (July 1, 2014, 12:23 GMT)

india should attack with 4 specalist seam bowler...............

Posted by   on (July 1, 2014, 11:53 GMT)

again the indian shall be beaten left right and centre by the poms. may score some hundreds but taking 20 wkts to win a match is above the indians head.

Posted by abhimanyu44 on (July 1, 2014, 10:02 GMT)

indian bowlers just bowl straight and follow the breeze and the bowl will swing itself.....and for the batsmen to be able to occupy he crease play the bowl as late as u can and the victory will be in your hands.......all the best wishes

Posted by ladycricfan on (July 1, 2014, 9:38 GMT)

If Prasads and Pradeeps can do for Srilanka, Ishants and Bhuvis can do for india. Go India. Unsettle the English youngsters and help win the series. There is no better time to beat England than this series.

Posted by Karsugu on (July 1, 2014, 9:25 GMT)

If its overseas conditions, Ishant will give his best always as Zaheer Khan

Posted by jinxed1184 on (July 1, 2014, 8:29 GMT)

@Darkmanx12155, Ignorance is bliss, isn't it. You claim Ishant Sharma has done good outside India. Funny isn't it.

Ishant Overall Career record --------------------------------------- Matches 55 , Wkts 164 , Avg 37.56 , SR 67.2

Ishant in Australia --------------------------------------- Matches 7 , Wkts 11 (Yes, only 11) , Avg 73.54 , SR 123.5

Ishant in England --------------------------------------- Matches 4 , Wkts 11 , Avg 58.18 , SR 94.6

Ishant in SA --------------------------------------- Matches 5 , Wkts 12 , Avg 54.16 , SR 91.3

Ishant in India --------------------------------------- Matches 22 , Wkts 62 , Avg 33.46 , SR 66.4

So where exactly he has done well? :D Ishant is absolutely rubbish and he simply can not grow because he thinks he is Shaun pollock, Ambrose, Mcgrath all put together. He is a toddler who is not even worthy of being in a Ranji team let alone national team. His best days were when he made his debut and since then it has been a downhill slide.

Posted by anver777 on (July 1, 2014, 8:24 GMT)

Can't really understand the situation here for one time permanent bowling captain Zaheer Khan. Is he really injured or dropped due to poor form is the biggest confusion for me..... his wicket taking ability had been dropped badly in recent times & I think he's no more a threat to batsmen at his current form, may be Indian selectors also thinking the same !!!!

Posted by Darkmanx12155 on (July 1, 2014, 7:58 GMT)

All you haters out there will worship Ishanth after the 5 tests. Ishanth is the best bet we have right now people. He is bad in sub continent, no doubt. but in helping conditions like Australia, NZ, SA, england, he is lethal with his swing and bounce at high speeds. Buvi is good in india only. Pankaj Singh will do well if he gets picked. Shami is good too.

Go Ishanth, show these haters what u got. Funny how people can forget your match winning performances so soon. I sure hope you bring us glory and show what u can do in helping conditions. All these pundits seems to forget that its ONLY you who picked up 2 wickets in the previous practice game.

Posted by niazbhi on (July 1, 2014, 6:59 GMT)

If you go by simple FC average and SR, Pandey, Umesh and B. Kumar are the best quicks india have. It is possible that someone with a good FC stats may not do well in tests, someone with a no-so-great FC stat would not do well in test cricket. Ishants' FC stats are poor for a test bowler like 32+ average and 67 SR. Test quicks should have below 30 FC average and below 60 FC SR.Thats exactly what those three bowlers have(Pandey, Umesh and B. Kumar). No wonder most fans want to see them ahead V. Aaron or Ishant. Experts/selectors put too much importantance on judgement (like Ishant is talented... he can be indian Mcgrath).. where stat should be the major selection criterion and judgement should be used only in very rare cases and a bowler like Ishant should be able to prove his effectiveness by showing better results in Ranji.. which he has not.. (his FC stats are worse than many).

Posted by SwamyCricketAnanda on (July 1, 2014, 6:44 GMT)

Mere age and seniority is not enough to be a leader. Ishant must first learn to handle himself and be consistent, before leading a pack of bowlers.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2014, 5:57 GMT)

@PraTeek SrIvastava: And who is supposed to scalp those 20 wickets?

Posted by   on (July 1, 2014, 5:19 GMT)

In 2011, India beaten by England 4-0 But This time With quality and young players as V.Kohli,C.Pujara,B.Kumar,I.Pandey,S.Binny,R.Jadeja

India will beat England with a margin of 4-0 on there Home Ground.... India..India..... India..India....

Posted by Kruns on (July 1, 2014, 5:08 GMT)

I think Zaheer is Right Ishant is the most experience bowler in the team and he should take that responsibilty on his shoulder... No Doubt that he is a good bowler but i think he is trying to much..

He needs to be relaxed and stick to basics and have some patience he will definately succed... NO BELOW AVERAGE bowler can make Australia Master Class (Punt) struglle like he did in Ishant australia tour... SO there is no question about his talent but only thing he needs to do is to keep a calm had , work hard , Keep Patience and result will follow...


Posted by Sexysteven on (July 1, 2014, 3:55 GMT)

Zaheer shouldn't play again for India he's lost to much and it's ado or die tour for I shant to improve his stats but personally I would play shami Aaron and pandey three decent young fast bowlers I personally would have umesh yadav in the squad at least that's adecent attack in my view along with either ashwin or jadeja as the spinner with rohit to bowl afew overs if needed then u could either go rahane at six or go dhoni at six and binny at seven as the extra bowling option to go wth vijay dhawan at the top followed by pujara Kholi and rohit adecent tem on paper but can they adapt to foreign conditions on hopefully good seaming pitches unlike those low and slow dust bowls back in India all though mohali Jaipur and bengaluru r my fav pitches in India cos there's at least sum pace in those wickets which makes for more exciting cricket lets hope cook n dhoni come to the party and not be so negative if that happens then it should be agood series

Posted by gdalvi on (July 1, 2014, 3:42 GMT)

This is what happens when you try to bet on players like Ishant that started playing serious cricket at age of 16 - as opposed to age of 6. While they may have success at FC, they never develop the intuition, nuances, mental discipline and toughness to graduate into sustained top-level bowler. We are seeing the same with Umesh Yadhav - once things start going wrong, they lose confidence very quickly. In any case - as long as Dhoni is leader (who averages 24 oversees) and insists on playing 4 bowlers including Ishant and one Jadeja, I don't see how India can avoid defeat. If we need to carry dead-weight of Dhoni as captain, why can't we just make Zaheer the caption and carry him instead? Please publish.

Posted by cricket_ahan on (July 1, 2014, 3:28 GMT)

@ThePacifist10: I think Bhuvi will find his range. He is a smart cricketer and will be bowling in favourable conditions. Remember that the majority of this team has no experience in English conditions, and more to that hasn't played any white-cloth cricket for some months now. Re: Ishant however, I tihnk you are spot on. The man has no ability to step up to the next level, and even if he does take 5 wicket hauls, you can almost bet your house that he will leak close to a 100+ runs in the process. Gone is his pace, gone is his swing, and lacklustre is his control - in 55 tests his test bowling avg is just under 38!! And Zak wants him to lead and take charge of the whole attack - he doesn't even have his own performance under control. India's bowling stocks are low I admit, but persisting with Ishant will be a continued exercise in futility - when will they realise this!?

Posted by Lion_Wallaby on (July 1, 2014, 3:09 GMT)

Ishant is a good bowler. But India should have a proper bowling coach to guide him. Should not let this man fade away. He is trying too much as a wicket taking bowler and does not concentrate on his basics.

Posted by entryholedia on (July 1, 2014, 3:05 GMT)

Everyone knows Zaheer's exploits of the horrendous summer of '2011 . Also the ridiculous decision of Ishant suddenly being taken off as he required rest & this after he in one of his one in a hundred spells produced some unplayable deliveries which left England tottering with four down for next to nothing ! what happened afterwards is history " India losing miserably ". WE just cannot again go through the same sarcasm of the English commentators of our famed batting's fallibility against short pitched stuff test after test

Posted by cric1965 on (July 1, 2014, 2:41 GMT)

Why cannot India who has 1.25 billion population, produce 3 quality fast bowlers ?

Posted by   on (July 1, 2014, 2:38 GMT)

when are dhoni and selectors going to look beyond this useless bowler of all time? having got the worst average for a bowler who has played more than 50 games, why the hell is the team inclined to include him?

Posted by SpartaArmy on (July 1, 2014, 2:09 GMT)

'Ishant to lead Indian fast bowling attack'- This coming from a person who lead India seam attack for 3-4 years. This guy is not a mug, but that just shows you, the talent that fast bowlers of this country possess. They have no options left, this guys wouldn't even make it to top 50 fast bowlers, across world, right now.

Posted by truebleue_cricfan on (July 1, 2014, 1:34 GMT)

Anybody...anybody but Ishant please! Playing with just 10 members is an option, but Ishant is not.

Posted by ProdigyA on (July 1, 2014, 1:20 GMT)

Oh for gods sake stop this ns. Two people that need to be fired immedietely fron Test team are Dhoni and Ishant. Trust me, the result wouldnt be worse than 4-0 time and time again but at least new faces will get a chance.

BCCI keeps repeating the same mistake by selecting the failed captain again and again and Dhoni keeps selecting the same failures in the playing XI again and again. Expecting a different result would be beyond stupidity.

Posted by jimbond on (July 1, 2014, 0:49 GMT)

No harm in trying Pandey instead of Ishant. I guess Pandey will thrive in conditions conducive to swing. The problem with having Sharma as a leader of the attack is - that if the leader himself is ineffective, the entire attack loses its teeth. It may be better to have a 'leaderless attack' where each bowler pulls his own weight. I suspect the tour games are not indicative of the pitches where the tests will be played. The test pitches will have far more bite and swing, and it would make sense for the Indians to play Shami, Kumar and Pandey/Singh along with Binny and one spinner. Having had no practice, these Indian bowlers can be expected to struggle for at least one session to get their lengths right, but still they will be better than a control-less Swing-less Ishant Sharma.

Posted by mcsdl on (July 1, 2014, 0:25 GMT)

No hope for India. I see a 5-0 whitewash..! Indian bowling lineup is the worst in world cricket. Even Bangla boys can ball better.....! over 1.5 billion people to chose from, wonder why Indians have no talent in bowling....!

Posted by sammysam on (July 1, 2014, 0:00 GMT)

india never seems to learn... same old boring bowling attack who will make the english batsmen look like they are the best batsmen in the world. India be prepared for a whitewash in eng and aus unless they play a leg spinner and drop ishant. Are the indian selectors just that stupid?

Posted by black_bird on (June 30, 2014, 21:52 GMT)

Ishant is the best bowler the world has ever produced. too much expectation is the reason, why he is not performing 100%

Posted by CricketChat on (June 30, 2014, 21:48 GMT)

Forget about leading Indian pace attack, Ishant is plain lucky to be in the squad in the first place! I predict Ind would be quite reluctant to tour Eng after this series. Untested batsmen and inexperienced bowling attack. The best thing that could happen to beleagured Eng captain Cook. He would be back in the limelight alright after this series! MSD might not captain Ind again for tests.

Posted by Nampally on (June 30, 2014, 21:20 GMT)

@Brahams: I agree with you regarding the slip fielders. To start with slip catching is crucial in England where pace bowlers depend on them. Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman were all good close catchers - Dravid holding the record with >210 slip catches in Tests. I have commented on this before about questionable slip catching. Kohli dropped a sitter in the first match vs. Leicester giving away a Ton to the batsman. Indian bowlers could perform so much better with improved close catching. Dhoni for strange reason stays deep as WK + the slips are positioned way too deep. Whilst DeKock(SA) took all the first slip catches as well as leg slip ones, Dhoni does not even attempt them. So if Dhoni stays deep, first slip & leg slip should stay ahead of him or vice-a-versa. Positioning of the slips in the cordon + catching ability is vital. As for the 3 pacers, Kumar & Shami are IN but the third one may be Aaron or Pankaj. ZAK clearly over estimates Ishant's abilities with inconsistent length & line.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 21:18 GMT)

As things stand - the proof of pudding is in eating it. While Ishant may not have put up his superlative performances in the past. The worst nightmare being hit for 36 runs in an over in some one day match overseas last year.

Also these things must have sunk deeply in his head too with all kinds of issues being made over this including media hype. But keep in mind also that Ishant himself would be aware of this and would not simply keep quiet knowing that his career could be at stake if these poor performances were replicated.

Also if some voice is raised by a bowler of Zaheer's caliber there must be definitely some word of confidence reposed in ishant's bowling ability

Posted by wapuser on (June 30, 2014, 20:55 GMT)

Ishanth as indias bowling leader? Really zak I mean really? I bet even balaji pathan rp singh and nehra are better then him.... all ishanth does is bowl short with decent pace....bring in umesh varun and shami in tests.. then maybe we have a chance to compete with the english.... I reckon 4-0 to english win.. I hope im proven wrong by indian team.

Posted by android_user on (June 30, 2014, 20:50 GMT)

dnt knw if ishant will be able to do.something..we hv prob in bowlers start with a bang like ishant irfan rp singh bhuvi munaf patel..yorkers..then they becm pray of foreign bowling coaches .who wants to bowl them in their style in fell misrably..why cnt we hv indian coach fr bowling likes of srinath prabhakar kapil dev..they understand indian bowlers better than any foreign parsad was bowling coach in 2007 fr short time n indian pace batttery was firing why he was removed than.. dont we hv better coach than fletcher in india...lalchand rajpur proved good coach in 2007..n like why cnt we hv fielding coach like robin singh.. we hv so grt cricketers in our country but dnt knw why we always want foreign coaches.. dada cn becm grt coach..

Posted by bronko on (June 30, 2014, 20:15 GMT)

Wasim Akarm said if a bower takes 6wkts then the second innings goes for 150 runs and no wkts it shows its a mental weaknes and this sums up Ishant sharma all over he needs to work with someone one who can make him mentally strong then he can be a good bowler but nobody in the BCCI will help the boy or the other fast bowlers Yadav got his coaching from IPL under Akram and hes already improved ,Yadav has been treated terribly by India

Posted by TimeKiller on (June 30, 2014, 20:00 GMT)

Team India is going to miss the services of the two best swing bowlers in the country: The Kumars - Praveen and Vinay. Yadav should be there as well, instead of Aaron, Ishant, Pankaj and Binny.

Posted by Kavum on (June 30, 2014, 19:15 GMT)

Have faith in Ishant, At least his hairstyle is no worse that SL's Nuwan Pradeep's. He has pace but very little else in terms of skill. I am betting on Bhuvi to be the no. 1 bowler and Ishant and Shami to follow his lead. The English, having no spin option, will prepare wickets to suit their pace and swing/seam dominated attack. India must counter this and win through by using helpful conditions. Good luck the Bharat boys!

Posted by CherryWood_Champion on (June 30, 2014, 18:35 GMT)

Dhoni should drop himself from the Test side ... He has been a sitting duck in English conditions. Rayudu should be drafted and have him keep wickets. We should be going with a five man pace attack if the conditions demand. My team would be. 1) Shikar Dhawan 2) Ajinkya Rahane 3) Pujara 4) Kohli 5) Rohit Sharma 6) Ambati Rayudu (WK) 7) Bhuvi 8) Pankaj Singh 9) Shami 10) Ishwar Pandey 11) Varun Aaron

12`th man: Ravindra Jadeja

Posted by Alexk400 on (June 30, 2014, 18:33 GMT)

if engalnd can offset Bhuvi new ball attack and sami old ball, they can be in driver seat. Key is not give wickets to bhuvi on new ball.

Posted by JerryV on (June 30, 2014, 18:08 GMT)

As an English supporter, I am thrilled to bits. The truth about Sharma has been evident all these years in his first name: "I shan't". If Cook cannot play himself back into form with this bowling captain, he deserves to be dropped.

Posted by snbirdi on (June 30, 2014, 17:54 GMT)

WHYYYY?? GOOD GOD WHYYY? Ishant is like Ravi Bopara of Indian cricket. The kid tries hard to improve is game but has zero talent to get anywhere. He has a horrible mentality and after all these years hasn't learnt the lessons about line and length that street cricket kids learn after one over. Why must we keep gifting the opposition easy runs with this sad excuse for an "experienced" bowler.

Posted by HarrowXI on (June 30, 2014, 17:44 GMT)

Please get rid of both Sharma. They both are useless. I am following indian cricket for long time. I never seen any talent in this two. MSD is keep backing Rohit and Ishant for no reason. You cant give someone this much opportunity.

Test Team should be : 1) Baba Abarjeet 2) Rohit sharma (last chance for tik tuk sharma) 3) Pujara 4)Kohli (C) 5)Rahane 6) I Pathan 7 ) MSD 8) Jadeja 9) Bhuvi 10) Umesh Yadav 11) Mohd Shami.

This is it. 5 Bowlers out of 2 all rounders (Jadeja and Pathan) able to take 20 wickets abroad.

Talented young indian Batsman. Each of them can serve india for 5 to 7 years. 8 Batsman. Long tail. able to attack as well as defend.

Excellent fielders like Kohli, Rahane, Jadeja and Rohit.

If inida play at home i would swap I Pathan with Ravi Ashwin and Bhuvi with Amit sharma.

Posted by HealthyCric on (June 30, 2014, 17:44 GMT)

Its strange world! If Ishant does well in this series, people start parsing like they did in his initial career especially Indian fans. Need to understand even KAPIL/ZAHEER played wicket less for many series.

Posted by rnarayan on (June 30, 2014, 17:08 GMT)

We all know Ishnth should lead the pack. That calls for management skills, and the ability to control what you do to support the people you lead.. Can he attack when the juniors cant, and fall back and support them when they are doing well? He has the skills, but does the have the control, and the cricketing brain to to lead a boeling attack? Skill, yes, the rest, no, in my opinon. Either way, it is rarely that life gives anyone a chance to makea little bit of history in his chosen field. Ishant has been given it..again. I wish him well, but no more chances..I hope he proves me wrong..

Posted by Nandu_Athadu on (June 30, 2014, 17:06 GMT)

Ishant can never learn even if you give him another 50+ tests. Luckiest bowler I have seen. Performs once in 10 tests and continues for the next 10 tests.

Posted by android_user on (June 30, 2014, 16:28 GMT)

some conclusions are just too obvious - cook and co. WILL get back into form during the tour ; especially cook and bell are going to make merry on ishant s bowling....

Posted by CricLover316 on (June 30, 2014, 16:15 GMT)

Ishant sharma is the most sad selection in the history of Indian Cricket. After playing 55 Tests,he has learned,Nothing. India have been carrying Ishant for 7 years.He has been bowling short of a length for 7 years.Thats correct. Cant seam the ball,can haardly swing it, at a pace below Bhuvi. Has had coaches,support staffs and peers like Steyn(in SRH), Wasim(in KKR),Zak, Lee and what not. I've seen Ganguly,Sachin bowl way better seamers and at a better line than Ishant. Ishant- Worst ave in history for a pure bowler. Its a big joke and I really feel ashamed of my Captain & Selection Team that never ever drops him despite his toothless and predictable bowling,despite him refusing to learn. He played 50+ Tests, the more sad part is other deserving bowlers like Yadav,Bhuvi, Mohit or in this case an experience bowler who has done well in Eng PKumar will missed out. Once in a blue moon 4-5for doesnt justify his inclusion. Others have improved,he hasn't. Yet still gets picked. Why MS?

Posted by Nampally on (June 30, 2014, 16:14 GMT)

Zaheer was the ideal opening bowler for the England test matches because he swings the ball & bowls at the right spots. In England the ball swings & seams - ZAK's strong points - right up to 50 overs. Kumar is currently a good exponent but he has changed his focus to over pitching. He should maintain the same length as he did in India. Bowling full tosses at the pretext of bowling Yorkers is a vain thought- bound to fail! Shami is the other guy with potential but he should not bowl short or on the leg stump line. Off stump attack is crucial to get catches in the slips. Kumar, Shami, Aaron & Pankaj are the bowlers who have to step up. Second point is: Has India trained good slip fielders to take catches? Kohli dropped a sitter in the opening game. Indian bowling & Fielding coaches need to focus on this. ZAK, Shami & Ishant were over bowled by Dhoni in NZ- only 3 "specialist bowlers in the side. Its Lunacy to expect them to bowl 50 overs each, "control runs, take wkts. & maintain pace"!

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (June 30, 2014, 16:01 GMT)

Zaheer can bowl better than ishant sharma

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 15:54 GMT)

If India is going to rely on Ishant in the ensuing series, Messrs Cook and his set of batsmen are in for a lot of runs. Make the most of this summer offering before the Aussies come back with their battery of pacemen. Then you will have no place to hide.

Posted by ThePacifist10 on (June 30, 2014, 15:54 GMT)

We have a big problem here: with Bhuvi not performing in red-ball cricket and Ishant being, well, Ishant, it all comes down to Shami to provide the new and old-ball swing, Aaron to provide some serious speed and Pankaj to provide bounce. How I wish we could trade Binny in for Yadav right now and put Yadav instead of Jadeja in the starting XI!

Posted by Brahams on (June 30, 2014, 15:41 GMT)

Pretty much sums up the bare cupboard India has! England will win 3-0 and I hope the Indians bowlers prove me wrong...

Ishant could morph into a McGrath type bowler - the key is to consistently pitch the ball where the batsman doesn't know whether to move forward or backwards. He would need to work this length for each batsmen.

At this point, he is trying too many things in an over now. An outswinger would be a great addition but that is too much to ask of him now. May be Ishant would get his mojo in this England trip.

And please - the Indian slip fielders should sharpen their techniques and stand at least a foot ahead to convert those half chances. So many times we have seen edges falling short and have to suffer the pathetic excuses provided by the grossly inept cordon. The worst is Ashwin who has no coordination for slip catching (or anywhere else).

Posted by PRANABBISAI on (June 30, 2014, 15:38 GMT)

All other bowler is better than need to guidance from Ishant........Ishant should guide himself only.

Posted by crzcric on (June 30, 2014, 15:33 GMT)

Why do they always try with ishant?? They must give chance to nehra. He is the best bowler in india

Posted by ramz30380 on (June 30, 2014, 15:30 GMT)

@ Esarul Haque - Ishant bowls well only whn there is someobe supervising him all the time! When Zak is there he is a diff bowler and when he is not he is not even in the neighborhood! Moreover he has been consistently inconsistent!

One innings he takes 6 wkts, 2nd innings he goes for 150 runs w/o a wicket (it happened in NZ). The only hope is to get Zak as the bowling consultant, make him stand next to the boundary and tell Ishant wht to do every over! For a player who has played 55 tests tht shud not be reqd if ur good enough! It says it all!

Ishant shud be sent back to Ranji Trophy and tell him tht they will choose him if he performs well! ... and the selectors must stick to their word. Performance means - he shud be amongst the top 5 wkt takers tht season! only then he shud be considered & not on the basis of 1/2 matches like they did last time!

Posted by Geeebs on (June 30, 2014, 15:23 GMT)

I agree with Zak. Ishant must be bowling captain, Ashwin fielding captain and Sir ji batting captain.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 15:06 GMT)

As Zaheer is saying this, we must take it seriously...Zak played the role(bowling captain) for long time successfully. n now he thinks this should be played by Ishant then there must be something in it..those who are ridiculing the fact, should remember that Ishant bowled very well in the last two overseas tour and he is the senior most bowler in the squad.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 14:57 GMT)

sometimes its good to admit that Ishant is not good to play even club cricket let alone play international cricket and be a bowling mentor. Praveen Kumar should have been playing along side Shami, Bhuvi, Aaron, Pankaj singh, and Ishwar Pandey.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 14:56 GMT)

I say, Ishanth should step down.. I think he his past his prime and dont see him improving much.. Better to persist with guys like Varun Aron or Umesh Yadav..

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (June 30, 2014, 14:54 GMT)

I think this opinion from Zaheer is part of the bigger problem. India keep on persisting with their 'failed' bowlers for some odd reason. Oh wait a minute, they simply are afraid to give the new guys a try. Being scared of failure even before participation is a moot attitude. Zaheer was a prime example himself, prone to failures after failure over the years and yet holding his place intact in the team. That's why India have never been a top test match team. They simply never had wicket taking bowlers barring spinners in home conditions. Personally, I feel Ishant is DONE as an Indian player and so is Zaheer. It is time for Umesh Yadav, Ishwar Pandey, Varun Aaron and the rest to step up. It is time for a clean slate and a fresh start. India still have the chance to make it okay. But it seems they want to learn the hard way. As long as Dhoni is the captain, things will remain stagnant. We need an overhaul of the entire team beginning with the leader.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (June 30, 2014, 14:33 GMT)

So after > 50 tests an average per wicket of > 37 gets you a place as a front line pace bowler in a test team.

With selection policies like this India stands no chance of making it anywhere near the top of the test tree

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 14:25 GMT)

Agreed. Ishant should lead the bowlers from the bench, the place he rightly deserves.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2014, 14:15 GMT)

Ishant is the best bowler for india in new zealand tests ,two 6 wicket halls,but when he becomes the leader of the attack in the previous tour of eng(wer zak injured) ishanth bowled badly,when conditions are too good oly he bowls well,otherwise he is very ordinary and lacks patience,he bowls too short. Bowling too short at 135kmph is not going to trouble the batsman. He need to pitch it up,everyone says the same ,but he doesnt learn it. Ishwar pandey is a good bowler when it comes to test cricket.

Posted by ak928 on (June 30, 2014, 13:55 GMT)

joke of the day by zaheer.......ishant sharma dosent even have the potensial to play test cricket........forget about leading the attach........he averages 37 with the ball in test and first class average is also poor.......i would say PANKAJ SINGH should be their leadr biwling attack with mohhamad shami and iswar pandey....pankaj is much better than ishant

Posted by wolf777 on (June 30, 2014, 13:54 GMT)

Do us, India fans, really want other fast bowlers to learn anything from Ishant Sharma? I don't think so. Ishant Sharma has not been any sort of threat to any batsmen anywhere in the world after 'Perth Test'. The debate is not Ishant Sharma leading the attack it is first about his selection in the touring party and then him being a part of the playing eleven.

Posted by Karunk on (June 30, 2014, 13:38 GMT)

Ishant as bowling captain is a joke. Can't imagine him mentoring others. Even after 55 tests, he needs someone to mentor him. Being experienced, takes so much time to get into rythm, line & length. He is always confused whether to bowl full length or back of length.

Posted by android_user on (June 30, 2014, 13:21 GMT)

i don't agree with zaheer! sometimes you just have to give it a thought...glory of playing international cricket is tempting..mind says ready!!but your body can't take it anymore. that's the time u take some decision that is in best interest of everyone.

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