India v Australia, 4th Test, Delhi March 21, 2013

Job of seamers in India to contain runs - Ishant

67

The fringe men in India's romper-stomper of a performance in the series against Australia are medium-pacers Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar who, between them, have picked up only 10 of the 59 Australian wickets to fall, at an average of 40.4 and a headache-generating strike rate of 80.4. These are numbers that would give palpitations to captains and coaches in many countries, but in India the seamers understand why they have, quite literally, been shown their place.

The day before the fourth and final Test in Delhi, Ishant turned up to speak to reporters and explained his role, if it required him chugging along in the sidelines and playing support to the new man Bhuvneshwar. "Your role in India is to contain the flow of runs so that the spinners can attack from the other end. You've got to hunt in a pack and bowl in partnerships like how you bat in partnerships. When you bowl in partnerships, you may not get wickets but the bowler at the other end gets wickets."

Ishant said he had switched new-ball duties with Bhuvneshwar, who made his Test debut in Chennai and has taken six wickets at 31.16 in the series so far. "I feel Bhuvi's bowling is different to mine. Bhuvi is more effective with the new ball because he can swing it both ways. I don't get much swing in Indian conditions and I have to wait for the ball to get a bit old so that it reverse-swings… only after that I can attack, but till then my role is to contain. Everyone knows their role and this is the best part of our team."

Pitches in the series so far have been bare and dry, Chennai and Hyderabad putting batsmen's abilities to play the turning ball under strict examination. The Mohali track was undeniably the best for batting and offered more help to the seamers. Ishant said, "As you saw in the last three Test matches there was a lot of help for the spinners, so I have got very less bowling. It was only in the last match in Mohali that I got nearly 30 overs but before that I didn't get much bowling."

For the seamers, Ishant said maintaining the balance between attack and defence and using the best bowler in the most suitable conditions was important. "If you are bowling first then the ball does not swing that much because conditions are not that favourable. So you have to wait for the ball to swing more, then you can attack but until then you have to be defensive."

The moment to attack came when the ball got a little old and reverse-swing of the kind that Ishant can put into use came into play. "You also have to wait for the ball to reverse-swing so you can have fielders in attacking positions… These factors are very important when considering when to attack and when to defend."

Ishant, who plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy, was speaking at his home ground the Ferozshah Kotla, where he would miss playing for India, together his team-mate, Shikhar Dhawan, who scored the fastest Test century on debut in Mohali but fractured his left hand.

The contrasts between India's performances in the away Tests in England and Australia in 2011 and early 2012 and Australia's woeful performances on their 2013 tour of India had, Ishant said, reiterated the advatages of home conditions, "When we went to Australia we struggled a lot and everybody said we can't play away from home and now you can see that even Australia can't play here. So the advantage of home conditions is quite big. Our home conditions suit spinners and Australia is weak against the spinners so that has been a big advantage for us."

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 22, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Ishant does appear to have bowled better in recent series, but if you compare him with other seamers around the world, he would barely rate a selection in any other side (including even Sri Lanka). He is a shadow of the bowler he was when he burst on to the scene - he has no where near the pace and zip off the track he once did. If anything, he needs to start pitching the ball up and give it more of a chance to swing. Otherwise, he will be picked off regularly by any half-decent batsman, and not have many wickets to show for it either. From a selection point of view, India definately need to blood some other options.

  • dariuscorny on March 21, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    Ishant never gave runs with high economy be it Aus,Eng or anywher in tests,he didnt get wickets though,he can just be termed as unlucky not talentless,yes im not saying going to be great bowler nor im saying he cant be one of good bowler.he has ability just needs proprer guidancve ,their are people who need confidence and guidance from a good mentor,i hv always maintained the thought Ind needs a good participating fast bowling coach not a yawning coach.....hope a stint with Waqar helps him as waqar seems a strict coach.......bowl with pace and pitch it up,u wll get wickets Ishant..........good luck

  • skccochin on March 21, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    Ishant took just 5 wickets in as many as the 4 tests in Australia last year, which was one of the major reasons of India losing all of those. He was supposed to be the second best bowler after zaheer,should have taken around 20 wickets in such pace bowling conditions. But, India continue to play with him. The only thing we indian fans can dream is, ishant setting up a record of youngest player to retire from test cricket! (minimum tests played is 50). Ishant, please make it soon.

  • balajeev on March 22, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    Was Ishant being serious here?

  • mehulmatrix on March 22, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    What Ishant says reflects the typical lame mindset of fast bowlers in India. How doesn't he feel bad within when he says his role is to contain?? He should be attacking with the new ball, make the batsmen hop, make them uncomfortable, make them drive, make use of his height and there he is talking like a tiny worm.Forget about reverse swing,etc. As 'ansram' correctly even Kapil Dev took good number of wickets in India. Also McGrath, Gillispie, Steyn, Morkel took wickets in Idia then why cant he? His selection for 50 tests is really surprising given his maturity development and performance over 5 years. If batsmen didn't perform in Eng/Aus, what about fast bowlers? I checked up his stats for overseas and he averages 41.41. Please dont talk like a kid figthing about teams having home advantage,etc. Why the heck are new guys like Awana and Dinda not being given chances? Have the Indian selectors dosed off to sleep?

  • Naresh28 on March 22, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    Ishant needs to learn to bowl in the right areas. He is blessed with height but does not make it count. Definitely a liability to the team. Hell us fans can see it but not the selectors. When Ishant first broke free in Oz years ago, we all thought here is a bowler who can make it for India - but we were wrong.

  • JustAnotherCricketFan on March 22, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Its really refreshing to see new team India under Dhoni and FLetcher leadership. The team is full of youngsters with good technique and a lot of athleticism and energy. Plus they are hungry for a chance to prove themselves and give it their 100% in whatever is asked of them even if its just an 8 over spell in an innings.

    What that does for Dhoni is it places him in a good position as a leader to implement his strategies.

    Discounting the factor home conditions play, The team that got thrashed seemed like it relied heavily on superstars who werent very malleable and so the team relied more on a matchwining performnace from someone rather than good execution of strategies. So, there came a time when no one stood up to win a match yet noone was to be replaced because of their past achievements.

    The new team, is more run by careful planning and execution of strategies. In this team everyone knows their role which is clear defined and not outrageous.

  • ansram on March 22, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    Really? Ask Kapil dev who took 200+ wickets in India in 65 matches, at an average of 26 and a strike rate of 60.

  • xsSandy on March 22, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    If in India, the role of fast bowlers is to contain runs then why the hell you got thrashed and hit all over in England and Australia. You had even poorer bowling averages while bowling on seamer/ faster friendly pitches. You are the biggest liability in Indian team and why the hell selectors does not seem to understand that. A bowler with gifted height but who does not understand cricket and has no bowling skills even after playing 50 odd test matches. I am very disappointed seeing Ishant who is probably the worst example I have ever seen, with no learning capability at all.

  • AbAdvani on March 22, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Stop giving excuses Ishant -you took 5 wickets in 4 test matches in Australia when all the Australian pacers were all over us. Zaheer and Umesh both took 15 wickets in 4 matches and had a lot more to show than you. You have become a one dimensional bowler with neither speed nor variations -you are also the least atheletic of all the pace bowlers I have ever seen (ok Munaf would be a close competitor). You need to work hard, improve your speed by notches and get a lot more variations -a track record of 140 wickets in 50 test matches does not boost anyone's confidence

  • on March 22, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Ishant does appear to have bowled better in recent series, but if you compare him with other seamers around the world, he would barely rate a selection in any other side (including even Sri Lanka). He is a shadow of the bowler he was when he burst on to the scene - he has no where near the pace and zip off the track he once did. If anything, he needs to start pitching the ball up and give it more of a chance to swing. Otherwise, he will be picked off regularly by any half-decent batsman, and not have many wickets to show for it either. From a selection point of view, India definately need to blood some other options.

  • dariuscorny on March 21, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    Ishant never gave runs with high economy be it Aus,Eng or anywher in tests,he didnt get wickets though,he can just be termed as unlucky not talentless,yes im not saying going to be great bowler nor im saying he cant be one of good bowler.he has ability just needs proprer guidancve ,their are people who need confidence and guidance from a good mentor,i hv always maintained the thought Ind needs a good participating fast bowling coach not a yawning coach.....hope a stint with Waqar helps him as waqar seems a strict coach.......bowl with pace and pitch it up,u wll get wickets Ishant..........good luck

  • skccochin on March 21, 2013, 19:19 GMT

    Ishant took just 5 wickets in as many as the 4 tests in Australia last year, which was one of the major reasons of India losing all of those. He was supposed to be the second best bowler after zaheer,should have taken around 20 wickets in such pace bowling conditions. But, India continue to play with him. The only thing we indian fans can dream is, ishant setting up a record of youngest player to retire from test cricket! (minimum tests played is 50). Ishant, please make it soon.

  • balajeev on March 22, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    Was Ishant being serious here?

  • mehulmatrix on March 22, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    What Ishant says reflects the typical lame mindset of fast bowlers in India. How doesn't he feel bad within when he says his role is to contain?? He should be attacking with the new ball, make the batsmen hop, make them uncomfortable, make them drive, make use of his height and there he is talking like a tiny worm.Forget about reverse swing,etc. As 'ansram' correctly even Kapil Dev took good number of wickets in India. Also McGrath, Gillispie, Steyn, Morkel took wickets in Idia then why cant he? His selection for 50 tests is really surprising given his maturity development and performance over 5 years. If batsmen didn't perform in Eng/Aus, what about fast bowlers? I checked up his stats for overseas and he averages 41.41. Please dont talk like a kid figthing about teams having home advantage,etc. Why the heck are new guys like Awana and Dinda not being given chances? Have the Indian selectors dosed off to sleep?

  • Naresh28 on March 22, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    Ishant needs to learn to bowl in the right areas. He is blessed with height but does not make it count. Definitely a liability to the team. Hell us fans can see it but not the selectors. When Ishant first broke free in Oz years ago, we all thought here is a bowler who can make it for India - but we were wrong.

  • JustAnotherCricketFan on March 22, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Its really refreshing to see new team India under Dhoni and FLetcher leadership. The team is full of youngsters with good technique and a lot of athleticism and energy. Plus they are hungry for a chance to prove themselves and give it their 100% in whatever is asked of them even if its just an 8 over spell in an innings.

    What that does for Dhoni is it places him in a good position as a leader to implement his strategies.

    Discounting the factor home conditions play, The team that got thrashed seemed like it relied heavily on superstars who werent very malleable and so the team relied more on a matchwining performnace from someone rather than good execution of strategies. So, there came a time when no one stood up to win a match yet noone was to be replaced because of their past achievements.

    The new team, is more run by careful planning and execution of strategies. In this team everyone knows their role which is clear defined and not outrageous.

  • ansram on March 22, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    Really? Ask Kapil dev who took 200+ wickets in India in 65 matches, at an average of 26 and a strike rate of 60.

  • xsSandy on March 22, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    If in India, the role of fast bowlers is to contain runs then why the hell you got thrashed and hit all over in England and Australia. You had even poorer bowling averages while bowling on seamer/ faster friendly pitches. You are the biggest liability in Indian team and why the hell selectors does not seem to understand that. A bowler with gifted height but who does not understand cricket and has no bowling skills even after playing 50 odd test matches. I am very disappointed seeing Ishant who is probably the worst example I have ever seen, with no learning capability at all.

  • AbAdvani on March 22, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    Stop giving excuses Ishant -you took 5 wickets in 4 test matches in Australia when all the Australian pacers were all over us. Zaheer and Umesh both took 15 wickets in 4 matches and had a lot more to show than you. You have become a one dimensional bowler with neither speed nor variations -you are also the least atheletic of all the pace bowlers I have ever seen (ok Munaf would be a close competitor). You need to work hard, improve your speed by notches and get a lot more variations -a track record of 140 wickets in 50 test matches does not boost anyone's confidence

  • satishchandar on March 22, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    Ishant.. This guy did have some good spells as youngster.. But he is no more a bowler who can run in and bowl when the captain calls him these days. A third seamer can perform containing role to make the spinner and other bowlers attack at other end. But a guy with such a 50 test experience should be laading the attack and not wasting the new ball saying 'i perform that role'..

  • Mervo on March 22, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    A Test average of 38 is pretty terrible for a front line pace bowler. Really why do India need any pace bowlers at all? Just go with 5 spinners and the mud wickets they insist on these days, and they will be the kings...whoops they do have to go to other countries don't they where full cricket is played?

  • on March 22, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    How ridiculous can it get....this good for nothing,liability of a bowler who is there to make up the numbers has the gall to justify his consistent non-performance.This can happen only in India.My guess is India is aiming for another record with this bloke,The worst specialist bowler in the history of cricket...i guess hes already there...so time to retire ishant shamer....

  • GRVJPR on March 22, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    All those who are making fun of Ishant please check how Anderson is struggling even in New Zealand.

  • on March 22, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    Ishant Sharma, do team India a favour and announce your retirement. Even an ignorant brainless bowler would've figured out after 5 years that he should bowl a little fuller. Stop making excuses and please learn to swing the ball like Bhuvi. India should pick the likes of Pankaj Singh, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, and even the experienced Zaheer Khan.

  • JustAnObservation on March 22, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    @CricFanster I meant that given a chance all the bowlers mentioned an those not mentioned like Pankaj Singh (I used etc..) will take as many wickets as Ishant if given an opportunity to play 50 tests and may be even at a better average.

    @fguy, the selectors are not knocking off the deadwood, they are just keeping it aside so that once the replacements fail, the deadwood is again brought back. Why is Raina still persisted with despite his known weakness against quality pace? Just watch the new advertisement featuring the trio of Dhoni, Kohli and Raina. Is the commercial interest more dominant in deciding who should be in the team or the sheer talent and performance. Just guessing?

    Age is a factor for keeping out Jaffar, while so many 30+ players continue to come back after being dropped. Incredulous?

    I feel pity for players of teams like Rajasthan. What more do they need to do than winning the national title twice. Still, not a single name is even being discussed!!

  • pulkit10 on March 22, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    That's probably why he has such a woeful record. He is simply content with "playing a defensive role" for the team. It amazes me really. Here is a bowler with a decent frame, good height and some pace. He could really use all of this to his advantage and learn to master his swing properly - instead he chooses to play defensively. A defensive paceman is an oxymoron. You've got to bring your best game, swing the ball and force batsman to make errors. That's what fast bowling is about and this is test cricket so you simply can't get by with "bowling defensively" or keeping things tight. That's dumb. Harbhajan is in the same frame these days "if I can keep the economy rate below 3, I'm golden" - NO.

    Dale Steyn came over to India and ripped a really good top order into shreds. Learn from him.

  • aurko on March 22, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    so javagal srinath spun his way to all those wickets when a spinner infinitely better da n all da ones playing today combined, kumble was playing? dese bowlers r not even close to dat level n he will play 100 tests.. wat a joke.. n also get his big cheque from da ipl

  • TATTUs on March 22, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    Yes everybody is containing runs. So who is taking the wickets?! Yeah I know the opposition gifts them.

  • realfan on March 22, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    @McGorium well said man.... those who dont have any variation in their bowling should not play test matches.....

  • realfan on March 22, 2013, 3:17 GMT

    here is a man who is saying indirectly that he cant take wickets in INDIA ..... and what about abroad??? pace friendly pitches???? in AUS, SA, ENG??? his records are even poorer than in india...... just get rid of him from this team already.....

    try shami, pankaj, varun, dinda, awana..... even bring back irfan or may be ajit agarkar...... they will prove to be better than ishant......

    i am sick of seeing his back of a length bowling all the time... he will not learn even if he plays 100+ matches....

  • vigneshvinu on March 22, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    Mr.Ishant sharma your not playing T20 or ODI for defensive role.In test matches you need to take wickets,When you can't take wickets in Eng,Aus and even in india then you are unfit to be at international level.You need to analyse your stats you are one of the worst player among the bowlers those who have played for 50 matches.

  • Albert_cambell on March 22, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    Bowlers like ishant,Bhuvaneshwar kumar, yadav, irfan pathan, Zaheer can be found in every streets of Durban. I even doubt if these guys will be able to take wickets against my school team.

  • nikhilshahb on March 22, 2013, 2:33 GMT

    Even though his average has 38 in Test matches and has been wicket less he has a great heart and tries his best. As a 19 year old starter he was been over loaded since Zaheer have been injured mostly. In Ishant's case he has been bowling in India quite a bit and tends to look under-rated because of his load. After Zaheer and Umesh Yadav there is nobody who can cover up with injuries, form and IPL then Ishant and was responsible for India's 1 one Test status back in 2009

  • vathabivaranan on March 22, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    I also agree that we lost in Australia because of Ishant who looked an ordinary street bowler to Aus batsmen. In helping condition, I am surprised why he did not use the conditions prevailed there. Now he said, Bhavanesh Kumar swung ball both ways and that's why he is successful. Why Sharma did not swing ball to take wickets. Any agreement he signed that he should not try to swing. Our selectors should take steps to axe him immediately and ask him to prove his capabilities by playing in Ranji trophy matches if at all he wants to represent India, and give chance to others who already performed better.

  • ninad008 on March 22, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    For all his comments, Ishant should seriously take a look at his stats, his average away from home is much worse than that in India. Of 29 tests played outside India he averages 41.41, as opposed to 34.35 of 21 tests in India. If we were to talk about conditions where seam bowlers get enough help, his stats look much worse. 73.54 in Aus, 58.18 in Eng & 48.14 in SA! He should just make the most of his stay as long as he can, because with that kind of performance he won't be around for long. Having said that, its a miracle of sorts that he managed to play 50 tests for the country.

  • on March 22, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    Bowlers job is not to contain runs. they need to take wickets and change the game course. i believe the strategy of containing runs given more importance than taking wickets is the game plan of dhoni. it may be a successful strategy in T20 or ODI s but in test cricket dhoni should apply much better tactics...few days back dhoni justified jadeja's inclusion in the team saying that on avg India need to bowl 120 overs and jadeja is helping the team to get through some of these overs. this is perfect example of defensive strategy by dhoni. i hope india gets a new captain for the SA tour

  • wake_up_india on March 21, 2013, 23:58 GMT

    Amazing that he makes the team after this admission. Talking of the effectiveness of fast bowlers in India, how about the Pakistani, West Indies and previous Australian bowlers who have posed plenty of problems for Indian batsmen. The truth of the matter is that most Indian "pace" bowlers are, and always have been (after Mohammad Nisar), below international standards. Sharma appers to be less than the best even among that lot.

  • on March 21, 2013, 22:26 GMT

    Selectors should relieve Ishant from this painful bowling and never bring him back again. Looking at his bowling stats, anyone have a long run up can represent India as a pace bowler!! Woeful stats he has!!

  • on March 21, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    I remember a few years back a bowler named Tinu Yohanan who showed a lot of promise. He was picked for the Newzealand tour and went wicketless in a match on a green top. That was the last match he played.

    It baffles me that I that Ishant Sharma after doing the same thing series after series is considered our pace spearhead.

    The selectors should seriously think about dropping Ishant for the SA tour. Sreeshant should be included given his performances in SA. If not anything else, he would atleast try to pick wickets unlike Ishant.

    Other bowlers who should be considered are Shammi Ahmed, Varun Aaron, Mithun, Awana along with Bhuvnesh Kumar.

  • Cricketfan101 on March 21, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    Hopefully Waqar Can Work Some Magic During The Ipl And Get Ishant Bowling To his Potential .

  • TRAM on March 21, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    @Tariq Tipto, you said "show me a good fast bowler in India". How can we (the fans) know about each India youngster's skills? We will know them only when those players are given chance and shown in TV. Sreesanth I can recall bowled very well against SA then he faded. My point is, it is the selectors job to bring to limelight good fast bowlers. Means, they have to drop the non-performers and give chance to new faces. No point in keeping the consistent failures saying "we dont have any talent in India".

    I had not seen Bhuvaneshwar's or Dhwan's great skill until they played for India. But when I saw them, it is a wow feeling. India has so much talent. No doubt. Some need more chances but Ishant has been given way too many chances. I am not biased. Any non-performer be it a legend or Ishant or X, Y, Z, I dont care, must go and youngster should come in. That is the only way a selection must operate - unbiased and result oriented.

  • on March 21, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    TRAM,i saw that Ishant swang the ball nicly in to the right handers and sometimes away to the them when the ball became old in Mohali.Why are you telling that he is nonsense?if he is then show me a good fast bowler in India...he is only 24 too...keeping faith on him because he is a good pacer...

  • skccochin on March 21, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    @TRAM, I agree with you fully. I can't see him troubling any batsmen with pace or well directed bouncers (look at sreesanth who has done that many times) in the bouncy pitches like in SA, AUs, Eng, etc. Pity that he is still playing for india!

  • on March 21, 2013, 19:14 GMT

    Ishant please do india a favor and retire. Noone gives a penny about ur opinion, its as useless as your bowling

  • TRAM on March 21, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    "I cant swing the ball. But I want to be the fast bowler" !!!! Wow. I have never heard of such nonsense / atrocious statement by any one. Mr. Ishant, will you hire a slow bowler who accepts he cant spin the ball? Ishant, can you please tell us what are your bowling strengths? (special balls). Slower ones? Yorkers? Or sheer super speed? unexpected well directed bouncers? OR do you ever study the weakness of the batsman ? Ask young Bhuvaneshwar he will tell you what plan he has, in spite of bowling at 120+ ! I dont understand when people say you are sincere & hardworking. It is pathetic to see you not-learning and honing your skills for years.

  • on March 21, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    In short Ishant sharma says that he is one of the worst bowlers to have played 50 Test matches. He agreed that he can't swing and he cant take wickets. Hope selectors are aware of this.

  • fguy on March 21, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    well ishant someone forgot to tell B kumar that. look at his stats & it shows that pacers can take wickets here too (& he's new to int'l cricket). you just need to know how to bowl. maybe try pitching the ball in an area called the full or even the good length. both those lengths are in the batsman's half of the pitch not yours. @Raj Sundararaman totally agree. he's talking as though he takes 5fers on a regular basis abroad @JustAnObservation i hope the selectors who've slowly taken out the deadwood from the team after this series finally relieve the team & us fans of the final 2 pieces - bhajji & ishant. as his stats show even if he miraculously takes 5 it'll cost the team 200 runs!

  • CricFanster on March 21, 2013, 18:00 GMT

    @JustAnObservation J Unadkat really like really Dude ? you must be Kidding lol I would say Pankaj Singh & S.Kaul are way better than this Unadkat guy !

    Pankaj Singh is really Unlucky even after performing well in the domestic games has never been given a chance at higher level . His avg is 26.11 after 68 first class games which is pretty decent if not threatening

  • iluvtest on March 21, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    Probably Ishant forgot the names of Sreenath and Zaheer and of course Kapil who shown that a bowler could get wickets on Indian pitches and could be spearheads of an attack. It is a shame that instead of striving for success he is hiding behind silly reasons.

  • true_test_cricket_fan on March 21, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    Has Ishant taken many wickets outside of India? His test bowling average is 38.42 which is the least of all test bowlers who have played more than 50 tests. This speaks volumes about his performance in tests. Ishant - The most important job or role of a specialist bowler is to pick up wickets in tests. Please make yourself unavailable for test selection so that other young bowlers who are aspiring to bowl & take wickets get a chance to play.

  • asterix.gaul on March 21, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    The job of any bowler, spin or pace, swing or seam, is to take wickets. Containers are good for holding liquid.

  • on March 21, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Fully agree with @JustanObservation and others.Ishant Sharma must consider himself exceedingly fortunate to have played over 50 Tests with only few good performances-that rare brilliant spell against Ponting in Perth in 2008 earning him,possibly,at least 30 extra caps most undeservedly. The Indian selectors have this fetish for fast bowling ,thereby, ignoring swing bowlers like Pravin Kumar-it's quite possible that with his gentle pace Vernon Philander mightn't have been picked for India

    Feel so sorry for Madanlal who was dropped almost immediately after the Calcutta Test against the mighty West Indies in Jan'75 when he had the superlative figures of 16-5-22-4 in the 1st innings,claiming the scalps of Grrenidge Fredericks,Kalicharran,Roberts while getting the dangerous Viv Richards out in the 2nd innings with a beautiful inswinger.Madanlal was also dropped after getting 5 wickets in the 2nd innings at Perth in 1978 just because he was scared of facing bouncers.

  • Match_Referee on March 21, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    Its is not 60 Austarlian wickets that were fallen sofar, it was only 59... I think you have missed master stroke declaration of Clarke on the first day of Hyderabad test....

  • JustAnObservation on March 21, 2013, 17:18 GMT

    Honestly, there is not point in commenting on Ishant or his abilities or his performance (or rather non-performance). Fault lies with the selection committee who continue select him and the on-field selection committee (captain and coach) who keep on persisting with him.

    The idea is that once in a while he will capture a few wickets (may be a key one like that of Starc in the Mohali test) and be selected for the next series or two.

    Just watch out, he will take atleast 3 to 4 wickets in Delhi test and book himself for South Africa.

    Those who select the team are not even interested in looking beyond a limited set of players. If Sreesanth, Shami Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaidev Unadkat, Imtiyaz Ahmed, etc are given a chance to play 50 Tests, even their bowling average would be much better than 50 per wicket.

    Anyways, none of us would mind continuing with Ishant because dropping him would mean bringing back R P SINGH !!!

  • RaviNarla on March 21, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    "So the advantage of home conditions is quite big" - Then why did we lose against England.

  • Arrow011 on March 21, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    Ishant Sharma is the Dale Steyn of India, LOL

  • on March 21, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    Ishants stike rate and economy rate both prove that he can neither strike nor contain. He doesn't get injured as often as the rest so that might be the reason why he's still in the team but quite frankly he doesn't deserve his place.

  • on March 21, 2013, 16:57 GMT

    Ishant is a smart bowler, never puts in enough to get injured. Hence, by default plays more matches than Khan, Sreesanth, Umesh etc.. They all do too much, must learn from Ishant and probably bowl spin. Ishant will slowly start bowling at Shastri's pace. His long hair are to show the batsmen that his is not a thinking bowler. Smartest bowler ever!!

  • Cricket316 on March 21, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    To the Selction Panel, For the sake of Pace Bowling, try guys who are performing and are brighter prospects than Ishant Sharma. I am also surprised by his statement. I know he's hardly taking wickets, but this baffles me. Ishant, if you are a Front line bowler for your Test Team, you shouldn't be focusing on Containing,but taking wickets. Even after 50 Matches, he is not rated as a good bowler,not even average. When he gets the new ball, I feel gutted because I know the New Ball will be wasted. His pace was in the range of 135-137 ,but why you have to bowl SO SHORT ? And he's looks more worried about his hair than pitching the ball in the right Areas and taking a wicket. Comeon !!

    Ishant Sharma's bowling is the weakest link in the India Team, he needs to be dropped immediately for India to do well overseas and try better bowlers in the Pace Department.

  • on March 21, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    Why we continue with Ishant whose performance below Ranji Trophy level. He says, he had to contain one end and help team to change ends for other bowlers.In the last Test Sachin bowled just two overs. Sharma might have his days years back. It gives a clear picture that he has to work very hard to get back his old rhythm to maintain a strict line and length if at all he wants wickets. We should learn from Australians how to take decisions to show the bench for non performer like Moises Henriques who had a decent debut . For just to contain and change ends, do we require an experienced non performer like Sharma who also leaked runs. Instead, we can give chance to players like Dinda and others who performed better.

  • on March 21, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    this guy wouldn't even take the wickets even in the seamer friendly pitches..he is useless..his continuity in the playing XI continues to baffles everybody except the team management and the captain..

  • on March 21, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    How stupid logic by someone who is called the space spearhead of india...he has played 50 test matches,and yet he bowls like a rookie. Even dhoni by bowling his medium pace, could contain runs..but taking wickets is important..if he does'nt know that, why they are still keeping him in the team???? This is the most stupid statement by a fast bowler!! fast bowlers need to be aggressive, not negative!!

  • cric_options on March 21, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    BCCI and much of Indian sentiment do not have a clue what should be size of the rope. And in a country which has more than a billion people and a steep pyramid to the top of such things like the cricket team, its a sin to keep people waiting forever. Its plain unfair and should be a reason for the organizations involved to put on trial. In some way it is discrimination by being complacent and conservative. Ishant Sharma with an average of 38+, in 50 tests should no longer be playing for India. The rope given to him has been so long, that he has exhausted all possible future opportunities that should come his way, even if he were to become Dale Steyn tomorrow.

  • on March 21, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    hopefully india dont take ishant to south africa zaheer,umesh yadav, vaaron arun,ojha,ashwin and harbhajan and bhuvneswar should go to south africa

  • SamRoy on March 21, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    Job of Indian National Selectors is to drop Sharma for at least 2 years and let him play first class cricket.

  • on March 21, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    Is he trying to justify why he has not taken wickets??? Justification is fine in India, but what about England, Australia? The only reason he is surviving is the lack of options!

  • Cricket316 on March 21, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    The biggest problem with Ishant is that he bowls way too short of a Length on these slow tracks or any track for that matter.He hasnt learned from his mistakes. He isn't pitching the ball further up and let the Batsmen play,instead the batsmen leaves the balls or has ample time to cut/pull the ball. Plus, he's gets no movement with New ball.That says it.

    Why guys like Umesh Yadav who bowls express pace and is currently toiling hard at the NCA, Praveen Kumar who has the ability to swing the ball both ways,young prospect like Shami Ahmed not picked in the Test Squad for Delhi? I just feel surprised when I Sharma takes a Wicket. A debutant has performed better than this guy who has played 50 Tests now. Sharma might be "trying" hard, but its not generating any result. What happens if I Sharma flies to SA & picks 1-2 Wickets a Test Match, India will still be relying on the Spinners on SA Pitches to take the remaining Wickets? Yadav,PKumar,Ahmed have to come in, for India to do well in SA

  • drvvs on March 21, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    Reading what the person has actually said and following it by the same thing rephrased in the author's words is so boring. A bit of background and his whole interview would have avoided the unnecessary stretch in the article. eg. The moment to attack came when the ball got a little old and reverse-swing of the kind that Ishant can put into use came into play. "You also have to wait for the ball to reverse-swing so you can have fielders in attacking positions… These factors are very important when considering when to attack and when to defend."

  • McGorium on March 21, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    Yeah, of course he can't swing the ball in Indian conditions, because he never pitches the ball up to begin with. Back-of-a-length stuff day in, and day out. He's another Srinath... Srinath's biggest failing as a bowler was that for most of his career, he had only one length, and one delivery: back of a length, cutting in to the batsmen, bowled from wide of the crease. No yorker either. Consequently, rare were lbw's or bowleds, common were plays and misses instead of edges. They keep saying Sharma is unlucky, but as someone on this website said (majrekar), he's not really unlucky... he just bowls the same length, and doesn't seem to want to learn.

  • DRVa on March 21, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    The reason he's still selected is the same reason gambhir was selected for the Eng tests, and sehwag and Bhajji for the first two vs Australia and for that matter Sachin (as big a fan of him as I am) still is.

    Because this selection panel (we must remember they're different now, not the spineless ones like Srikanth), don't want to make drastic changes to the team. They want to draft in players one match/series at a time. Irrespective of whether they perform or not throwing completely new players all at the same time isn't helping anyone. Once the new players (eg: Pujara, Kohli, Ashwin,B.Kumar) establish themselves in one or two series they can draft in some new guys.

    I suppose at any given time they want a few guys who've played enough matches, and while he's not good enough to play for the team they feel his presence would help BKumar a lot more than if there were just two debutants.

    By all means get rid of him, but let someone else establish themselves first.

  • on March 21, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    Ok Ishant, even agreeing that the role of a fast bowler is to contain runs, how about your record outside of India and especially in Aus, England or RSA? It is not as if you have been on fire in those countries. He must be one of the worst pace bowlers ever to have played 50 test matches!

  • Angry_Bowler on March 21, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    Selectors are of the opinion that sharma being the tallest in the Indian attack, he would be intimidating to the opponent batsmen when they face him, which unfortunately proved to be wrong moreover the guys like Kumars and Khans have been much more effective than him. Just kidding, but very frustrating to see him bowl in the team.

  • 30-30-150 on March 21, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    Parvinder Awana deserves a callup into the Test team. Awana and B Kumar can form a lethal new-ball combination. Ishant should be dropped forever.

  • Mahesh4811 on March 21, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    @JustAnObservation : 10000% agree with you.

  • AKS286 on March 21, 2013, 15:50 GMT

    From 10 test cricket playing nation 4 are Asians where Spin friendly pitches are there . But 6 test cricket playing nations are having Fast pitches. Yes Indian pitches stops the breeding and grooming of pace bowlers. They face problem due to no experience in domestic & home matches. This kind of pitches de-motivate indian pacers thats why they loose matches in beyond Asia. And check out the stats of Indian spinner beyond Asia very very poor. India is a large country and they have many stadiums so half of the stadiums must be made Pace friendly this will help them both fo spin & fast.

  • JustAnObservation on March 21, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    I have always wondered how he continues to play despite a string of poor performance. Zaheer got axed but Ishant survived. This man has taken just 21 wickets in the past 14 Test matches. Forget about taking 5 wickets in an innings, he has not taken even 4 wickets in a Test match (2 innings) in the past 20 months. But his selection for every Test match is almost as certain as that of Dhoni's or Sachin's.

    I wonder when did our selectors last discussed team selection by studying the players' statistics. Ishant has played 50 matches and each of his wickets have come at a cost of 40 runs.

    But he is still considered to be the spearhead of Indian bowling. It is simply ridiculous to compare him with the spearheads of other top countries, viz. Dale Steyn, James Anderson, Pattinson.

    Why is he given such a long stint? Am totally clueless.

  • JustAnObservation on March 21, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    I have always wondered how he continues to play despite a string of poor performance. Zaheer got axed but Ishant survived. This man has taken just 21 wickets in the past 14 Test matches. Forget about taking 5 wickets in an innings, he has not taken even 4 wickets in a Test match (2 innings) in the past 20 months. But his selection for every Test match is almost as certain as that of Dhoni's or Sachin's.

    I wonder when did our selectors last discussed team selection by studying the players' statistics. Ishant has played 50 matches and each of his wickets have come at a cost of 40 runs.

    But he is still considered to be the spearhead of Indian bowling. It is simply ridiculous to compare him with the spearheads of other top countries, viz. Dale Steyn, James Anderson, Pattinson.

    Why is he given such a long stint? Am totally clueless.

  • AKS286 on March 21, 2013, 15:50 GMT

    From 10 test cricket playing nation 4 are Asians where Spin friendly pitches are there . But 6 test cricket playing nations are having Fast pitches. Yes Indian pitches stops the breeding and grooming of pace bowlers. They face problem due to no experience in domestic & home matches. This kind of pitches de-motivate indian pacers thats why they loose matches in beyond Asia. And check out the stats of Indian spinner beyond Asia very very poor. India is a large country and they have many stadiums so half of the stadiums must be made Pace friendly this will help them both fo spin & fast.

  • Mahesh4811 on March 21, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    @JustAnObservation : 10000% agree with you.

  • 30-30-150 on March 21, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    Parvinder Awana deserves a callup into the Test team. Awana and B Kumar can form a lethal new-ball combination. Ishant should be dropped forever.

  • Angry_Bowler on March 21, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    Selectors are of the opinion that sharma being the tallest in the Indian attack, he would be intimidating to the opponent batsmen when they face him, which unfortunately proved to be wrong moreover the guys like Kumars and Khans have been much more effective than him. Just kidding, but very frustrating to see him bowl in the team.

  • on March 21, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    Ok Ishant, even agreeing that the role of a fast bowler is to contain runs, how about your record outside of India and especially in Aus, England or RSA? It is not as if you have been on fire in those countries. He must be one of the worst pace bowlers ever to have played 50 test matches!

  • DRVa on March 21, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    The reason he's still selected is the same reason gambhir was selected for the Eng tests, and sehwag and Bhajji for the first two vs Australia and for that matter Sachin (as big a fan of him as I am) still is.

    Because this selection panel (we must remember they're different now, not the spineless ones like Srikanth), don't want to make drastic changes to the team. They want to draft in players one match/series at a time. Irrespective of whether they perform or not throwing completely new players all at the same time isn't helping anyone. Once the new players (eg: Pujara, Kohli, Ashwin,B.Kumar) establish themselves in one or two series they can draft in some new guys.

    I suppose at any given time they want a few guys who've played enough matches, and while he's not good enough to play for the team they feel his presence would help BKumar a lot more than if there were just two debutants.

    By all means get rid of him, but let someone else establish themselves first.

  • McGorium on March 21, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    Yeah, of course he can't swing the ball in Indian conditions, because he never pitches the ball up to begin with. Back-of-a-length stuff day in, and day out. He's another Srinath... Srinath's biggest failing as a bowler was that for most of his career, he had only one length, and one delivery: back of a length, cutting in to the batsmen, bowled from wide of the crease. No yorker either. Consequently, rare were lbw's or bowleds, common were plays and misses instead of edges. They keep saying Sharma is unlucky, but as someone on this website said (majrekar), he's not really unlucky... he just bowls the same length, and doesn't seem to want to learn.

  • drvvs on March 21, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    Reading what the person has actually said and following it by the same thing rephrased in the author's words is so boring. A bit of background and his whole interview would have avoided the unnecessary stretch in the article. eg. The moment to attack came when the ball got a little old and reverse-swing of the kind that Ishant can put into use came into play. "You also have to wait for the ball to reverse-swing so you can have fielders in attacking positions… These factors are very important when considering when to attack and when to defend."

  • Cricket316 on March 21, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    The biggest problem with Ishant is that he bowls way too short of a Length on these slow tracks or any track for that matter.He hasnt learned from his mistakes. He isn't pitching the ball further up and let the Batsmen play,instead the batsmen leaves the balls or has ample time to cut/pull the ball. Plus, he's gets no movement with New ball.That says it.

    Why guys like Umesh Yadav who bowls express pace and is currently toiling hard at the NCA, Praveen Kumar who has the ability to swing the ball both ways,young prospect like Shami Ahmed not picked in the Test Squad for Delhi? I just feel surprised when I Sharma takes a Wicket. A debutant has performed better than this guy who has played 50 Tests now. Sharma might be "trying" hard, but its not generating any result. What happens if I Sharma flies to SA & picks 1-2 Wickets a Test Match, India will still be relying on the Spinners on SA Pitches to take the remaining Wickets? Yadav,PKumar,Ahmed have to come in, for India to do well in SA