January 11, 2012

The truth about 'unlucky' Ishant

He is known to work hard on the field but not get the wickets he seemingly deserves. Harsh but true: it's because he doesn't bowl enough wicket-taking balls
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What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Ishant Sharma? I'm guessing it would be an image of a tall, young fast bowler coming off a long run-up ball after ball, giving his all for the team. It is this quality that impressed me on India's wretched tour of England, where Ishant ran in with great zest and bowled long spells the whole day, with intensity - all in a losing cause. When others around him were falling like ninepins, Ishant carried on gamely, day after day, showing the same passion for bowling in the last 20 minutes of the day as he did in the first 20.

Such bowlers, who are ready to do the hard yards for the team, are a boon to a captain. But there are bowlers of another kind that a captain would much prefer: bowlers who take wickets. This is where Ishant has proved a disappointment so far; for all his talent and commitment he just does not take enough wickets.

When I looked at Ishant's bowling record, it took me by surprise. Until recently I hadn't bothered to look at his numbers, for there was so much to like about Ishant on the field that it did not matter what was on paper.

Ishant has played 43 Tests at an average of 36.8. That's right, the bowler India keep looking at as a bright young prospect, expected to take over the leadership role from Zaheer Khan, has already played 43 Tests. Forty-three Tests makes you a seasoned Test player - a player for the present, not one for the future. It's time Indian cricket started looking at Ishant that way, expecting results from him today instead of tomorrow.

Let's now move to the other eye-catching number in his bowling record - the average. Bowling averages somehow never get as much media- and mind-space as batting averages do. When it comes to gauging the success of a player, it's simpler for fans to understand batting averages. To give you a very rough estimate of Ishant's bowling average in batting parlance: an average of 36 runs per wicket is about equal to averaging just under 35 per innings for a batsman. Would India be tolerant of a batsman who averaged around 35 after 43 Tests? Ishant's strike rate of 64.8 is also below par. This means he needs to bowl nearly 11 overs to get one wicket.

Granted, India are not spoilt for choice when it comes to seam bowlers, but that Ishant has generally been an automatic pick in the playing XI and his bowling returns are never a talking point suggests we have all been slightly swayed by his demeanour on the field. It is always "unlucky" Ishant, a bowler who deserves more wickets for his lion-hearted performance in the field. "Unlucky Ishant Sharma" has become his brandname in Indian cricket today.

But there is no such thing as an unlucky batsman or an unlucky bowler. Over a short span, yes, but if someone is an "unlucky" bowler over a long period of time, he is simply not bowling enough wicket-taking balls. And that is the simple truth about Ishant - he has just not bowled enough potential wicket-taking balls, and it reflects in his record.

An average of 36 runs per wicket is equal to averaging just under 35 per innings for a batsman. Would India be tolerant of a batsman who averaged around 35 after 43 Tests?

Following a good series in the West Indies, where he picked up 22 wickets, his dry run resumed in England. After Ishant had another fruitless day in the field in the recent home series against West Indies, I asked Courtney Walsh, a fellow panelist on a TV show, for his take on Ishant. Walsh also bowled the same genre of seam as Ishant does, and he made an observation about what prevented Ishant from being a more potent wicket-taking bowler: the head falling away at the time of delivery, and the uncertain position of the wrist behind the ball when he lets it go were his two main deficiencies, Walsh said. Of course, this is not the first time these aspects of Ishant's bowling have been pointed out, but it is sad to see that these two critical issues have remained largely unaddressed.

All fast bowlers will tell you that the head falling away sideways at the time of delivery kills much of the speed, especially when the ball is pitched up. It's an important reason why Ishant is never quick when he pitches the ball up, and why the yorker is not a real weapon for him. This, along with his wrist action - where the two fingers on the seam tend to slide away rather than remain behind the seam when the ball is released - greatly diminishes the movement he would otherwise get in the air and off the pitch, and the zip.

When he tries to get the ball into that full-length area, it just does not respond. It reacts better when it's pitched shorter, which is why he feels compelled to bowl that length. But when the ball is short you don't find the edges, the leg-befores and the bowleds, as often. And that is what makes Ishant an "unlucky" bowler in Indian cricket.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • spinkingKK on January 14, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    Very nice analysis. It is a late assesment. It would have helped if Sanjay did this a while ago and told Ishant about it. Because, he hasn't been a wicket taking bowler for a long time. However, there is no way Ishant is ever going to be dropped from the Indian team (provided the selectors don't bring unnecessary surprises). He is the only positive that has happened to the Indian cricket for the past 4 years. Maybe we are witnessing another positive, Kohli, now.

  • rsurya on January 14, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    Ishanth is a pick of the worst lot and you can't expect more from him. The only unlucky person is dhoni.

  • Shashi77 on January 14, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    @ DebashisCalcutta...no my dear i just want to say that it's very easy to find fault in others game..every generation of cricketer do this n forget about their own game n shortcomings...sometimes it's look pathetic when arun lal talk about Dravid batting or nikhil chopra talks about harbhajan's bowling they forget about their own achievements it's easy to comment while sitting in a AC room but difficult to perform on the field. I just hate these kind of high talks from but given that opportunities which media is providing them every ex cricketer is coming with their expert comments. Sanjay Manjrekar talks about commitments ..he was one of the most selfish batsman i have seen very much like dinesh karthick once in a one day match he didn't sacrifice his own wicket for tendulkar involved in run out misunderstanding ..everone knows that in any day tendulkar is far better than sanjay...i hate these loose talks from ex players they should not forget what they have done in their playing days

  • S.Jagernath on January 14, 2012, 17:44 GMT

    Brilliant article,a topic of which is of great importance to the future of Indian cricket.Ishant Sharma just does not bowl accurately enough to consistently cause problems.Ishant get a delivery or two each over that could create pressure but it is often followed up by a delivery on the pads or a high bouncer.Umesh Yadav took 5 wickets today but his economy was 5 as well,unless the Indian bowlers tighten their lines & lengths,they will spend many more long days out in the summer sun all over the world.

  • on January 14, 2012, 16:45 GMT

    If bowler like vinay kumar can play for India, then Ishant deserves to bowl even though he does not pick wicket.

  • UmarKhan85 on January 14, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    @ Vaibhav my friend your famed indian batting line up is only good at bashing oppositions on home soil. this tour of australia is the umpteenth time your batting line up has flopped against seam swing and bounce. and just to remind you Pakistan has one of the best fast bowlers currently playing for them who cant make the ball dance on dead wickets too. I dont think you saw how we bowled on UAE wickets against sri lanka. and even in the semi final, which too was played on a dead flat wicket, we managed to stop you at 260. so i say bring it on. the Karachi test where irfan pathan took a hat-trick is yet another proof of how vulnerable you batters are on seaming pitches. Therefore i suggest you advice ur cricket board to make your players learn how to play swing and bounce before saying u can just bash our bowling like anything.

  • Rooboy on January 14, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    Sharma would be better served in this test just to shut up and let his bowling do the talking. Except his bowling seems to have nothing to say. Sledging only works if it unsettles or even intimidates the opposition ... whereas Warner would be struggling not to laugh in Sharma's face when he mouths off.

  • Rooboy on January 14, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    Sharma would be better served in this test just to shut up and let his bowling do the talking. Except his bowling seems to have nothing to say. Sledging only works if it unsettles or even intimidates the opposition ... whereas Warner would be struggling not to laugh in Sharma's face when he mouths off.

  • on January 14, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    Ishant not bowling wicket taking balls is a diplomatic way of saying he is not good enough...We miss Pravin Kumar...

  • elmicko on January 13, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    Ishant didn't do much on a day one Perth pitch Yougander ... and it is the bounciest pitch in Aust - if he don't take wickets in this test, he ain't taking wickets anywhere ..... also, might serve him better to BOWL rather than CHAT with opposition batsmen ...

  • spinkingKK on January 14, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    Very nice analysis. It is a late assesment. It would have helped if Sanjay did this a while ago and told Ishant about it. Because, he hasn't been a wicket taking bowler for a long time. However, there is no way Ishant is ever going to be dropped from the Indian team (provided the selectors don't bring unnecessary surprises). He is the only positive that has happened to the Indian cricket for the past 4 years. Maybe we are witnessing another positive, Kohli, now.

  • rsurya on January 14, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    Ishanth is a pick of the worst lot and you can't expect more from him. The only unlucky person is dhoni.

  • Shashi77 on January 14, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    @ DebashisCalcutta...no my dear i just want to say that it's very easy to find fault in others game..every generation of cricketer do this n forget about their own game n shortcomings...sometimes it's look pathetic when arun lal talk about Dravid batting or nikhil chopra talks about harbhajan's bowling they forget about their own achievements it's easy to comment while sitting in a AC room but difficult to perform on the field. I just hate these kind of high talks from but given that opportunities which media is providing them every ex cricketer is coming with their expert comments. Sanjay Manjrekar talks about commitments ..he was one of the most selfish batsman i have seen very much like dinesh karthick once in a one day match he didn't sacrifice his own wicket for tendulkar involved in run out misunderstanding ..everone knows that in any day tendulkar is far better than sanjay...i hate these loose talks from ex players they should not forget what they have done in their playing days

  • S.Jagernath on January 14, 2012, 17:44 GMT

    Brilliant article,a topic of which is of great importance to the future of Indian cricket.Ishant Sharma just does not bowl accurately enough to consistently cause problems.Ishant get a delivery or two each over that could create pressure but it is often followed up by a delivery on the pads or a high bouncer.Umesh Yadav took 5 wickets today but his economy was 5 as well,unless the Indian bowlers tighten their lines & lengths,they will spend many more long days out in the summer sun all over the world.

  • on January 14, 2012, 16:45 GMT

    If bowler like vinay kumar can play for India, then Ishant deserves to bowl even though he does not pick wicket.

  • UmarKhan85 on January 14, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    @ Vaibhav my friend your famed indian batting line up is only good at bashing oppositions on home soil. this tour of australia is the umpteenth time your batting line up has flopped against seam swing and bounce. and just to remind you Pakistan has one of the best fast bowlers currently playing for them who cant make the ball dance on dead wickets too. I dont think you saw how we bowled on UAE wickets against sri lanka. and even in the semi final, which too was played on a dead flat wicket, we managed to stop you at 260. so i say bring it on. the Karachi test where irfan pathan took a hat-trick is yet another proof of how vulnerable you batters are on seaming pitches. Therefore i suggest you advice ur cricket board to make your players learn how to play swing and bounce before saying u can just bash our bowling like anything.

  • Rooboy on January 14, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    Sharma would be better served in this test just to shut up and let his bowling do the talking. Except his bowling seems to have nothing to say. Sledging only works if it unsettles or even intimidates the opposition ... whereas Warner would be struggling not to laugh in Sharma's face when he mouths off.

  • Rooboy on January 14, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    Sharma would be better served in this test just to shut up and let his bowling do the talking. Except his bowling seems to have nothing to say. Sledging only works if it unsettles or even intimidates the opposition ... whereas Warner would be struggling not to laugh in Sharma's face when he mouths off.

  • on January 14, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    Ishant not bowling wicket taking balls is a diplomatic way of saying he is not good enough...We miss Pravin Kumar...

  • elmicko on January 13, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    Ishant didn't do much on a day one Perth pitch Yougander ... and it is the bounciest pitch in Aust - if he don't take wickets in this test, he ain't taking wickets anywhere ..... also, might serve him better to BOWL rather than CHAT with opposition batsmen ...

  • er.Vaibhav on January 13, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    @faisal dont jump with joy its australia who is beating india not pakistan...now its a typical pakistani mentallity if youy can't do something on your own jump when i is done by others and be happy for no reason..lets see how much you speak when pakistan plays with india and gets beating of life

  • on January 13, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    If Australia can have a bowling coach, then can't we have a bowling coach who is technically good say for two years, who just works with juniors at NCA.

    Lets not fall into why not Indian (Kapil Dev, J Srinath) and why only McGrath. He should be independently judged.

    They can even have something like have installation ready and train juniors in batches of 10. Now these juniors can be from the IPL side and charge the franchises. It will be win win situation for both IPL franchises (as they get a better bowler - that too from sub junior level) and for Indian team as they get better options.

    Anyways, in an IPL playing 11 there are 3 types of players a)International b) National(Zaheer/Kohli/Dhoni/Raina etc) and c) Players from catchment areas, who are yet to make a mark.

    So these blokes from c can be trained easily and it would make sense in the IPL franchises to invest in them..with 3-5 year contract.

  • DebashisCalcutta on January 13, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    @Shashi77 ... by you logic , one can only analyze/criticize if he has scored more runs /taken more wickets than the person concerned ...so how come u r questioning Sanjay? My bad , you must have scored more runs than Sanjay..

  • on January 13, 2012, 0:11 GMT

    Ishant sharma ,morne morkel and steven finn all fall into same category tall,thin and fast bowlers who rely on pace and bounce !! Give a bouncy pitch to ishant the no one can cone close to him.if u make him bowl on flat indian pitches what will u expect his strike rate to be ?? Indian team needs variety in the attack like zaheer relies on swing , umesh yadav on raw pace and yorkers and ishant relies on bounce and aaron bowls correct line and length with pace. Praveen,vinay and irfan are like zak and can be ideal replacements for him. But u cant kick out ishant just becoz he is not getting wickets. He adds variety to the indian attack . Look at south african attack for example steyn relies on pace and swing like zak but he is faser,morne morkel like ishant relies on bounce and philander has many variations and tsotsobe has raw pace like yadav with some swing.

    Luk at england attack - jimmy relies on swing like zak, broad relies on pace like yadav and finn relies on bounce !!

  • on January 12, 2012, 23:52 GMT

    Might be true, but the suggestions made in this article made by Mr. Manjrekar contradict those he made in his last article (http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/545977.html), where he vociferously defended the natural actions of a bowler/batsman.

    "I shudder to imagine what would have happened to 14-year-old Brian Lara had he been shown a video of how high his back-lift was. A 12-year-old Tendulkar shown a close-up of how his grip was wrong; a freeze-frame of Sehwag's still feet at the time of receiving a delivery. Or a young Kapil shown his extremely side-on bowling action and told how it would surely destroy his lower back in the future unless he changed his bowling action. Thank god these incredible talents were mostly left alone by their junior coaches. For that the cricketing world shall be ever grateful to them."

    We should not forget it is not only the attitude but his devastating spells against top order batsmen (Ponting, the favorite) which brought him fame.

  • Leggie on January 12, 2012, 21:42 GMT

    Surprise surprise... finally someone has noticed that Ishant cannot be an automatic choice. Yes, his record is bad, and it'll do a world of good if he stops playing IPL and focuses on improving his bowling. The article is spot on and Sanjay is right on the money. Ishant in his current form cannot be the future of Indian cricket!

  • rajwanii on January 12, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    well...as far as ishant is concerned...i think he is anodar overrated indian cricketer like ajit agarkar was wen he came in,like sehwag is,like kohli and raina are.... article is great,to the point and best part of it is its providing you with the technical problem and solution,and tells you how reckless dese indian bowlers are besides zaheer khan....

  • umm09 on January 12, 2012, 16:54 GMT

    Ishant is waste. We do not need express fast bowlers, Magrath, Kapil Dev and other bowlers were not express fast but they used to bowl good line and length, most importantly wicket taking balls. I feel India should look and bowlers like Praveen Kumar and Vinaykumar, they are not fast as others, but they are wicket taking bowlers.

  • on January 12, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    @ shashi 77 you can't handle the truth, typical indian mentality. rather then appreciating snjay's honesty and no nonsense approach you are belittling him, in fact you are only showing your ignorance. 4-0 coming mate, enjoy

  • on January 12, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    With all due respect to Sanjay , Ishant is one among the many India bowlers who is average, not sure why this extra push for him !!!! He is not taking wickets in bowling condition therefore an extra support may be ?

  • on January 12, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    Pointing at someone's mistake is always easy. Manjrekar just question urself first how much have u learnt from ur past mistakes. Check ur career what it was. I am not a fan of Ishant, learning curves vary from person to person and hope that Ishant will learn it one day. I strongly feel almost every sports person in this world feels responsible while playing for their country, one thing that they need is a proper guidance when they are going through bad patches.

  • on January 12, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    He is more worried about changing spellings in his name rather than working hard on his wrist and head positions..crap mentality he should go n work with Ekta kapoor in some serial he is more fit for that.

  • here2rock on January 12, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    Fast pitches mean it will prouces fast bowlers and good back foot players. Dead dusty tracks mean it will proudce slow bowlers only good in these conditions and death for fast bowlers. Batsman will struggle to make an adjustment from low bounce to high boucny pitches, the adjustment from high bounce to low bounce is a lot easier. Unless the BCCI with all the money in the world does some thing with pitches back home then India won't have a good all round side. It comes down to work ethics where bowlers are just required to take the shine off the ball for spinners it becomes too much of a task for them to bowl 20 overs in day.

  • DebashisCalcutta on January 12, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    Alas we have only one sanjay mangrekar !!!! we need to have more of these brutally honest commentators/analysts .. But we have a "legend" called Ravi Shastri .....

    No wonder in our nation Manjrekar or a certain Naseer Hussain will not be respected but a fake "Shastri" will have a huge fan following .... not unexpected from our nation... oh I am SO DARN tired of my fellow hypocrite countrymen ....

  • Punjin on January 12, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    I agree with you Sanjay. As a fast bowler- if you can not bowl- Yorkers at consistet levels, bouncers, rising deliveries to chest & Body, bowl wicket to wicket, swing , turn- U R NOT A PLAYER FIT TO BE IN ANY NATIONAL TEAM.

  • VickGower on January 12, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    @sashi77, if you actually read this article you will discover that in fact Manjrekar's diagnosis of Ishant is based on a conversation he had with Courtney Walsh and other fast bowlers! Second, by your measure your own viewpoints on cricket and Manjrekar are null and void since neither are you a big fish in cricket nor do you have much of a record in cricket journalism or commentary.. Third, I wonder why you come at all to cricinfo, because I guarantee you most if not all journalists/writers here are not better than the players they report or comment on.

  • jayamir on January 12, 2012, 2:10 GMT

    Manjrekar's articles are never written for the sake of it. He always has a point!! Well said sir! Very true! What happens to such bowlers is that they get knocked out when someone better shows up. If varun aaron was successful like umesh then ishant is done!! just like irfan was

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 12, 2012, 1:14 GMT

    @Shashi77, we are not here to dissect Sanjay's test record. Are we?

  • Naresh28 on January 12, 2012, 1:09 GMT

    Ex-West Indies pace bowlers are terrific at analyzing a bowlers fault. Why dont BCCI hire one to look into our bowlers problems.

  • Naresh28 on January 12, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    Great analysis of Ishant's short comings by Manjrekar and Walsh. Hope the bowling coach reads this and recommends changes to Ishant.

  • RoarofTiger on January 12, 2012, 0:59 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas.....totally agreed with you mate, you are few of the guys posting sense full comments ......I still am hopeful with Ishant....The Kid has heart......just needs correct guidance....

  • LeftBrain on January 12, 2012, 0:49 GMT

    Honest assessment of Ishant, Indian bowling, and mentality of Indian public in general....... and the comments from Indian public just confirm that when it comes to technical flaws, their twisted logic is up at the top as well!!! No wonder he is not "popular" in India, because he is honest and doesnt worship fake gods!

  • vik56in on January 11, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    Sanjay Manjrekar is brutally honest , brave and unafraid to speak the truth!I wish Harsha Bhogle learns something from him,since he is always politically correct.

  • on January 11, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    Wow.. great piece...! to the point, frank as always... Liked it.

  • VickGower on January 11, 2012, 22:09 GMT

    Here is another admirer of Manjrekar. To me, the best pundit of them all. There are one or two others who try to be as honest as possible, but Manjrekar is a complete package. He speaks as he sees it, and what he sees and speaks always strikes a chord with me. I have to confess I did not expect he would be as good as he has turned out. It is not simply that Manjrekar is not afraid to criticize (Ganguly isn't afraid to criticize either), it is that his criticisms (unlike Ganguly's) are measured and thoughtful. One gets the feeling that Manjrekar is trying to *apply* his brain to the cause, rather than just mouth off. With Ganguly I always get the impression that he has an axe to grind, that his criticisms are slanted by his prejudices. I really, really hope he becomes more of a permanent fixture in the commentary box.

  • nyc_missile on January 11, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    Any cricketer or a sportsman evolves by improving and working at his game gradually.As someone pointed out,he and Steyn came together on the scene & well,the gulf is gigantic enough..Also I remember one time when Ishant ignored a legendary fast bowler's advice that he should fill in and gain a bit more weight to avoid the head falling over or something of that sort and our Mr.know-it-all said that he is fit enough blah blah..the arrogance of some of our players is not just disgusting but utterly annoying, I gnaw my teeth in anger when I see this type of attitude when legends like Dravid & Sachin maintain the work ethic diligently..Ishant reminds me of an animal that runs without using its head on the African Serengeti plains..starts with Z,I know cricinfo wont publish if I complete it ;)

  • Shashi77 on January 11, 2012, 21:33 GMT

    Lets dissect Manjrekar's test record...someone who is always obsessed with technique in 37 test matches scored 2043 at an average of 37.14.If i discounted that pakistan tour where he scored 569 runs with highest individual score of 218 on a placid dead wicket of lahore n one inning in zimbabwe where he scored century his average drops to 25.37. Played 5 test matches on aus 1991-92 tour scored 197 runs at an average of 21.88. According to me he played only one quality inning at barbados in 37 test matches. Ironically this record is very much similar to Ishant sharma but...so what now i can dissect or sabotage any players record bcos it's my prerogative as an commentator n expert..gud going sir!

  • on January 11, 2012, 20:49 GMT

    And many thought ishant is as good as steyn!!

  • on January 11, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    gud article givin out the technical pts,but one pt surprised me stating that he doesnt get pace when balling full,but i suppose the delievery wherein he clocked 152 kmph was a full delievery

  • on January 11, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    @fanonfire only in your dream Ishant bowl as fast as Sami. The latter guy is a consistent +145kmh bowlers. While I dont have to say much about the former...

  • on January 11, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    I respect Manjrekar, for his let-truth-be-told stance. I know he has not got much following in India, simply because Indians likes to read what they wish to be read. A well articulated and stat-backed article, loved it!

  • TRAM on January 11, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    @Ravi Darira, you asked "Manjrekar - what is your record, capability"... If Ravi Shastri & Gavaskar can comment about fielding, especially diving stops on the boundary line, why not Manjrekar about fast bowling? And what about Harsha Bogle? He should not talk cricket at all, right? The unfortunate truth is that a critic/commentator do not need to be an expert himself ! There is no college that offers a 'Degree in Cricket commentary'.

  • uncanny_nanny on January 11, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    Young Indian players,these days are plagued by the fact that they are unwilling to improve,take their game to the next level.Ishant for example is still the same bowler he was 5 years ago.Compare him to the likes of a young dravid,kumble or ganguly, the difference is quite evident.Call it arrogance or plain stupidity, though i feel eric simmons has to take some me the blame

  • uncanny_nanny on January 11, 2012, 17:37 GMT

    Young Indian players,these days are plagued by the fact that they are unwilling to improve,take their game to the next level.Ishant for example is still the same bowler he was 5 years ago.Compare him to the likes of a young dravid,kumble or ganguly, the difference is quite evident.Call it arrogance or plain stupidity, though i feel eric simmons has to take some me the blame

  • on January 11, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    @Ravi Darira - yours is a weak strawman argument, but let me use it on you. What is your record, capability that you are allowed to comment about Sanjay Manjrekar's commenting on Ishant Sharma, VVS Laxman, etc? See that was easy - at least Manjrekar has 2000+ test runs including a double century...

  • TRAM on January 11, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    Possible causes: 1. No one stops Ishant from talking to senior / legend bowlers of other countries... May be language or shyness or ego problem. 2. Indian bowling coaches themselves may be unfit for their job. Either the coach doesn't know much or he is not willing to teach or not capable of teaching well. But does BCCI officials have the capacity to evaluate coaches?

  • on January 11, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    Sanjay, there is a flaw in logic when you say we are intolerant of batsmen with batting average under 35. We are intolerant because we have a great lineup of batsmen. Ishant is in the team because there is simply no one who is better.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 11, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    @Ravi Darira, if Ravi Darira and Dravid_Gravitas can comment on Dravid and Sachin respectively, Sanjay can sure comment on any player. Let us know how Sanjay is wrong or right rather than questioning whether he should be commenting or not. Through this article, Sanjay did a great service to Indian Cricket by giving inputs about technical problems rather than lurking into the murky waters of drop him or select him. Sanjay did exactly what we expect him to do - give inputs about technical issues rather than selection issues. I hope he one day comes out with a piece on Dhoni's horrible captaincy and leaves it at that. Of course, it will be a bonus if he asks Dhoni to be dropped from Tests. But this particular piece is a master stroke from Sanjay - doing his part responsibly as a former Indian Cricketer in bringing forward the role of technical issues behind meagre returns. Can't agree more with Sanjay.

  • Empty-Sequence on January 11, 2012, 15:11 GMT

    Eric Simmons should have been replaced when Kristen left the team. This is destroying the limited fast bowling talent that we have. Even Prasad was better coach than him. Totally agree with Dinker Rkn- He is india's Troy Cooley.

  • on January 11, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    The problem is in the way he has been coached. If u look at his bowling till 2009[not just the spell in Perth],but throughout the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India,he bowled on wickets with no assistance for pace at all,still he managed to rip off beauties..& thus was fittingly given the Man of the Series award. I think Eric Simmons is kind of making all new young talents as mediocre,he wants to make them swing bowlers,& not every1 has the capability to be one.For me,Ishant is a bowler who should be in the league of Morne Morkel,not in the league of McGrath. It's high time we replace Eric with some1 who has played International Cricket as a pacer successfully.

  • on January 11, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Good article and it reminds me a lot of Mohammad Sami. When he first burst onto the scene he had great success early on and was heralded as the next big thing after Wasim, Waqar and Shoaib. He was quick (probably quicker than Ishant). During Pak's miserable last tour of Australia he even helped bowl out the aussies cheaply in Sydney and I remember Ian Chappell commenting about his record (which is actually worse than Ishant) that it doesn't compute for a guy who can bowl in 140s consistently to have an average above 40. I think what Sanjay is describing here would have applied to Sami as well. I'm not really comparing the two since they are different types of bowlers but the fact that watching them play you would think they are pretty good bowlers but their stats don't add up. At least Ishant is still young and has time to get better so hopefully he can do something at Perth. Best of luck to indian fans.

  • AidanFX on January 11, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    Totally overated ... Even Wasim Akram said so.

  • on January 11, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    Manjrekar - what is your record, capability that you are allowed to comment about Ishant Sharma, VVS Laxman, etc?

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 11, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    Excellent observations Sanjay. Glad you realised and touched this point, though a bit late. So, when will you realise and make everybody understand that it's Dhoni but not VVS who needs to go from the Indian Test Team? Or is it just impossible or too nerve wracking to talk the obvious against Dhoni? I don't get the attitude of all you writers except Monga who came up with a piece against Dhoni's horrible captaincy. I will wait for a piece from you Sanjay on Dhoni. You generally make good comments and yes you were also brave in calling out Sachin in the past. Sachin improved and came out is a different matter. You called a spade a spade. Likewise, a guy like you should have realised by now that it's Dhoni who is the one responsible for our team's downturn and not VVS or the other two oldies.

  • indianpunter on January 11, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    thats such a superb point and so well elucidated, sanjay. wonder what our bowling coach is doing? Ishant has played as many tets as Dale Steyn ! where is Steyn, where is Ishant?

  • ether0505 on January 11, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    While the analysis by Sanjay is largely correct, what he should also touch on is the overkill of cricket. When you look at exciting new fast bowlers in cricket today, whether it is Cummins or Pattinson from Australia or Finn from England or De Lange from SA, all of them have their boards behind them, rationing their exposure and nurturing them to become great fast bowlers. Where is the time in India? BCCI is pushing the players into playing some or the other match every week. A bowler needs time (months at a stretch) to work on their defects, and refine/improve their actions. But of-course, in India, making money through IPL and worthless one-dayers is more important to BCCI and the media. Have you ever heard of great fast bowlers coming out of a cricket setup which plays predominantly T20 & 1-dayers? I do not see any solution to this problem till BCCI (& dare I say, the palyers) change their attitude radically. IPL is killing Indian cricket.

  • fudgys11 on January 11, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    The basic problem of this team is Dhoni. When you know that your fast bowler is not producing edges, what is the point of keeping 3 slips and deep fielders on the leg side. You have to make the Batsmen try difficult things at the risk of giving some runs but creating chances atleast. Make Ishant sharma bowl to his strength of off-middle line and try to take wickets. He is trying to bowl outside off and going too wide mostly. What he needs to do is pack off-side, mid -on and make the batsmen play across his pads. Keep fine-leg short which encourages batsmen to either try fine glance or hit across the line.

  • on January 11, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    bowling coach ?? first India should prepare fast bouncy pitches.. then experience teaches you everything.. International bowlers don't need a bowling coach.. they should get some inspiration from pitches..

  • on January 11, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Sanjay why India is bearing Ishant too long Mr.Srikanth please look on Deepak Chahar from Rajasthan who could be the finest bowler if he gets proper advise from legends.Let Ishant go out and correct his mistake and come back instead of crying on the field..and Dhoni is not aggressive in test cricket it is all about testing others skill...test them please we are waiting a fight back in WACA to shut all Aussie media's including Haddin Radio..

  • on January 11, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    well this article symbolizes Indian cricket..when all other test playing countries are unearthing quality quicks/seamers we are still fretting over a bowler whose average is over 36(yes u read it right)based on what he did to Ricky Ponting at Perth four years back...India need to appoint a proper bowling coach(not eric simmos he is india's Troy Cooley will be removed only after disasters),a couple of OK quicks (like Umesh and Aron) and the ones like Ishant to either bowl well consistently or fade off..

  • riproar on January 11, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    that was a very good observation by sanjay. Wonder if Eric Simmons agrees with it?

  • TheOnlyEmperor on January 11, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Even when technical defficiencies in the bowling action is brought out by other bowlers far more skilled, nobody seems concerned to address them on priority. If a batsman gets repeatedly bowled, he doesn't get too many chances to correct his mistake. Why then should a bowler be allowed to commit the same mistakes over several years? It's the Indian attitude towards achieiving excellence in sports that must change!

  • podichetty on January 11, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    Then for what ERIC SIMONS being paid for ?

  • KricketWicket on January 11, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    Ishant is not unlucky. It is just that Ishant is not smart enough. He is akin to a tube light that keeps on flicking, giving the impression that it is just about to spring to full light, but never does. What we need is a bulb, swith on and bling!!!

  • Vilander on January 11, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    Sreesanth.

  • on January 11, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    Player Span Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 5 10 Irfan pathan has performed better than Ishant sharma in overseas I Sharma 2007-2012 27 46 5396 3180 80 6/55 10/108 39.75 3.53 67.4 2 1 IK Pathan 2003-2008 15 28 3242 1867 73 7/59 12/126 25.57 3.45 44.4 7 2 Pathan took 73 wickets in 15 matches at avg of 25.57 and strike rate 44.4 Ishant took 80 wickets in 27 matches at avg of 39.75 and strike rate 67.4

    Ishant has bad avg and strike rate compared to Irfan path in away matches. Bring back Irfan Pathan

  • vineetkarthi on January 11, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    What India desperately needs is a bowler-Captain, someone like Kapil Dev who can inspire and guide his bowlers on the right lines and lengths to bowl. One of the striking and frustrating aspects of Ishant's bowling is the low number of balls he makes a batsman play per over - effectively sacrificing a lot of energy and letting batsmen become comfortable at the crease. Contrast with all the truly great bowlers (Akram, Pollock, etc) who were at the batsmen all the time, asking questions, as they say.

  • on January 11, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    Then what does our bowling coach analyzing and what kind of input given to him. If thats the case, why Walsh isn't approached for bowling coach position?

  • on January 11, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    nothing but an overrated bowler.. tell me one spell of his other than the much-spoken spell against ricky ponting... he does not pick wickets even in the ipl..

  • ansram on January 11, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    Ideally you need at least one sub 25 bowler to be a team that can take 20 wickets consistantly. If you have two such bowlers, you are likely to win many matches. In these day of batting dominance (2011 an exception). you need at least one sub 27-28 bowler. Only Zaheer has come anywhere close and has been particularly impressive in the last four years at about 25-26. At this rate, Ishant would not get into any top bowling team, except perhaps Bangladesh, Zimbabwe or SL.

  • MasterClass on January 11, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    Sanjay, going by your own words (...Such bowlers, who are ready to do the hard yards for the team, are a boon to a captain. But there are bowlers of another kind that a captain would much prefer: bowlers who take wickets.) you're suggesting that a Sreesanth is preferable to an Ishant.....ummmm I think NOT! LOL!

  • rkannancrown on January 11, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    Sanjay manjrekar has failed to highlight a third issue - Ishant is doing what his captain wants. Dhoni's style is defensive & Ishant bowls defensively. He rarely has Dhoni telling him to go all out with 4-5 close in fielders. The number of edges going where there is no fielder is generally been evident in both England & Australia.

  • MasterClass on January 11, 2012, 7:07 GMT

    People, please read the article about Siddle who had the same predicament (and figures) as Ishant (hard working but no wickets) until he found his perfect length (a bit fuller) and has been the REVELATION of this series! Folks will look at Hilfy or Pattinson, but in my book it has been Siddle who has been the difference! Had he not skittled Dravid (of a NB) and Tendulkar on the 2nd day of the 1st test, it's very very likely that India would have gone on to win that match. It was the TURNING POINT of the entire series so far (both actually and mentally). And that's what Ishant is capable of becoming once he finds that perfect length. Although, I also hope he keeps his back-of-length in-dipping or straightening delivery as well since that is simply unplayable! At 23 he has plenty of time to grow and improve, and India would be extremely FOOLISH to discard him.

  • cric_san on January 11, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    I completely agree with Sanjay, and also I would like to re iterate in other terms which I observed Ishanth's bowling while playing against AUS during 1st and second test. 1. He does not bowl consistent line. 2. He does not swing either new ball or old ball much. My advice to Ishanth's bowling is 1. If he wants to bowl Yorkers then I have one suggestion is to try and see the base of all three stumps at the time of delivering ball. Believe me this allows you bowl pin point Yorkers. I know this technique when I used to play cricket and I did the same and by doing so I bowled lot of batsmen. 2. My second advise for him to try to bowl slower once a lot especially in tests. These slower once fool batsmen. As a fan of Indian cricket, I want to see our bowlers take lots of wickets, hence a perfect match for our batsmen.

  • on January 11, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    Brilliant analysis Sanjay! What Ishant is lacking is no rocket-science. He is not pitching enough to induce edges, lbws and bold outs. Why he was not doing so was understandable for me because he has been taken apart by the batsmen in the last couple of years and has been quite expensive. So he is bowling defensive lines which doesn't makes you a front-line bowler. If you see the current success of the Aussies young gones along with Siddle, their bowling coach is asking them only one thing - Pitch it Fuller! When McGraw retired, a reporter asked him the secret of his success and he said it is really simple - Always try to hit the top of off-stump. Now this is brilliance in this sentence. This length will make it good length just a touch fuller hence not drivable.

    Ishant might become expensive again but he has to focus on taking wickets first not leaking runs. Zaheer is not going to be there for ever!

    A Cricket Fan from Pakistan!

  • nikrik on January 11, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    If a man with a sword is attacked by a snake and a dog at the same time ,he would surely have one go at the dog (possibility of 95 % success)and take evasive action from the snake.If he is attacked by two snakes in tandem ,the possibility of success against one snake in one go is only 20% and by the time he has a second go at the snake the other snake would have bitten him. Yes this was indeed true during the last tours to S Africa in 2007 & 2010 and also to england in 2007 when India had two good seamers w ho could swing the new ball & old ball both ways at good pace and the captains let them to be aggressive.Without one the success of the other is limited as exposed in England in 2011 and now in Australia.The batsmen in all these tours normally scored around 300 runs and the opposing teams even less.BCCI and the selectors did not care to keep them free from injury and focussed for the tours of Engl/Aust 2011 and the results show

  • on January 11, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    There is nothing new.... i wonder how it took so long for a commentator to notice this??? It comes without saying that an average of 36 after 40 matches is nothing to boast about. However when analysing Indian fast bowlers we need to take in to account the number of matches played in India and abroad. Indian pitches can kill a fast bowler.

    In Ishant's case he is neither getting wickets in India nor in favorable conditions like England/Australia. We need a good coach for Ishant, because he has the height, stamina and the pace

  • on January 11, 2012, 6:24 GMT

    "When I looked at Ishant's bowling record, it took me by surprise" seriously ? us cricket fans have been aware he has been a consistent failure.Surely you could have used statsguru to realise he is a mediocre bowler. His Strike rates in Aus ,Eng ,SA & NZ are 113,94,79, & 71 respectively.

  • inswing on January 11, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    Right on. On the previous Aus tour, Sharma was extolled for troubling Ponting, but his average on that tour was something like 75. People still talk about it like it was something earth shattering. On this tour, he is averaging the same, around 75. I think the reason behind this is that there is such a lack of fast bowling talent in India, that people get excited over _any_ little achievement. Beat someone a couple of times, bowl one ball at 145 kmph, that's all it takes. People get childishly excited that their bowler as able to do that. But Sharma's actual performance puts him in Madan Lal and Ghavri category, below 'mediocre'. It is time to stop praising him without reason, give someone else a chance. India may not have any great bowlers, but they could well have someone who could average 30-32.

  • crikbuff on January 11, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    Wonderful observations by Sanjay. But what have the bowling coaches been doing all these years? Ishant has worked with Venkatesh Prasad, Wasim Akram, among others. Have none of them made any suggestions and worked on Ishant's bowling action, line&length, etc. The bowling coaches must be accountable!

  • on January 11, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    Reminds me of Mohd. Sami (although ishant isn't quite that "unlucky" yet).

  • deepak_sholapurkar on January 11, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    In 2001 series I believe Javagal Srinath was treated like an unlucky bowler. With lot's of misses and great looking delieveries but he was not getting wickets. and every one was commenting that how unlucky Srinath is.

    "Allen Border" commented on that, "if a Bowler is Pitching little short then he looks unlucky. His delieveries can look devastating, and can beat the batsman. But they will not fetch wickets." By pitching short ball will not swing and gives the Batsman extra time(It may swing after passing Batsman and create a good looking delievery but not the wicket taking"

    I believe this is case for Ishant Sharma

  • Cool_Jeeves on January 11, 2012, 5:53 GMT

    Every word is intelligently written. Hopefully this article will be noticed by those who matter.

    I feel Morne Morkel is exactly the same type of bowler.

  • Rahul_78 on January 11, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    Brilliant article from Sanjay! One of the very few recent articles which has been so direct to the point, accurate and frank in assessment as well as finishes of with useful suggestions to the young bowler. Sanjay is undoubtedly one of the best from cricketing fraternity when it comes to cricket writing.

  • on January 11, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    Mr. Manjrekar, being an experienced commentator, it would be nice, in the future, if you look at peoples record before going on and on about them on air. The fact that you titled this article as "The Truth about Ishant" reflects that this is some sort of revelation. Well, this may be a revelation for you, however if you look at his career graph, at no point in his career, has Ishant ever averaged under 30. He has not shot out sides in any conditions, whether home or away. Even Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad, who were not rated as the best test bowlers way back in 1996 when even you were in the team bowled consistently better than he has at any time in his career. In tests you need bowlers who can bowl consistent line and length (whether pace or spin) and not bowl on both sides of the wicket, and give a 4 ball every over. Just like batting requires patience and planning, so does bowling require the same and tests, and sadly limited overs cricket has ruined that aspect of our cricket also.

  • mowgliworld on January 11, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    Hello, Some stats. Clearly, India never had a strike bowler with good strike rates. Srinath and Kapil had good averages which means they pegged away economically to get wickets... Dale Steyn is KING!

    Mat Inns Wkts Ave Econ SR 27 50 87 37.59 3.62 62.2 Sreesanth 43 75 131 36.8 3.4 64.8 Ishant 81 147 283 31.54 3.28 57.6 Zaheer 67 121 236 30.49 2.85 64 Srinath 131 227 434 29.64 2.78 63.9 Kapil 76 150 310 30.81 3.46 53.3 Lee 51 95 263 23.07 3.45 40 STEYN

  • Paddle_Sweep on January 11, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    You have hit the nail on its head. We need players who can perform today rather than those 'evergreen promising' players.

  • Aubm on January 11, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    The rhetorical question you ask "Would India be tolerant of a batsman who averaged around 35 after 43 Tests?" is a rather humerous one, because that is almost exactly Yuvraj Singh's stats (34.8 after 37 tests), yet he still seems to get recalled all the time.

  • akshay_Yusuf on January 11, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    Helo manje : one point u missed and its a very important point.It sthe Captaincy and field placement by Dhoni.For a bowler like ishant u need to have slip wider 3 rd slip is mandatory .But he fails to do it often, so the dges goes by and dhoni is the guy who spoiled his line by asking him to bowl leg side with leg slip on.But aside dhoni's captaincy ishant must not bowl too short and wider.But its the responsibility of captain to use the talent to a greater extent .Ishant is not unlucky, he was made to be an unlucky bowler by his captain

  • OkyaBokya on January 11, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    Spot on. Last para sums up all. He just keeps on bowling short length. That too is wayward. He bowls many deliveries down the log side. He is almost as tall as Pattinson if not built. Why can t he bowl consistently on the lengths where patts is bowling. Why o why...Just played and miss wont count...its wicket column will. Morne Morkel is suffering the same way as Ishant.

  • sharath099 on January 11, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    Good observations. Ishant's fortunes reminds me of Javagal Srinath! In his first 5 yrs of intl cricket - Srinath was also hugely rated but had an ave of 36+ in tests. It was only in latter half of his career that he bowled fuller lengths n got more wickets and finished with an ave of around 30. Lets hope Ishant can make a similar turn-around.

  • Sheela on January 11, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    Really heartening to read from a critic about techncal aspects of bowling. This gladdens the heart of cricket lovers. Similar analysis about other aspects like fielding, taking interest of the team etc. would be wonderful.

  • on January 11, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    Ishant should basically bowl the three fourth's length and not the full or shorter delivery to get wickets. These were the deliveries which troubled Ponting down under last time and will do so with other right-handers , the ball nagging in.He has a tendency to bowl short when the pitch offers bounce and with his wrist position it comes at juicy pace for the Batsmen who are used to playing on the back foot. With his height the three fourth deliveries will come right into the grey corridor of the Batsmen and will fetch up more wickets. Indians missed the Bus when they kept bowling short to Ponting in the first test until which time, he was struggling to find form.

  • rohan024 on January 11, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    Sanjay Manjrekar deserves a round of applause for coming up with an interesting and insightful article on Ishant Sharma. While most writers spend hours and days eulogizing Sachins and Dravids of India, here is an article talking about a genuine issue with a hard working fast bowler..Hope, Ishant's technical issues get addressed..

  • Cricophilia on January 11, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    I couldn't agree more with this article. Ishants sideways head movement was even more obvious when he had long hair. He still manages to get the speed though but because he is not hitting the seam enough, the ball isn't moving as much as it should. That is something the Aussies are good at. The pitch at WACA is going to be a real opportunity for Ishant to shine. But that being said, these technical snags in his bowling action need to be resolved, and the best way to do it is what CA did to both Peter Siddle and Hilfenhaus, and look at the results! There has to be a threat to a bowlers position in the team or else we could be looking at another Harbhajan, who took his position for granted and did not evolve as a bowler. But the toughest question of them all, why does the BCCI take so long in finding replacements?

  • on January 11, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    Well, to me is a mentally fragile bowler. He looks defeated when things are not going his way. It is not luck that should define wickets but skill and will! He showed a lot of promise early on in his career but now he seems to be like Sehwag (not exactly like him but half way there) in terms of thinking he is there to stay khushy always. He bowled okay in Melbourne while Zaheer and Yadav bowled great. Zaheer in fact was unlucky in the 1st innings in Melbourne. But come Sydney, both Ishant and Yadav faltered badly and that cost us. He also should have opened with Zaheer. Maybe it was Dhoni's dumb idea of bouncing them which led to their bowling look bad! Anyway, Manj is right in saying, 43 test old player should be already playing with a lot of skill. He showed utter defeat on his face in Sydney. And when he got a wicket, he still wasnt pumped up! Wonder what is wrong with Praveen Kumar. I think India need him badly to pair up with Zaheer.

  • HatsforBats on January 11, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    If his technical flaws are so obvious why aren't the coaching staff fixing them? He's a bit like Flintoff in that he doesn't get as many wickets as he should, he beats the bat a lot but it's usually back of a length, he really does need to just pitch it up. Also, he may have played 43 test matches but he's still just 23; India should stick with him and help him improve.

  • Jerseyite on January 11, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    I have noticed this a long, long time back. Ishant Sharma has not been able to get the ball back into the right hander at all, something which he effortlessly and prodigiously was able to do four years ago, nowhere as prominent as in Perth, the venue of the next test match.

    The reason this started with Ishant, was that he started listening to all kinds of idiots and taking in wrong advice. He started to try and get the outswinger going which was never his stock taking delivery. Given the prodigious amount of inswing and cut that Ishant was able to achieve, he never needed the outswinger. He could bowl the ball that straightened and that was a deadly delivery as a certain Ricky Ponting found out on that day in Perth four years ago. Obviously crappy tournaments like IPL which weren't there at the time of India's last tour to Australia, and which are there now, have done terrible amount of disservice to Ishant Sharma's bowling. I predict Ishant Sharma to bow of test match cricket soon

  • NaniIndCri on January 11, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    That is a good observation and I too see Ishanth is not at all consistent in a over. Especially in test cricket, bowler needs to work out a batsman over a spell and one can do it only by being consistent in line and length which Ishanth is not good at

  • Percy_Fender on January 11, 2012, 4:17 GMT

    Useful observations indeed.But I thought we had a bowling coach by the name Eric Simmons. I am surprised that he has not been able to sort out the aforementioned problems of Ishant. I think Simmons has to go. He is a better general coach than a bowling specific one.

  • satchander on January 11, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    As Sanjay himself pointed out the technical deficiencies such as "wrist not being positioned correctly" and "head falling aside" are well known issues with Ishant. Unlike Zaheer, he really cannot bowl outswingers at will. He himself had said in one interview that he never knows if the ball he is going to bowl will be an inswinger (or) outswinger - i think this statement is enough to show Ishant's incapability as a fast bowler. The only positive aspect about his bowling is that he is one of the few indian pace bowlers who can cross 140 kph consistently - otherwise he probably would have been sidelined a long time ago. Honestly, the bench strength is not looking good enough for Ishant to be dropped. With Praveen/Varun missing due to injuries and Vinay/Mithun hardly putting in any good performances in the tour games, Ishant will continue to be the first choice pace bowler for India.

  • Jerseyite on January 11, 2012, 4:10 GMT

    This is a superb column. Sanjay Manjrekar is really rising slowly with his superb analysis, commentary and excellent writing.

  • LillianThomson on January 11, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    Ishant might still take wickets at Perth. Ishant's Great Illusion against Ponting last time was at Perth, as was Mitch Johnson's destruction of England last year. Tall and quick but technically flawed bowlers can capitalise on the extra bounce there. But at the end of the day, I disagree with Manjrekar's equation of a bowling average of 37 with a batting average of 35. Only in India. Ishant's bowling average of 37 equates to a batsman overseas with an average of around 25. He just isn't anywhere close to Test class.

  • Sir_Harry_Flashman on January 11, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    Great analysis. Ishant's career has several parallels to Stuart Broad's. Both positioned as a potential bowling unit leaders, both given time to mature and develop and both facing issues to address to achieve 'world class' status. The difference is that Broad's early deficiencies, namely an appetite for short pitch bowling that didn't yield wickets seems to have been solved. I think Broad now realises that he can be a top line and length bowler with a good occasional short ball, rather than an enforcer with little in the way of consistent line and length. Yet, Ishant's need for consistency hasn't yet been overcome leading to the 'unlucky' tag that Manjrekar mentions. Perhaps competition is the difference? Broad is surrounded by many contenders for his position; Sharma is an automatic pick. It's difficult to solve as a crop of fast bowling talent to challenge Sharma isn't there, but the issue must be addressed if we're ever to talk of him in the same breath of other quick Indian greats.

  • RandyOZ on January 11, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    Good analysis by Sanjay. Glad to see someone is taking note.

  • SouthPaw on January 11, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    Wow Sanjay, this is easily your best piece! Fantastic objectivity and clear analysis. Congrats and keep it up!

  • baskar_guha on January 11, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    Finally, Mr. Manjrekar is talking about bowlers. About time. It is my view that the young batting guns of India need "air cover" by way of strike bowlers. That is why Australia and England can introduce new batsmen (Warner, Marsh, Cowan, Morgan) and have them "grow and adapt" without being noticed and India can't because of the paucity of strike bowlers.

  • fanonfire on January 11, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    he always remind me of sami pakistani bowler. both bowls almost at the same speed, both work very hard but cant take wickets. it is sad to see

  • Natx on January 11, 2012, 3:23 GMT

    For the first time on cricinfo, some useful comments and advise from Manjrekar than simply criticizing or offering insights to selectors and captain on who needs to be in the team and who is not. This is way better in folks understanding their limitations and improve. Hope Ishant learn a point or two from listening to the folks like Walsh. It is even better to request Wasim Akram to spend few hours on nets, who is in Australia and always has been a good mentor to fast bowlers. But listening to the greats is one thing and what is being implemented on the field is the other. I was listening to Wasim's comments the other day and he was pointing out these mistakes clearly. Hope these guys pay attention to the seniors and learn a point or two. Even trying to keep it simple like zaheer is effective by bowling a good line and length instead of bowling 150+ kph. If he quickly make these corrections, he stands a chance to repeat his Perth magic again.

  • akshay1994 on January 11, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    Thanks a ton. My thoughts exactly, I'm sick of hearing commentators say "he was unlucky not to pick up a few more wickets". You can't be unlucky for so long. Good article, completely to the truth.

  • Venkatb on January 11, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    Having watched bowlers like Hall and Griffith and several notables since then, I have sporadically watched cricket as I live in the US. I did have the opportunity to watch Ishant Sharma and what bothers me, besides the statistics, is his delivery stride - as he approaches the crease, his eyes are not at or towards the batsman, rather he is trying to get his last ounce of energy to bowl fast - he needs to focus on length and accuracy, essentially become a stock bowler than a pace bowler that he is not. And yes, a world class bowler has a lifetime average below 23 - no Indian bowler has ever come anywhere close!

  • on January 11, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    Although I don't particually enjoy watching or following Indian cricket, I agree that Sharma does bring a lot of determination and optimism that India so desperatly needs.

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  • on January 11, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    Although I don't particually enjoy watching or following Indian cricket, I agree that Sharma does bring a lot of determination and optimism that India so desperatly needs.

  • Venkatb on January 11, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    Having watched bowlers like Hall and Griffith and several notables since then, I have sporadically watched cricket as I live in the US. I did have the opportunity to watch Ishant Sharma and what bothers me, besides the statistics, is his delivery stride - as he approaches the crease, his eyes are not at or towards the batsman, rather he is trying to get his last ounce of energy to bowl fast - he needs to focus on length and accuracy, essentially become a stock bowler than a pace bowler that he is not. And yes, a world class bowler has a lifetime average below 23 - no Indian bowler has ever come anywhere close!

  • akshay1994 on January 11, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    Thanks a ton. My thoughts exactly, I'm sick of hearing commentators say "he was unlucky not to pick up a few more wickets". You can't be unlucky for so long. Good article, completely to the truth.

  • Natx on January 11, 2012, 3:23 GMT

    For the first time on cricinfo, some useful comments and advise from Manjrekar than simply criticizing or offering insights to selectors and captain on who needs to be in the team and who is not. This is way better in folks understanding their limitations and improve. Hope Ishant learn a point or two from listening to the folks like Walsh. It is even better to request Wasim Akram to spend few hours on nets, who is in Australia and always has been a good mentor to fast bowlers. But listening to the greats is one thing and what is being implemented on the field is the other. I was listening to Wasim's comments the other day and he was pointing out these mistakes clearly. Hope these guys pay attention to the seniors and learn a point or two. Even trying to keep it simple like zaheer is effective by bowling a good line and length instead of bowling 150+ kph. If he quickly make these corrections, he stands a chance to repeat his Perth magic again.

  • fanonfire on January 11, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    he always remind me of sami pakistani bowler. both bowls almost at the same speed, both work very hard but cant take wickets. it is sad to see

  • baskar_guha on January 11, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    Finally, Mr. Manjrekar is talking about bowlers. About time. It is my view that the young batting guns of India need "air cover" by way of strike bowlers. That is why Australia and England can introduce new batsmen (Warner, Marsh, Cowan, Morgan) and have them "grow and adapt" without being noticed and India can't because of the paucity of strike bowlers.

  • SouthPaw on January 11, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    Wow Sanjay, this is easily your best piece! Fantastic objectivity and clear analysis. Congrats and keep it up!

  • RandyOZ on January 11, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    Good analysis by Sanjay. Glad to see someone is taking note.

  • Sir_Harry_Flashman on January 11, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    Great analysis. Ishant's career has several parallels to Stuart Broad's. Both positioned as a potential bowling unit leaders, both given time to mature and develop and both facing issues to address to achieve 'world class' status. The difference is that Broad's early deficiencies, namely an appetite for short pitch bowling that didn't yield wickets seems to have been solved. I think Broad now realises that he can be a top line and length bowler with a good occasional short ball, rather than an enforcer with little in the way of consistent line and length. Yet, Ishant's need for consistency hasn't yet been overcome leading to the 'unlucky' tag that Manjrekar mentions. Perhaps competition is the difference? Broad is surrounded by many contenders for his position; Sharma is an automatic pick. It's difficult to solve as a crop of fast bowling talent to challenge Sharma isn't there, but the issue must be addressed if we're ever to talk of him in the same breath of other quick Indian greats.

  • LillianThomson on January 11, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    Ishant might still take wickets at Perth. Ishant's Great Illusion against Ponting last time was at Perth, as was Mitch Johnson's destruction of England last year. Tall and quick but technically flawed bowlers can capitalise on the extra bounce there. But at the end of the day, I disagree with Manjrekar's equation of a bowling average of 37 with a batting average of 35. Only in India. Ishant's bowling average of 37 equates to a batsman overseas with an average of around 25. He just isn't anywhere close to Test class.