New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Auckland, 2nd day

An old issue with Ishant

Despite taking his first five-wicket haul since July 2011, after a stretch of 19 Tests, Ishant Sharma did not bowl with the skill and confidence of someone who is playing his 54th match

Abhishek Purohit in Auckland

February 7, 2014

Comments: 116 | Text size: A | A
We should have faced the new ball better - Vijay


Ishant Sharma took wickets but was expensive, New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Auckland, 2nd day, February 7, 2014
Ishant Sharma took wickets but his performance was far from impressive © Getty Images
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Ishant Sharma has 155 Test wickets. Kapil Dev, Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath are the only Indian fast bowlers ahead of him. Ishant is only 25 and will probably overtake Srinath, perhaps even Zaheer, form and fitness permitting. One day, Ishant might be India's second most successful fast bowler.

At the moment, Ishant's average of 38.18 is the worst among specialist bowlers who have taken at least 150 Test wickets. His 6 for 134 at Eden Park was his first haul of five or more since July 2011. It was his fourth five-for in 54 Tests.

On the second morning in Auckland, Ishant bowled a nine-over spell. The New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum appreciated the tireless effort, and said that just when they thought India were going to make a bowling change, Ishant would come back and give his cap to the umpire. McCullum did not mention that New Zealand scored 60 runs in those nine overs.

Ishant neither contained, nor was he especially threatening. The wicket of Corey Anderson was a gift from umpire Steve Davis. That spell, along with poor bowling from Zaheer Khan, helped New Zealand gallop away when they should have been tested under overcast skies with a new ball that was only ten overs old.

Bowling with a 7-2 offside field, Ishant strayed on Anderson's pads in the fourth over of the day, and was picked for four easy runs. In his next over, he bowled short balls at 131 and 127 kph. Anderson swatted both for fours. Ishant then bowled short and wide to McCullum and was taken for two more boundaries.

India had overdone the short ball on day one and had been punished for it. Ishant, however, said they had bowled in the "right areas". He kept repeating the short stuff this morning. Even Tim Southee hooked him for a couple of sixes.

Ishant's colleagues were probably worse. Zaheer certainly was. But a fast bowler playing his 54th Test should be able to pick up the slack when the senior seamer is having a disappointing match, and not continue to pitch short when it is clear that approach didn't work a day ago and isn't working again. After so many years, it is fair to have that much expectation from Ishant.

MS Dhoni had said before the start of this Test that Ishant's role as the third seamer was to contain when the ball stopped swinging. It is probably only a captain such as Dhoni who places such a premium on restricting the run-rate, who could be satisfied with a containing role from a bowler who has played since 2007. It is not to say that there is no need for such a role. Most captain would like having someone who is willing to charge in for long spells. But Ishant could not contain New Zealand, although he did begin well with the wickets of Hamish Rutherford and Ross Taylor.

The fact remains that he ended the innings with six wickets. How much can be read into those figures? Can India hope for a different Ishant in the future, one who can finally lead an attack? It is a hope that has been repeatedly dashed by Ishant, and Dhoni has remained content with a workhorse. That routine is unlikely to change, in which case Ishant's performance today might end up clouding the bigger picture. For on the day he took six wickets, Ishant also played a major part in allowing New Zealand to sprint ahead.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (February 10, 2014, 2:49 GMT)

Awesome comment by Abhi Kashyap. Ishant sharma and Curtly Ambrose....!!! but how unfortunate that it is a real possibility.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2014, 5:25 GMT)

the problem with the indian bowling attack is that they have lack of pace with the line.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2014, 3:03 GMT)

Zaheer is done. This is his swan song. The writer points out an interesting fact - Ishant leaked too many runs. One wonders if his 6 wickets were worth all that. Dhoni will continue playing Ishant and other seamers will lose the opportunity to wear the Indian colour. If bhagwan Dhoni is on your side, your place in the team is secure.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 23:18 GMT)

Neither a NZ or India supporter, this is what I see: bowler bowling slow bouncers & getting pasted needs to change what he is bowling. His captain set fields for different bowling - either tell the captain your plan is to bounce them out and have 3 fielders on the boundary to catch the mis-hit, or when that doesn't work, bowl the way your captain askes you. Captain: go with what your bowler thinks will work for a short time, when it doesn't work, tell him to do what you think will work. If he can't or the plan doesn't, then change bowlers. Selectors, if the bowler won't follow the captain's plan, find a better bowler. If the captain has no plans, give someone else the captaincy. Dhoni used be a good captain, now he seems a bit like the English captains, waiting for the other side to slip. Australians and Saffers semm to go for the win, leave the draw for when things get dire. They still lose, but go down with heads held high.

Posted by jb633 on (February 7, 2014, 23:12 GMT)

I think the stick Ishant gets is slighly harsh. I can understand why Indian fans get angry with him, but lets be honest, any fast bowler who had to bowl on the Indian pitches as their home would have a poor average. Only very few fast bowlers emerge from there with any average to right home about. I must confess I can see potential in him and he could be a good work horse. What I think he and India need to do is send him abroad to play a season in a domestic league. Not a T2O tournament but he needs a season in county cricket. Only by this means will he learn which lengths are required on pitches that actually assist the quick bowlers.

Posted by Nampally on (February 7, 2014, 21:32 GMT)

Ishant Sharma was the best of the 4 Bowlers India had in the XI.So I will not join the Fans bashing Ishant. Instead I will say well done Ishant- 6 wkts.is a great tally! I only wish India had one more specialist bowler like Pandey or Yadev + India had taken Williamson's catch to save 88 runs. Dhawan failed to get under McCullum's lofted shot. Jadeja, Rohit, Rahane or kohli would have made that catch. So India lost another 200 runs there. So missed chances hurt India badly. Dhoni needs to understand that NZ is not a 500 run side by any means. His XI selection has been flawed in SA Test series & now in NZ series. India needs a change in Captaincy. Go with Rohit Sharma as the new captain. Dhawan is failing consistently. Try Ashwin instead to open -his footwork & defence are good. He also provides a much needed 5th bowler, albeit spinner.It is amazing NZ had the confidence of bowling with 5 man cordon in slips @ <135 KPH & still got India down to 10 for 3 Via Bad batting than Good bowling

Posted by cricpov on (February 7, 2014, 21:21 GMT)

"We bowled in the right areas" - We never used to hear these terms earlier from any past Indian greats. Today, India bowlers have no skills and they talk about bowling in the right areas! Right areas are those that force a batsman to play and make mistakes by keeping them guessing as to the line, length, pace, movement and variation. When bowlers have none of these skills, they talk about bowling in the right areas. What are the right areas anyways as if it is some secret location that you have to search to find. Damn it, it is anyways just a 2 ft by 2ft square. All bowlers would know that this is the only area where you have to bowl. Move this area a little to the off, to the leg, toward batsman or toward bowler depending on amount of swing in air, off the wicket and the pace and bounce. At test level you should always be hitting these spots all the time else you should quit.

Posted by satchander on (February 7, 2014, 21:16 GMT)

I feel ashamed to be an Indian supporter when the whole world is asking why are you not able to give chances to other players in your country when the current lot is not doing well. I have to tell them than Dhoni is a stubborn captain who says "we have invested a lot into current players - so whether they perform or not we will keep faith in them until they decide to retire" !!! When Ishwar Pandey bowled better in the 2 day warm up, he was not picked up and when your strike bowler Zaheer is clearly not the bowler he was 5 years back, he again gets picked repeatedly - then we all know that no one in the current indian cricket administration cares about india winning matches. They have enough money to earn even if India loses abroad for next 10 years !!!

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 21:10 GMT)

We keep talking about poor bowling standards from a nation of billion who cannot produce decent bowlers while other countries with significantly less population can. My take is that it does not matter how many people a nation has, it matter how the society is providing a platform for individuals to develop and flourish. The opportunity for Indians to develop at the grass root level is non-existent. We need to encourage & support at the local level -such as schools, colleges, local community teams. Develop sports centers that are affordable to a larger population. We cannot wait for the government to build us everything. Where are the philanthropists?

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 20:59 GMT)

Ishant has played54 tests. In SA there are probably 4-5 bowlers who will never play more than one or two tests for SA who would do better at test level (even if they had to play home matches in India). Just shows you how cruel life can be if you are born in the wrong time and place.

Thus I propose a draft similar to the NFL. a country may draft a maximum of two players from another country. Our second string fast bowlers can play for India and you send us one or two decent spinners. Good for world cricket since matches will be more competitive.

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (February 7, 2014, 20:14 GMT)

Indian fan reactions to Ishant doing well are pretty funny to read.

Broad and Morkel are very similar types of bowlers to Ishant and if India stopped trying to turn him into a swing bowler he might get it together, and Ishant is still a very young fast bowler. Throwing him away now would be an absolute waste, but hey, might as well have 3 swing bowlers bowling at 120-130 kph. That'll surely bamboozle the opposition. In my humble opinion ZAK would be the first bowler out of the team. I really don't get why he's in it in the first place. An old man with a career average of 32.66 who is only going to get worse. Quality choice, that.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 19:38 GMT)

The problem is not with Ishant conceding runs but the manner in which he conceded those runs. If 30-40 runs came off edges/dropped catches ,you should cut him slack as it was inept fielding/bad luck. BUT if you continue to bowl short pitch stuff when you dont have the pace and not bowl to your field, it shows an utter lack of respect for the captain . Bowlers and the captain agree on the field placing.. If he wanted to bang it in short ,then plan the field accordingly. To me, it is not a question of ability but lack of discipline - the all to predictable Indian way of doing things..

Posted by IAS2009 on (February 7, 2014, 19:36 GMT)

when your strike bowlers is hitting 125-130 Kph top speed you will always struggle in test match to take 20 wickets, bowling bouncers at that speed is cardinal sin, in the past Harbajan and Kumble have bailed India out, but with this attack this was expected, i am not sure why everyone is so surprised, for Ishant this has been going on for 54 matches no surprise there. Look at the effort NZ bowlers putting, Indian bowlers were not even close. One could have best batsmen in team but to win test match you need 20 wickets, it will hard on outside India. You need genuine quick bowlers with good radar for accuracy, they will not be developed in India on dust bowl pitches. complain all you want this is reality. A placid wickets looks unplayable now, only bowlers are changed. India had better bowling conditions than NZ.

Posted by inswing on (February 7, 2014, 19:33 GMT)

It's funny how opposition captains love Ishant. On the Aus tour where India lost 0-4, Ponting spoke highly of Ishant. Now McCullum loves him too. They say positive things about Ishant with hops that he will continue to be in the team. Which opposition wouldn't love a bowler who would average over 50 overseas, do a lot of bowling, and rarely take wickets?

Posted by wiiCricket on (February 7, 2014, 19:15 GMT)

The only luxury Indian captain has is their batting lineup. That luxury makes him being okay with a mediocre bowling unit and bowlers too. Just imagine this being case with Pakistani captain who can't have that luxury hence the bowlers always deliver for them. If Dhoni had to deal with average batting unit then he would have had pressed on for a bowling performance worth praising. But his luxury is making him lazy and therefore will cost the Indian team in long run.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 18:50 GMT)

a bouncer hurled at 120kph with a lot of room outside off is begging to be hit, what's the point? this guy is pathetic and now this six wicket haul is going to retain him for another 1 year, 50 plus tests for a meagre 150 wickets with an all time worst career average shows what kind of a rubbish class it has got.Series after series he is being picked, agony to the fans.

Posted by Andy_D on (February 7, 2014, 18:48 GMT)

I believe Ishant Sharma definitely has to revamp his bowling. Team India should drop him so that he can get some time off and work on to improve his confidence. The way he is constantly leaking the run overshadow the wicket he picks.

Posted by DipsoManiac on (February 7, 2014, 18:45 GMT)

I agree that Ishant is not the best bowler in the world but to get the best out of him, you require a thinkingcaptain. I blame Dhoni much more for Ishant's deteriorating performance. Dhoni sets these defensive fields and asks test bowlers to restrict run rate when he should be setting aggressive fields to get wickets. He shows no confidence in his bowlers and is trashing them in press at any given opportunity.Dhoni for me,is the worst tactician I'veever seen.Even after being round for so long and losing so many test matches due to his pathetic tactics,he persists with them.Bowlers like Ishant and Bhajji need lot of confidence from captains and Dhoni has successfully ruined their careers.Even when we have won series at home,his tactics have been questionable(Eg.The two tests series against Australia , Laxman won us and home series against SA which we could have easily lost).He squandered dominating positions on last SA tour and England tour.It's hard watching test cricket because of him

Posted by binojpeter on (February 7, 2014, 18:38 GMT)

If Ishant should get accolades for his 6-wicket haul to bowl out New Zealand for 503 then Shakib Al Hasan should also get accolades for his 5-wicket haul to dismiss Srilanka for 587.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 18:34 GMT)

Rest assured, Ishant has confirmed his spot in the XI till 2015 and we have no option but to see him smashed to the cleaners in more matches in the future... Some people are criticizing Zaheer - totally agreeable; Zaheer being the veteran ought to have given a better account of himself, but the fact is that he is far from his peak and we'll probably see the back of him at the end of all these overseas tours; but Ishant is supposed to lead the pace attack in the future; well i can only say "God save India"... Shami deserves a long rope because he has made some contributions in whatever chances he's got! Now guys all that is pointless; Ishant will lead India's pace attack come WC 2015 and India will get eliminated in the group stage; still MSD will be the captain and Ishant will be the 'STRIKE bowler'!!! LOL

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 18:30 GMT)

I was a die hard fan of indian cricket since 1990, my high school days. I used to make any opportunity to watch india playing. Till last Word cup and a few matches further, I used to make a note of team india's schedule and subscribe the TV channel in which the matches were telecasted. Now I'm least bothered about the schedule and resuts. Not even subscribed Sony6, which hods the TV rights for this tour. BCCI wants only money and no real effort to improve the standard of the game. In India, they prepare flat batting tracks with no real contest between bat and ball (getting bored to see only boundaries & sixes and some wickets only through luck). In the sporty or challenging tracks abroad, Team India fails time and again without even offering a Fight. MS Dhony's Anytime Defensive attitude during fielding does not make any inspiration. Team india needs sombody to Analyse and act on the grey areas to stop this decline and to start performing better on challenging overseas conditions.

Posted by legspinner007 on (February 7, 2014, 18:15 GMT)

There are a few problems i see here, 1. India has never been able to find a decent pace trio... where are all those billions going?? neighboring Pakistan has none of the funding and all the pace they need... what gives?? Can we do a trade or something? 2. Ishant has never impressed since the days he used to get Ponting out... opposition coaches and batsmen have him figured out and he is not versatile enough to bowl variances to get better bowling figures... 3. He was better than the rest yesterday and i feel he should be given his due because that might give hims some encouragement for the rest of the series and do better... 4. Dhoni is just doing the best he can from the lot he has, we can keep mixing the players we have and still not be good enough in fast bowling tracks.. this is akin to our hockey team becoming non plussed the moment the Europeans introduced astro turf... These newer players need to be coached overseas on fast bowling tracks to get on par with the rest of the team.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 18:02 GMT)

I was there to witness the game. India were completely outplayed and they were spraying the ball all over the place. Twice in one innings, the new ball was wasted despite a 7-2 field. Exasperatedly the Indian supporters looked on as Ishant and Co strayed on to the pads, or tried to intimidate the batsman with their 120km/hr bouncers. It was a thoughtless performance, not worthy of a captain's faith, who had 3 slips and a gully all waiting for fuller, driving length deliveries like the one that got rid of Taylor. But Shami and Ishant had other ideas. To read Ishant's defiant claim about bowling in the right areas was particularly frustrating; sounded like he lived in some other parallel universe. It's a shame that we spend so much time and money on this man!

Posted by Chncricfan_2k0 on (February 7, 2014, 17:33 GMT)

We should appreciate Ishant for his 6 wickets instead of degrading his performance..Both Zak and Shami really struggling in this match and giving boundaries every over they bowled..Why is there Jadeja in the test team, Umesh Yadav should have been picked ahead of him, with his pace and tight stump to stump line in this seaming NZ conditions, he would be really difficult to play..Still im hoping India can turn things around with Rohit and Rahane putting a big partnership..why they cannot do..come on boys..!

Posted by binojpeter on (February 7, 2014, 17:30 GMT)

@GRVJPR I don't know which country you support. But if you are happy with a bowling unit that concedes 500 runs in a test, that means that you are okay with a mediocre bowling unit. Bangladesh bowling unit can do the same. What is so special about India with No:2 ranking? I as an Indian fan personally feel ashamed.

Posted by m_ilind on (February 7, 2014, 17:13 GMT)

A six wicket haul is great by his standards, but it was still a mediocre performance, after the side had conceded 500 runs. If Dhoni continues to run the team with his beaurocratic ways, India will continue to slide downwards. Same mentality as is shown by the way BCCI is run by Srinivasan.

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 7, 2014, 17:06 GMT)

BCCI will move world cup permanently to india , so india can win world cup every other times. If india continue to lose in overseas then BCCI will cancel overseas tours and claim it can make more money in playing in india. When cricket become business than cricket? I think BCCI people are greedy. They got billions but they can't find two real fast bowlers. Kinda pathetic.

Posted by GRVJPR on (February 7, 2014, 16:35 GMT)

@ binojpeter "I don't think getting six wicket haul when opposition team has crossed 500 mark is worth complimenting", I completely disagree with you. Only if Zaheer or Ishant had got 4 wickets for 132 New Zealand would have got out for 264, so don't underestimate the effort of bowler who never gets to ball with the new ball. It's easy to criticise him and I can tell you there is no one in India who can give even this performance. Also New Zealand bowlers will struggle to get next 16 Indian wickets.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 16:32 GMT)

Poor Ishant! He gets criticized even when he has taken 6 wickets! The author should have focussed on Zaheer Khan and what value he has been bringing to the team anymore. It's time for him to retire from tests and play only in ODIs.

Jadeja should be dropped for the next test. Ashwin is a better bowler and batsman.

Posted by GRVJPR on (February 7, 2014, 16:27 GMT)

An old issue with Indian Cricket analysts, Indian cricket authors and commentators - "Jumping the Gun". To hide everyone's else bad showing they will target Ishant and Raina (even though he is not in test matches). This is typical Indian mentality. Impatience, Lack of Respect for fellow country men, and being jealous of those who work hard to make to Indian team is a quality of Indian cricket analysts and authors (including those who comment here).

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 16:26 GMT)

Nit-Picking! Nit-Picking!! No magnanimity or sense of justice on our part. When a normally lusy player played bettrer than his mates an d produced 6 wickets, accept that first. Give him some credit when it is due. If pillorying him gives you some pleasure, pl do it, after giving him due credit. Though I am not a fan of Ishant, I think we have to be fair.

Posted by Speng on (February 7, 2014, 16:24 GMT)

I think the problem is India don't expect much of their quicks. If a bowler with Ishant's experience can claim that the team is bowling in the right areas but is going for 4+ an over and the opposition scores 500+ then he doesn't understand test bowling. I think maybe he's confusing Tests for ODIs where the bowlers can give up 300 and still reasonably expect the batsmen to win the game... From what I've seen Shami is the most dangerous of the Indian bowlers both with the new and old ball. I haven't seen enough of Zak since his return but at his age they will have to manage his workload so Ishant should be bowling quick and moving it off the seam with his height but in general he is a dobbler who gets the odd lucky wicket. To be honest though India don't have quicks (other than Shami) who've shown much as these stats show http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?bowling_pacespin=1;class=1;filter=advanced;orderby=wickets;spanmax1=07+Feb+2014;spanmin1=07+Feb+2013;spanval1

Posted by GRVJPR on (February 7, 2014, 16:22 GMT)

It's OK to criticise someone because he is in center of it. So tell me any other fast bowler in India who looks threatning. And believe me even if we replace Ishant with someone else the comments won't change. As Indians we will go after the new guy and make things difficult for him as well. It is a miracle how Virat Kohli is able to come through all this madness. People, x-cricketers, commenters here all tried hard to redicule him. Ishant is trying whole heartedly, just needs a better captain who can hand him the new ball and attacking fields.

Posted by Collegefastbowler on (February 7, 2014, 16:08 GMT)

Neither Zaheer not Ishant bowled particularly well. Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav would have been far better choices. Pandey is also waiting in the wings. Why the selectors persist with old tired workhorses when there are better and younger bowlers available defies all logic. With this kind of selection we will need a miracle to win anything overseas.

Posted by binojpeter on (February 7, 2014, 16:01 GMT)

I don't think getting six wicket haul when opposition team has crossed 500 mark is worth complimenting. Getting a six wicket haul when opposition has been bowled out for say 250 score is worth complimenting. But it is a testimony of bowling standards of not only Ishant but those who also bowled along with him. Additionally most of his wickets were either superlative efforts of fielders or gift by umpires. I have never felt confident about his bowling in Tests. But I guess he will be in Test team for a while now.

Posted by symsun on (February 7, 2014, 16:01 GMT)

If Kohli and Dhoni fail in the next WC, then it would be repeat of 2007 WC in West Indies. BCCI may force ICC, to change next WC structure so that all teams will play each other atleast once like IPL or may move the WC from AUS to any subcontinent (if not INDIA) promising more income.

Posted by gauravm5 on (February 7, 2014, 16:00 GMT)

N Srinivasan is the main reason why India has been performing very poorly outside subcontinent. He allowed Dhoni to do what he thinks is right. No one can even raise any question on Dhoni's strategies, Mohinder Amarnath raised and BCCI throw him out.

Posted by gauravm5 on (February 7, 2014, 15:56 GMT)

What could you do with a team whose captain never accepted that he picked the wrong playing 11 despite having 9 defeats from 10 tests played outside subcontinent? What could you do with a bowler who thinks that he has been bowling superbly despite getting only 19 wickets from his last 11 tests? Nothing, leave it to GOD. God plz save Indian cricket.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 15:51 GMT)

Ishant Sharma is one of the Indian cricket's favorite child. The kind of support and favoritism that Ishant has got is unmatched through the history of any cricketing nation (actually Rohit Sharma may not be too far behind!). When Ishant debuted in 2007, everyone thought he can be India's new age McGrath (obviously the tall lanky figure helping Ishant's image) and that the talent should be nurtured. But as there is a famous saying: "Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There's plenty of movement, but you never know if it's going to be forward, backwards, or sideways"! 7 years have passed since his debut and after numerous attempts Ishant is still all over the place, doesn't look like a 54-test old! In this ongoing test, it's just an accident that he got a 5-wicket haul. He never looked like getting a wicket and not to forget his economy which is just a shade below 4 per over (for a test match) in good bowling conditions. I hope this man finds his "brain"!!

Posted by rajarajan99 on (February 7, 2014, 15:51 GMT)

@murthydn16, to some extent Sehwag? He was a nightmare to every bowler who bowled at him for atleast 10 overs. He was more than a Genius, we should never forget his talents and his contribution to Indian team and its glory.

Posted by cricket_lover1 on (February 7, 2014, 15:40 GMT)

Bowlers are not bowling line and length according to conditions..Batsmen making same mistakes again and again playing the bows around chest height and giving catching practice to NZ slip fielders..They still haven't learnt to leave the ball..WHAT THE HELL IND COACH IS DOING THERE...can't he see these issues and do something to correct it...PLEASE DUNCAN DO SOMETHING OR LEAVE...SAME GOES FOR DHONI...why you are asking for Ishant again and again when he proved that he can't improve..PLEASE GIVE CHANCE TO YOUNG FAST BOWLERS..most imp..INDIA NEEDS A FAST BOWLING ALL ROUNDER..nobody is doing anything to find one..WHY WAS BINNY NOT CONSIDERED FOR TEST..

Posted by crick_wizard on (February 7, 2014, 15:38 GMT)

I was trying to think of the world class bowlers, both fast and spin, we have produced in the last 10-15 years..and only two names come to mind..zaheer khan and harbajan Singh..one of them has been dropped, the other fighting for dear life..how could we, being the richest and most powerful cricketing nation, get into such a situation? Spin is supposed to be our strength..where are the spinners?

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 15:32 GMT)

I begging you ishant please cut ur hair and look at the place ur bowling at the following through. Do some of the simple things it will credit u big rewards. I firmly believe he will be better with short hair. Just get rid of stupid centiments. Do the basic things.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 15:32 GMT)

I wonder how long we are going to persist with Ishant (no pace, does not look like taking wickets; he got lucky in this match, bleeds runs, has been disappointing for a long time) and Zaheer who is fading really fast. Even if we get out of this match (need a lot of luck), we should be looking at new faces. Are the selectors listening?

Posted by bhushanB on (February 7, 2014, 15:30 GMT)

34 overs 6 wickets and an economy rate of 3.98

The economy rate is due to NZ playing a bit too conservatively in the first session, when they lost few wickets..... these figures do not mean much, as the has bowled more than 2 loose balls every over... and was taken for 60 of last 9, with a new ball in helpful conditions.... If a tailender can hit you for a couple of sixes... that shows your talent.....

Bhuvi & Umesh, in place Zaheer & Ishant this match... Umesh would have done a similar feat to Ishant...if not better and Bhuvi would have done better than Zaheer....

Zaheer looks lean and fit.. but those innocous 125 Kmph with not much swing are not going to help.....

Posted by crick_wizard on (February 7, 2014, 15:29 GMT)

@sray23, I beg to differ..your point is right with most Indian players, but Ishant's case is the opposite..he is very hardworking, reasonably fit and gives everything..problem with him is he does not think..and learn..after playing so many games he still repeats the same mistakes and inspite of that he thinks he is bowling in the right areas..I think India badly need a good bowling coach..the bowlers seem confused where to bowl and with dhoti with his passive captancy style is not helping them either..

Posted by crick_wizard on (February 7, 2014, 15:29 GMT)

@sray23, I beg to differ..your point is right with most Indian players, but Ishant's case is the opposite..he is very hardworking, reasonably fit and gives everything..problem with him is he does not think..and learn..after playing so many games he still repeats the same mistakes and inspite of that he thinks he is bowling in the right areas..I think India badly need a good bowling coach..the bowlers seem confused where to bowl and with dhoti with his passive captancy style is not helping them either..

Posted by gauravm5 on (February 7, 2014, 15:23 GMT)

Although Ishant got 6 wickets but the way he bowled was more than pathetic, bowling short with no pace or swing thereby making it easy for Mc Cullum & Anderson to score runs freely & comfortably. After the 1st day play, Ishant made a statement:

"It is a big achievement for me to get 150 wickets in Tests. I think I have been bowling well. I was bowling well in the Tests in South Africa too and I don't think I have to worry about my rhythm. The way I am bowling at the moment, I am very happy".

He also said "Our intensity didn't drop throughout the day. We did not let their run-rate go high at any point. It was always under control. Even as the wicket got flat and the ball got old, we kept bowling in the right areas. When the wicket goes flat, you have to be patient and see how to create pressure".

He once proclaimed himself as India's bowling spearhead and now he is saying he bowled good in SA & now in NZ. These statement indicates Ishant is not even willing to learn.

Posted by murthydn16 on (February 7, 2014, 15:22 GMT)

Even perhaps Ishant wont understand why he is playing matches for India. It is even more astonishing that dhoni is opting him in each and every match. Even if selectors had chosen a bowler from a gully cricket and given him the number of chances that has been given to talented ishant, the gully cricketer would have been a better bowler. Its really very very irritating to see ishant and aswhin bowling. India in this match is playing with no bowler at all is shami being off color. Dhawan just like talented rohit (though he has performed here) does not perform well abroad. People should now understand the value Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Ganguly, Kumble and to an extent Sehwag brought to the team. India should not participate in the world cup to avoid any humiliation and the tours of Eng and Aus should also be called off. If Dhoni is not flexible, it makes sense to drop him also and make Kohli as captain and even if India loses, we can see some fresh faces who would be interested.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 15:21 GMT)

I think he bowled in good areas, got rewards. Specially 1st special. There were times he bowled better than this and went wicket less. And as many mentioned here, I'm not supporter of him either.

Posted by bhushanB on (February 7, 2014, 15:16 GMT)

Thanks Abhishek..... stats can only tell half the story.....

Ishant's mediocre bowling at 125Ks was never threatening... or containing..

Posted by malepas on (February 7, 2014, 15:14 GMT)

Some of our Indian friends are correct when they called on the work ethics of the Indian Team, the issue with team is too much reward and "Cosy-ship" amongst the group of players who cos they get on well with each other, don't have any challenges to be worried about,, if you look at the Ashant for example, since he delivered "that" spell to Ponting in Aus, the next thing happened to him that he was rewarded with a million dollar in IPl and since then he is not the bowler who would have improved over the years, as he don't have to worry about money, his place in the team, so little is enough formula, which MSD is slapping on with the team actually hurting Indian Team, I think with his captaincy, MSD has gone over his shelf life and needs to be changed with Kohli, keep MS for ODI's and t20. Zaheer's speed was 125kmp, even clubs have speedier bowlers then him, he shouldn't be playing Int cricket anymore.

Posted by myStraightTalk on (February 7, 2014, 14:58 GMT)

After a long time i see a bold and good article. The fact clearly shows Ishant is not a good bowler. Dhoni and Selector had wasted other talented bowler by sticking with Ishant. I'm not sure when they are going to try other talents.

Posted by Asadpk on (February 7, 2014, 14:55 GMT)

Not playing Bhuvi Kumar may be a mistake, there's no better swing bowler in India than Bhuvi and no better conditions for swing in the world than in NZ

Posted by niazbhi on (February 7, 2014, 14:38 GMT)

Zaheer used to have a great bouncer ( and yorker as well). If he has lost it, one of the Kumars or Pathan is a better swing bowler. Shami should be continued. Ishant is safe for now. I am not a big fan of him.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 14:31 GMT)

The fact that Ishant has become India's lead bowler shows the weakness of Indian bowling

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 14:31 GMT)

34 overs 6 wickets and an economy rate of 3.98 - These don't seem bad considering the fact that NewZealand scored 503 runs. I am not a big fan of Isahnt but give hin the credit when he does well. Don't pick on him.

Posted by sray23 on (February 7, 2014, 14:30 GMT)

Don't think of Ishant as a problem itself. Ishant is merely a SYMPTOM of the overall problem - which is that Indian fast bowlers (and probably most cricketers) are very gifted but lack the hard slogging work ethic to play at the top level for long. It is a problem in our setup that lazy talent is preferred to limited talent but someone who works hard. And this lazy work ethic just gets more exposed in fast bowling because it is the most physically demanding aspect of cricket. The last 2 bolwers who trained equally hard are Kumble and Kapil Dev. RP Singh & Sreesanth were much more gifted than Ishant, but were too lazy so kept breaking down every 5 matches (Zaheer is the same) - that's why someone like an Ishant gets a free ride. The solution? Prepare hard, fast pitches for Ranji at ALL TIMES so fast bowlers actually bend their backs at 100% of t

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 14:26 GMT)

I agree with this analysis. Ishant may be a workhorse in Dhoni's view but when a team plays four bowlers it is the job of all of them to pick wickets. Based on performance in SA and here in good conditions, Zaheer is finished as a bowler. Ishant can bowl long spells but cannot contain and not as fast as he was a few years ago. Isn't it time to give Umesh, Aaron and Bhuvaneshwar a good run and see how they do. Two of these are genuinely quick and Bhuvi bowls a good line for test cricket. Also, they should play Ojha who appears to be a more complete test bowler, especially in conditions that do not favor spinners. He never had a run outside India and it is time to select him for the next tour and see how he does outside India.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 14:22 GMT)

The only problem with Ishant is that he does not want to improve his bowling. We have heard so many commentators,who have been excellent fast bowlers talk about it, but he has not even tried to do the "seam upright" postion where by he could become lethal but he is 'not concerned" , keeps saying "I am bowling well" . I wonder if any one of our players pay heed to the recordings of the past Test matches they have played and tried to improve or change their technique to adapt to the needs of the different formats of the game. One may argue that if he plays well why does he need to but it is always better to have a look at what others think, sometime you might miss, about the mistakes that one commits during the course of past matches.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 14:18 GMT)

The beauty of it is after coming up with all this tripe, Ishant has the nerve to come up with a few incredible quotes of late. Yesterday he claimed that they have bowled in the right areas and reined in the NZ scoring rate. A cursory look at the score card says that they scored at 3.5 an over which is very good run rate for test match. Some time back he proclaimed himself as the spearhead of Indian bowling. If I remember this was right after the Championship trophy victory where by sheer luck he managed to somehow claim 2 wickets that opened up the flood gates and England lost a match they should have won! Thsi Indian team has become a very comfortable place for bunch of folks - almost granted immunity by N.Srinivasan. it does not matter any more how we perform outside of the country as long as we come back and erase all that with a few victories in our own back yard on tailor made pitches. IPL also plays a part in distracting the public from the recent international performances.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 14:08 GMT)

Ishant is a generous bowler. Opposition teams adore him. Because he does not present a threat. Instead, he gives gifts on a regular basis to them. MSD continues to be very inflexible with choice of team members who take the field of play. I hate to say this, but I suppose its true - MSD is becoming bigger than the game. It is frustrating for fans and paying public because India continues to churn out below-par performances. Someone needs to put a stop to this rot. Unfortunately, I do not see this happening!

Posted by lee_man on (February 7, 2014, 14:01 GMT)

Ishant's problem seem to be the fact that he does not realize that he is no longer the mid 140'sk bowler that he used to be. He has lost all his pace, so now he needs to pitch the ball up a bit more.

Posted by cricexpt on (February 7, 2014, 13:52 GMT)

Zaheer should be allowed to bowl his natural line and lenght. becoz at this age he should not be bowling bouncers and wasting his energy becoz his pace is not great. Let him bowl his natural style by pitching it up or just short of a lenght then you can see good figures from zaheer maybe even a five for.

Well about Ishant the less said the better.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 13:51 GMT)

I think there's not a problem in bowlers or anything they need to change their support staff. Get someone who can be a good aggressive bowling coach. Probably a former fast bowler could who was a good death bowler would be good.

Bring someone like Collingwood, Hayden as a fielding coach for slip fielding training. Considering India tour against England and Australia this year and World Cup is also in Australia it could prove vital. India dropped catches of Williamson and McCullum who scored 100+ & 200+ but against Eng, Aus they would concede 300+ .. remember the last tour to Eng and Aus. Slip catches that too during early overs - match changing.

Rest 5-10 main fast bowlers for this year's IPL. Have special training sessions, give them endurance training like Zaheer had in France. Even if Shami, Ishant, Bhuvi, Umesh,.... don't play 1 season of IPL it would not do so much damage as it could revive their careers and India could finally have a fast-bowling unit who are actually fast, fit

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 13:49 GMT)

Ishant got 6 wickets , he now has the insurance to play another 50 tests if Dhoni remains the captain . Dhoni overlooks the fact that : By Picking Ishant who is unable to pitch the bowl up when conditions are helpful ( like Trent Boult, Wagner , Southey did ).Gives that much extra time for the best to play him .He just has one incoming delivery and does not swing with his flawed release ( wobbly seam).

Ishwar Pandey -did well in practice game and pick of the bowlers , Dhoni did was not even there to watch his bowling performance thus did not merit a place in XI .

Zaheer seemed below par in this match and bowled below 130 km which is hardly inspiring and did not seem fit enough to bowl at 130-135 which he is expected to . Umesh Yadav can swing the ball at around 145 kmph and bowl at this pace consistently but he is out Dhoni's radar . Dhoni and Jadeja if they disappoint with batting in tomorrow then they don't merit a place in tests. Dhoni for godsake hand over reigns to kohli

Posted by inswing on (February 7, 2014, 13:39 GMT)

India will likely lose this Test. But a far worse outcome than the loss is that because Ishant took 6 wickets, he won't be dropped for many more Tests. Ishwar Pandey, Bhuveneshwar Kumar, or Umesh Yadav can hardly be worse than Ishant, but they won't be picked.

Posted by TomDeSailor on (February 7, 2014, 13:32 GMT)

I dont agree with people saying that India doesnt have good options in place for ishant n zaheer.. ishanthas been a disappointment since forever.. zaheer is not what he was wen he was at his prime.. we hve ishwar pandey, umesh yadav & bhuvi.. im pretty sure that these three can bowl better than zaheer & ishant.. fooytnote: ishant will be in the team for another 6 years for todays performance, no matter his form or may be even fitness....

Posted by Leggie on (February 7, 2014, 13:31 GMT)

@Amitosh, I've been following this Ranji season closely and I can assure you that BCCI has already made all Ranji wickets as green tops!! However this has created newer problems for Indian cricket than solving anything!! The green/bouncier pitches have created ordinary bowlers who bowl at 125-130 look unplayable and these bowlers are left happy just bowling that pace. The wickets don't have spin as well, and this has ensured that a) there is hardly any role for spinners to play in the first innings. If at all they come into play to hold on end up. b) The recent crop of batsman seem to have forgotten the art of playing spin bowling.

Posted by gomsi20 on (February 7, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

I wish Amit Mishra or Ojha played instead of Jadeja. pretty sure NZ would not have reached 503. The only reason Jadeja is in the team is because he is good with the bat and field too. However, Dhoni has forgotten that test match is a bowler's game. He has to get good bowlers in the playing 11 and of course 5 of them. Lets see what the result of this test match is which will decide the playing 11 in the second test.

Posted by Leggie on (February 7, 2014, 13:19 GMT)

I didn't see the match live and am banking on what Cricinfo commentary/report says. As I read it, I see that the Indian short pitch bowling was ineffective, while the NZ short pitch stuff was more effective. This is quite understandable in that NZ plays the bouncing ball better and naturally - while for the Indian batsman it still doesn't come naturally. Nevertheless, I really do feel that Indian bowlers *MUST* test their opposition batsman with short pitch bowling. Indians may leak runs till the time they adapt to these conditions, but have no choice but to perfect this art in the long run. The intent must be surely to get the batsman hopping and fending a ball directed right at his throat. Ishant's pace is not bad for trying short pitched stuff, and the overall strategy may not be wrong after all. Indians must learn to give credit to where it is due, and in this particular case at least, I really do feel McCullum may have batted extremely well!

Posted by pratit on (February 7, 2014, 13:13 GMT)

To reiterate, India needs 5 bowlers( 4 bowlers and 1 allrounder) and Zaheer, Ishant need to be dropped permanently. India also needs to drop Dhoni ASAP. His keeping is nothing exceptional. His batting and strategies in test cricket is ordinary, to say the least. India needs an aggressive captain who will encourage fast bowlers to take wickets rather than someone whose preoccupation is with the run rate. These run saving strategies might work in ODIs but not in test cricket. In test cricket, the only criterion should be taking wickets. And with the new field restrictions in ODIs, Dhoni's strategy is failing in ODIs too. Dhoni had a good run but it is time for someone new to take over.

Posted by tanstell87 on (February 7, 2014, 13:11 GMT)

It wll be better if Dhoni picks Ishwar & Yadav in next game & play 4 fast bowlers - Khan & Ishant should not be picked... Yadav-Shami-Pandey & Bhuvneshwar should be the attack for next game...Its better not to go either of Jadeja or Ashwin overseas...

Posted by AFanOfGoodCricket on (February 7, 2014, 13:06 GMT)

For those who keep coming back to Ishant going for 30 runs in that Faulkner over need to realise Faulkner is no mug with the bat. Also we were playing in India on a flat wicket. Stuart Broad went for 36 runs in an over but is now the T20 captain for England and is a good player in both Tests and ODIs. I feel those who bring up the 30 run over in every game have not played sport at all. There are ups and downs in sport. Learn to live with it.

Posted by sony_sr on (February 7, 2014, 13:05 GMT)

Ishant sharma is turning out to be a major threat for indian cricket team. Someone have to step-in and clear him out of indian team. Otherwise we will see a similar article after his 100th test and even by that time he would not have improved an inch.

Posted by StarHawk on (February 7, 2014, 12:57 GMT)

I think India badly need a change of leadership. India need fresh ideas and new plans if they are to win overseas. First of all, Dhoni goes into a test match with just 4 bowlers. And, the role of the 3rd seamer & the lone spinner is to bowl tight and contain. Then, you are basically asking 2 bowlers to pick up 20 wickets?? All 4 bowlers should be attacking and going for wickets. There's no need to pull fielders back once they've scored 20 runs and have a 50 run partnership.

Anyways, at the end of the day, Ishant picked up 6 wickets and bowled reasonably well, at least on day 1. But the worrying factor is, Ishant is still in the team after 6 years on the basis of that Australian tour where he outfoxed Ricky Ponting. How long will he stay in the team without performing, now that he has picked up 6 wickets in an inning?

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 12:44 GMT)

We have umesh Pandey who has troubled the best with his pace he took 14 wickets in 4 tests when India was being clubbed by Australia and then won India the first match of the home series against England before becoming injured. After coming back from injury captain cool no longer finds his 145 k bowling with movement useful probably because he looks better letting 124 k dobblers from Zaheer loop into his gloves. Also Ishtar Pandey is a superb swing bowler.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 12:43 GMT)

@Joe Williams on (February 7, 2014, 11:51 GMT)

I agree with you, on every bit of what you said. It is a totally unfair article! Abhishek. You should have written an effective article highlighting the declined bowling powers of a more senior bowler like Zaheer; someone who should have been part of the support staff, than a player.

One has the strength, but poor execution /and thinking process. The other more experienced one has the skills & thinking capacity, but lost the power and strength in execution. And, much older; beyond the expiry date for a typical fast bowler. Whom would you expose as an unfit bowler in the playing XI.

Instead of a pat on the back for delivering something (with a bit of help from an umpire & superb catch from Jadeja), after a very long time; a kick on the back. Do justice

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 12:42 GMT)

It is high time, Dhoni resigns from test cricket. He is a huge liability with bat in overseas conditions and his team selection, the less said the better. I cant imagine he selecting a bowler like Zaheer and Ishant. We have become a laughing stock among cricketing nations. I wonder, are some of these sub standard players have some professional relationship with Dhoni outside the game.

Posted by AFanOfGoodCricket on (February 7, 2014, 12:22 GMT)

Spare the kid for a day atleast. Agreed he leaked runs but I thought he bowled a good line and looks fitter. He seems to be spending time to improve his game. I don't think India has too many options to replace him in the fast bowling department. The bigger problem is the lack of a wicket taking spinner. We have always struggled in the pace bowling department but we have been lucky with spinners. Jadeja and Ashwin are not wicket taking spinners. We need a spinner like Ojha who can bowl long spells and put pressure on the batsmen.

Posted by arvindsrin on (February 7, 2014, 12:21 GMT)

You cant get a mule to hunt like a tiger no matter how long you try. However both the Tiger and the mule have their uses. Ishant's stock delivery is restrictive and he is being made to bowl an unnatural line and length because of the type of field settings that Dhoni insists on maintaining. A 7-2 field setting for a primarily inswing bowler who bowls short of length results in Ishant bowling poor balls to try and bowl to his field. India needs a good 1st change bowler to maintain pressure and Ishant is certainly one as long as he bowls with restrive field settings ( and that does not mean giving easy singles away). In trying to discover strike bowlers make sure you pick the right man for the right job. Bhuvi looks very good in the ODI format as the white ball initially does a lot more. But remember a good test bowler needs to bowl 20 overs with good intensity and Bhuvi doesnt seem to be able to do that.

Posted by NirajPawar on (February 7, 2014, 12:14 GMT)

The NZ bowlers pose a threat to the indian batsmen every ball. they appear to be working to a plan to dismiss the indian batsmen. they test the indian batsmen through intelligent bowling, and sustain the pressure well. it is really disappointing that the indian bowlers, who bowl at a similar pace to the nz bowlers, and are more experienced in terms of no. of matches played, end up neither containing the nz batsmen or to at least bowl in the right areas so as to create opportunities for taking wickets. there is no consistency with the indian bowling, which is a result of under-preparation for this series.

Posted by sramesh_74 on (February 7, 2014, 12:12 GMT)

I do not understand the logic of taking players on tours and not giving them a chance. Stuart Binny got to bowl just 1 over when the other seamers and spinners were clubbed all over the parks of NZ. Now we see Pandey warming the benches while Zaheer rolls in and delivers at a scorching pace of 125K. Ishant and Dhawan continue to play. Dhoni himself has done nothing with the bat for several test series. More than anybody Dhoni needs a break to reassess his priorities. He is a destroyer in the shorter formats. He should probably stick to his strengths and hand over the reigns to Kohli.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 12:11 GMT)

dhoni backed raina jadeja ashwin ganguly backed yuvi bhajji pathan see the difference urself

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 12:09 GMT)

when dhoni himself has set this benchmark of not performing hw can he drop others...he has slowly undid all the good work of the great indian captain ganguly...congrats to dhoni now we r officially tigers at home again...

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 12:00 GMT)

Accept it guys, India does not have credible back ups to the likes of Ishant and Sammy today, even they had to bring back Zaheer and he will play for 2-3yrs if such scenarios persist. What can BCCI do as a short term measure? Drop all these bowlers and take Ranji's best pacers? They are already trying them for no results. Long term, they should start making green tops in Ranji, make it mandatory for Ranji teams to play 3 pacers each match. More come to the pacers pool means more options for India team. For spinners, mostly they are all rounders and only 1 specialist spinner plays, so no harm in reducing the options. After all, shamelessly, an Amit Mishra never plays for India even if he is in the squad.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 11:56 GMT)

Dhoni at least can show some positive intent by selecting Pandey who did well in practice match or Umesh Yadav who bowls at good pace asking for a bowling coach if he feels let down by bowlers instead of complaining in press conference and justifying his favourite but unsuccessful bowlers as one in a containing role .

Given his proximity to Srinivasan , he is powerful enough to ask for a bowling coach like Mcdermot , Akram , Donald instead of insipid Joe Dawes and Eric Simmons. It almost like current Indian set up likes dummy coaches who do not assert themselves . Coach cannot guarantee a win but can definitely help players to prepare well, address technical flaws and inculcate good work ethic like Kirsten did .

Posted by rajuramki on (February 7, 2014, 11:51 GMT)

Ishant cannot be the leader of even Delhi pace attack , leave alone the Indian pace attack . Ishant is lucky to have played 54 tests so for , with such mediocre abilities . With the kind of pace attack India have, even Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will score runs freely .We can safely expect Newzeland to trounce India 2-0 and even after such a beating Ishant will continue to be in the Indian team . God save Indian team .

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 11:51 GMT)

Way to pick on the lad who actually took some wickets!!! and with a better overall econ rate than all but one other bowler! Why not an extended article criticising Zaheer or Jadeja? He may have been poor, but he was less poor than others!

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 11:47 GMT)

Unless selection in XI is fair , it does not send a right message to the players in XI . Some would think they are indispensable coz they are close to Dhoni . Others who don't get a look in will always be under pressure to perform in 1 or 2 opportunities that they get .Besides it harms the spirit in the team. Imagine Amit Mishra has got just 1 chance in an ODI in SA in all the tours.At least if we try Yadav who did reasonably well on Australia tour and in India vs England before he got injured , there is some way forward. At least he bowls close to 145 kmph , he us a better bet .Dhoni not so rigid the time when Srinavasan was not at helm, Kirsten and Indian seniors were around . Now its almost like he wants to create a successful player out of one who continues to disappoint . I agree Ishant is not be blamed . But it would better for him in the long run to be dropped , work on his bowling and fitness and come back . We cannot afford to give so many chances .

Posted by SamRoy on (February 7, 2014, 11:43 GMT)

The guy(Ishant) along with Zaheer bowls rubbish match after match. Somebody has to take the wickets, right. Shami is not in form and should be dropped. But who will drop The Legendary Ishant Sharma and The Great Zaheer Khan?? Certainly not Dhoni and it seems like not the selectors also. Btw, Ashwin should open the batting along with Vijay as he is a better batsman than Dhawan when there is some seam movement and swing in the pitch. Also that way, we can play 5 bowlers. But before all that drop Ishant and Zaheer and if Dhoni disagrees with that please drop Dhoni as well as he is not contributing anything with the bat in SA, Aus and England.

Posted by cad76 on (February 7, 2014, 11:42 GMT)

Message from Dhoni to Selectors has been pretty clear in last 2-3 years... he won't drop senior-most batsman or senior-most bowler from playing 11. He never dropped any of the Big 3 during 8-0. On the same lines, he won't drop zaheer, ishant. If they are part of squad, they will be in playing 11. Its selector's duty to 'drop' a player from squad...not dhoni's!!!

Posted by Gerry_the_Merry on (February 7, 2014, 11:37 GMT)

Awesome comment by Abhi Kashyap. Ishant sharma and Curtly Ambrose....!!! but how unfortunate that it is a real possibility.

Posted by contrast_swing on (February 7, 2014, 11:29 GMT)

Keep him for enough time and make him play like 800 test matches and he may also break Murli's record. We have to admit that there are statistical fluctuations in performances in cricket -- Ajith Agarkar also won a match once upon a time and scored a century on another occasion.

So lets not make much of it. IN fact this article express the situation very well -- that it is clearly something that will be happen again for many many years.

Posted by gauravm5 on (February 7, 2014, 11:16 GMT)

Although Ishant took 6 wickets but the way he bowled was more than Pathetic. Even after playing 54 tests, he was given a role to contain the runs. How could Dhoni even think of giving such kind of role to Ishant who has a proven record of gifting runs to the opposition batsmen; Ishant Sharma used for containing runs - one of the biggest joke in the history of world cricket. He is a kind of bowler oppositions like to face. Selectors should try Ishwar Pandey or Umesh Yadav for the 2nd test.

Indian cricket runs on STATISTICS & DHONI's STUBBORNNESS; with this 6 wickets haul, Ishant has fixed his spot in the team for the next at least 5 tests. Ishant has always been Dhoni's favourite but wat about selectors, if selectors can drop sehwag, gambhir, zaheer & harbhajan then why they are persisting with Ishant. Drop Zaheer from test and try him in ODIs.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 11:15 GMT)

india need four fast bowlers and one spinner to play out of the country and they should keep those bowlers for atleast 10 tests before trying a new bowler . In regards to batsman India should send four batsman to play in Australian and South Africa domestic tournaments to gain how to play fast bowlers . They should be on salary basis to play for India next five years.

Posted by Rags57 on (February 7, 2014, 11:07 GMT)

Will Dhoni have the guts to drop him in the next test given that he did not deserve the six for figures? Even when he was not taking wickets Dhoni has chosen to persist with him so his place is perhaps assured for both this and the England series now. The only way I see a different performing Indian team is with a captaincy change now. I have been a fan of Dhoni and his cool captaincy for a long time but I am now convinced we need a change - Dhoni continues to keep doing the same thing and expects different results

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 11:06 GMT)

As can be seen from all accounts it may look nice to hear that a pace bowler at the age of 25 has already taken 154 wickets looks great on paper. But penetrating a bit more into the pacer's career - he has given away 38+ runs per wicket. ( the worst average for a test bowler who has taken over 150 test wickets)

Not too long back he gave away 36 runs in an ODI match. With all this how is that Dhoni (who is considered one of India's best test captains ) still keeps persisting with Ishant when there are already bowlers like Bhuvi, R.P.Singh, Umesh Yadav and others. Who with their proven performances are waiting in the wings to get into the indian side. They are all eager to get into the Indian side and prove their metal.

All I can say is at this rate India will start declining as a team and go down the West Indies way . It will get to the bottom of the barrel disappointing all the fans

Posted by Johnny_129 on (February 7, 2014, 11:05 GMT)

Unfortunately for India, Ishant's 6 wickets means he will retain his place in the side further. The fact that the wickets came after the horse had bolted means nothing to India. Dhoni will keep persisting with this highly over-rated bowler. INDIA DON'T DESERVE TO WIN. They are all home superstars incapable of performing outside of familiar environment. Making matters worse is that IPL rewards means playing for the country is just a means to an end!

Posted by SumitBhardwaj on (February 7, 2014, 11:04 GMT)

There has to be more than a cricketing reason for Dhoni to persist with Ishant. If it would have been a cricketing reason then we all would have been able to understand it. If none of the ex-cricketers are also unable to understand the reasons for continuing with this baggage then there has to be really something more than meets the eye.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 10:59 GMT)

What would have happened if he just had leaked runs as you all suggested, and Anderson's catch would have been dropped and not taken any wicket at all!? Would NZ be 700/3 at the end of Day 2? While someone doesn't have a problem India scoring 500 and with foreign bowlers looking toothless on Indian pitches even after a 5-test 7-ODI tour, everyone seems to have a problem with the bowler who at least did better than all others with Zaheer going at 4.4, Sir J at 4.6 and I bet Shami would be no better if McCullum had stayed! You put him down when he plays well, and then you beat him down to the ground when he doesn't. Cut the guy some slack! He's not a punching bag!

Posted by rmaganti on (February 7, 2014, 10:52 GMT)

I am sick and tired watching Ishant bowling. His bowling norm is 4 runs per over in Test cricket, 6 to 7 runs per over in ODI cricket and 8 plus per over in T20 cricket. As long franchises keep buying Ishant in IPL, he will not improve. What the franchises want is a bowler who bowls four overs, which any club level cricketer can do. My sincere advise to franchises, do not buy Ishant.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 10:41 GMT)

He gave away runs when McCullum and Anderson were batting. A well set batsman can take any bowler to the cleaners and he did, not one but all! The all economical Sir Jadeja was going at around 5 RPO. Agreed one expects more from a bowler playing his 54th test, but one needs to be mindful of the wickets, because if not him India could have conceded 600+ runs! Cut the guy some slack! He's not a punching bag!

Posted by IndianEagle on (February 7, 2014, 10:36 GMT)

bcci should drop dhoni from test matches, then everything will change at least.

Posted by kothinti on (February 7, 2014, 10:34 GMT)

the author seems to have something against Ishant. Not even once he has admitted that he saved the day for India. I agree that he bowled some short stuff and gave runs, but it doesn't matter if gets one wicket luckily, he got a 5-for. there are other factors that led NZ's huge score like dropped catches, missed run-out chances. Its unfair to just point fingers at Ishant.

Posted by KishorKumar25 on (February 7, 2014, 10:31 GMT)

Well said, Problem with Ishanth is he is too tall, some of the TV anchors have to stand on the chair to show how tall he is.

Posted by Jacobchikku on (February 7, 2014, 10:28 GMT)

Ishant will continue to play for India untill MSD is captaining the side...

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 10:22 GMT)

If someone has to bowl at 130-135 and not look threatning .. then at least give Bhuvi a proper go who could have swung the ball at least a bit more than Ishant (By no means I mean to say here that he did swing the ball even once).

As much as I like Ishant for his workhorse thing.. there is no doubt that he has lost a lotof zip in his bowling in the last couple of years.. and if taking 2-3 wickets a match can keep you in the team for 6 years than sorry to say it's fair for the likes of RP Singh, A Mithun and Parvinder Awana to feel dejected.

They are brought in T-20's with a lot of hype.. are thwarted around and than they go into the wilderness and players like ishant are persisted with.

Ridiculous is not even the word that can best describe it.

Posted by Abhi_Kashyap on (February 7, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

It would be a disgrace if Ishanth plays 140-150 tests.. and end up overtaking the likes of Ambrose, Pollack, Waqar, Wasim etc... Such a shame.. Surely there are fast bowlers in Indian domestic yard who can atleast bowl wicket to wicket if not take fivers..

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 10:18 GMT)

I think the decision to bowl first has boomaranged. After allowing New Zealand to wriggle out, the Indians committed Harakiri while batting. I will not be surprised if New Zealand wins this test by an innings and something in 3 days.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 10:17 GMT)

India with Ishant in their ranks is like: Opposition: 12 players and India with 10 players in the match. Dhoni's persistence with Ishant is sickening.

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 10:14 GMT)

Don't read into this 6 wicket haul at all! Poor bowling has been his forte and will continue to do so....this performance just means Dhoni is going to carry with him for the next 10 or MORE tests! So this means the torture for IND cricket lovers will continue......

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 10:12 GMT)

Useless & WorthLess bowler he is... The attack should have been Shami,varon aaron and umesh yadav..and spinner Ojha....Dhoni is one off the worst overseas captain ever for any country !!! Period

Posted by teju666 on (February 7, 2014, 10:11 GMT)

So what does Ishant do right to merit his place in the test and ODI squad? Batting - no, fielding - no, bowling - hell, no!! And yet there he is. Is he part of the Dhoni squad - which includes the likes of Raina, Jadeja etc? Or is he the best amongst the worst who are fit for duty? Until such time we resolve this mystery, Mr McCullum and co - keep swinging away.

Posted by SinSpider on (February 7, 2014, 10:11 GMT)

Indian pace bowling needs a lot of work. It is text book basics that a short ball is a surprise element and it should rise at least to the neck if not the helmet. Many short balls that Zak and Ishant bowled were 120-130 kph and were at chest height or way over the top. Easy decisions for the batsmen.

Anderson's wicket was gift and Brendon's wicket was the result of a superlative catch. It was definitely not superlative bowling

Posted by   on (February 7, 2014, 10:09 GMT)

Not really sure how Ishant keeps getting picked ahead of Yadav...I understand that you can't have Khan and Kumar playing together as the attack really would be slow but Ishant is mean't to picked for "Pace & Bounce"...but he's bowling slowly and not keeping it tight. No use taking 6 wickets when the opposition scores 500+!

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Players/Officials: Ishant Sharma
Series/Tournaments: India tour of New Zealand
Teams: India
Tour Results
New Zealand v India at Wellington - Feb 14-18, 2014
Match drawn
New Zealand v India at Auckland - Feb 6-9, 2014
New Zealand won by 40 runs
NZ XI v Indians at Whangarei - Feb 2-3, 2014
Match drawn
New Zealand v India at Wellington - Jan 31, 2014
New Zealand won by 87 runs
New Zealand v India at Hamilton - Jan 28, 2014
New Zealand won by 7 wickets (with 11 balls remaining)
More results »
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