West Indies v India, 2nd Test, Bridgetown, 3rd day June 30, 2011

Ishant cherishes success after gloom

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It's easy to forget Ishant Sharma is just 22. He's had so many ups and downs already. He's experienced not just dips in form but long, barren stretches of gloom. On Thursday, he grabbed his 100th Test wicket in his 32nd Test, statistics that surprised some, including himself. "In the last one-and-a-half years I have been struggling with my bowling," Ishant said. "When I started to play cricket, I didn't expect to be the fifth-youngest bowler to take 100 wickets."

Ishant's decline from the heights of that spell against Ricky Ponting in Perth is well known. He never had a smooth follow-through to start with, and then began to stutter even further. That was just the beginning of the nightmare. The release gradually turned awry. The wrist that was so firmly behind the seam was finding its way into awkward positions. While at his best, his lithe fingers whipped the ball on to the deck. In his decline, he merely floated the ball across. The left shoulder fell away alarmingly. The head was no longer still. Ishant's life as a bowler was falling apart in front of his eyes.

"Everyone told me there will be ups and downs in any sportsman's life," Ishant said. "I have age on my side. I just had to work on my bowling and my fitness. That's what I did. Us time sabse jyaada difficulty tha ki koi kuch nahi poochta hai; aap kahan pey ho, kya kar rahe ho. (No one was asking about you: what are you doing, where are you?) My family's support was really helpful at the time."

Ishant admitted he hadn't been listening to his mentors, including Zaheer Khan. "I'd like to thank Zaheer for [his advice on] fitness. He always used to tell me about fitness but I didn't take him seriously because I didn't think fitness was that important. Now I have realised it is. If you want to be a fast bowler, you've got to be fit."

Why did he lose his pace? Ishant didn't elaborate, and the press conference didn't offer enough time for probing, but he said he "maybe tried to copy someone else," but added, "now I have learned that whatever is my strength, I should stick to it. And be fit."

Ishant also showed signs of maturity when bowling during his six-wicket haul, a departure from the times when the aim was to just bowl quick. His duel with Ramnaresh Sarwan offered sufficient proof. Ishant kept pushing Sarwan back with his short-of-length deliveries before getting one to pitch fuller and cut in and trap him in front.

"Now, I think more," he said. "I have plans against each batsman; where and what you should bowl at different batsmen. I don't know what was going wrong at that time. Now I am looking to go out there and follow whatever plans we have - visualise and think about what you are going to bowl."

Ishant also had problems bowling different lengths in ODIs. "You have to be clever when you are bowling in Powerplays and in the slog overs. I wasn't that clever before. Now I am learning [about] my bowling and body. I hope I will come back into ODI side and bowl well whenever my team needs me."

Ishant has had to lead the pace attack in the absence of Zaheer and Munaf Patel, a role he has taken a liking to. "I am enjoying the responsibility. MS bhai [Dhoni] has given me the fields I want. I talk to Harbhajan [Singh] about all my field plans and what I am going to bowl at each batsman."

Only time will tell whether Ishant is back to his best, but he said he is readier than ever, mentally and physically. "I learnt during this IPL that jo aap ho aapko vahi karna hai (you should stick to your strengths). I learnt how to recover from tiredness. You travel a lot during the IPL and I learnt more about my body and the importance of training."

It's slightly surprising that he learnt all that in his fourth IPL, but then sometimes you forget he is just 22.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Meety on | July 4, 2011, 1:43 GMT

    @ KAIRAVA - sorry to say you have NOT been watching cricket much over the last 2 years. India's strength has been their batting. If their bowling was as good as you say - they wouldn't have only beaten NZ once in their recent encounter. The fact is Zaheer has established himself as being in the top 4 pace bowlers in the world. Sreesanth & Sharma (I rate Sharma highly), have under performed more often then not. H Singh has basically been playing as an allrounder - as his spin bowling has been very underwhelming. Zaheer carries the WHOLE Indian attack - if Sharma, Sreesanth & Kumar come to the party & Singh remembers to spin the ball - India will be a much tougher proposition. There are about 15 current fast bowlers between England, Sth Africa & Oz who are statistically better then your ENTIRE pace attack.

  • POSTED BY Aussasinator on | July 1, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    I am happy for Ishant Sharma. He has all the potential to be India's premier strike bowler for a long time. But he needs to be rotated and conserved well so that he doesnt lose pace and retains the freshness and zeal for the game. Incidentally I noticed that Rahul Dravid is now less than 100 runs away from Ponting's aggregate in tests. A century in the next match and would be No. 2 right behind Sachin.Thereafter the battle will be really for Ponting to try and keep ahead of Dravid and watch for Jacques Kallis who's catching up too ! No guesses for those who pick Nos. 1,2, & 3 in Test runs after a year!

  • POSTED BY couchpundit on | July 1, 2011, 17:52 GMT

    @Bollo - Tremllet is a body line bowler and he has not bowled in sub-continent conditions and only in bouncy places. So you need to wait and see how he performs when he attacks stumps(rather than batsman...which is negative bowling) and in dry and testing conditions where a bowler doesnt have advantage.

  • POSTED BY gitapat on | July 1, 2011, 17:36 GMT

    >yavaid I did set the world on fire.But that is not relevant.What is relevant here that BCCI and some of us who care for Indian cricket must start thinking differently.The full potential of every player can be realized only with external support.And the BCCI has unlimited resources to provide this by hiring professionals who can provide this support on an ongoing basis.

  • POSTED BY binojpeter on | July 1, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    @Bollo Yeah Bollo, average of a seamer bowling all the 9 tests in the seamer friendly tracts of England and Austraila is compared with a seamer who has bowled more in subcontinent pitches. Fair enough. Keep the good work.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | July 1, 2011, 16:22 GMT

    @mathewjohn2176. No, Sharma has only played 14 of his 34 tests in India. Yes,he`s still young, can improve, and already at his best is an excellent bowler...but his record is average, and at present, is no Tremlett.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | July 1, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    Guys, you`re welcome to your own opinions, but not your facts. Yes, Tremlett is yet to be tested in many places. Sharma`s bowling average of 60 in Aus and 50 in SAf (homes of fast bowling, he`s yet to bowl in England) suggests that at the very least Tremlett has mastered the conditions there somewhat better.

    @Kairava, no comment on PK and Anderson then.

    re. Khan `excelling`on wickets outside India - he averges 34 at home, 30 away, averages 32 all up, hardly world class figures. Nor is Sharma`s away average - in the high 30s.

    Both good bowlers, particularly Zaheer, but hardly the world conquerors you`re making them out to be.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    "He[Zaheer] always used to tell me about fitness but I didn't take him seriously because I didn't think fitness was that important. Now I have realized it is. If you want to be a fast bowler, you've got to be fit."

    What a Moron. He wants to play cricket at this highest level and does not think that fitness is the prime necessity?

  • POSTED BY KAIRAVA on | July 1, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    @Bollo - Tremlett has only bowled in Aus & Eng which have favorable piches and conditions for fast bowlers. Wait till he gets to play in batsman's paradise of India & Sri Lanka where 600+ scores are the order of the day in test cricket. Ishant Sharma is not yet 23 but has superbly in India having a highly respectable bowling average of 28.3 & in the process picked up 46 wickets in 13 matches so far. In comparison, England's best fast bowler of the 1st decade of the 21st century, Andrew Flintoff averaged 30.45 in India (matches played 8, wkts taken - 24), Australia's best fast bowler currently, Mitchell Johnson (who was also the highest wicket taker for Aussies in the last Ashes 2010) averages 37.2 runs per wicket (Matches - 6, Wkts- 21) and surprisingly India's best fast bowler Zaheer Khan averages a comparatively high 34.42 runs per wkt. Zaheer Khan has excelled on wickets outside India (which has earned him world wide respect) & now Ishant Sharma is starting to do the same.

  • POSTED BY couchpundit on | July 1, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    @gitapat - > BCCI has nothing to do with Bowlers/batters realising who and what they are. They might be in Inidan Team because of sheer talent...that doesnt mean that they have understood them or their body or the game.

    Students learn only what they can...capacity varies for everyone...for instance did you top your class everytime and have you set the world on fire? There might have been somebody who studied along with you would have done that. Despite you having same teachers and evironment.

    Realisation happens for some at very young age..case in point Tendulkar and pretty late for others which is most of cricketers.

    WHY bring BCCI unnecessarily into this.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | July 4, 2011, 1:43 GMT

    @ KAIRAVA - sorry to say you have NOT been watching cricket much over the last 2 years. India's strength has been their batting. If their bowling was as good as you say - they wouldn't have only beaten NZ once in their recent encounter. The fact is Zaheer has established himself as being in the top 4 pace bowlers in the world. Sreesanth & Sharma (I rate Sharma highly), have under performed more often then not. H Singh has basically been playing as an allrounder - as his spin bowling has been very underwhelming. Zaheer carries the WHOLE Indian attack - if Sharma, Sreesanth & Kumar come to the party & Singh remembers to spin the ball - India will be a much tougher proposition. There are about 15 current fast bowlers between England, Sth Africa & Oz who are statistically better then your ENTIRE pace attack.

  • POSTED BY Aussasinator on | July 1, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    I am happy for Ishant Sharma. He has all the potential to be India's premier strike bowler for a long time. But he needs to be rotated and conserved well so that he doesnt lose pace and retains the freshness and zeal for the game. Incidentally I noticed that Rahul Dravid is now less than 100 runs away from Ponting's aggregate in tests. A century in the next match and would be No. 2 right behind Sachin.Thereafter the battle will be really for Ponting to try and keep ahead of Dravid and watch for Jacques Kallis who's catching up too ! No guesses for those who pick Nos. 1,2, & 3 in Test runs after a year!

  • POSTED BY couchpundit on | July 1, 2011, 17:52 GMT

    @Bollo - Tremllet is a body line bowler and he has not bowled in sub-continent conditions and only in bouncy places. So you need to wait and see how he performs when he attacks stumps(rather than batsman...which is negative bowling) and in dry and testing conditions where a bowler doesnt have advantage.

  • POSTED BY gitapat on | July 1, 2011, 17:36 GMT

    >yavaid I did set the world on fire.But that is not relevant.What is relevant here that BCCI and some of us who care for Indian cricket must start thinking differently.The full potential of every player can be realized only with external support.And the BCCI has unlimited resources to provide this by hiring professionals who can provide this support on an ongoing basis.

  • POSTED BY binojpeter on | July 1, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    @Bollo Yeah Bollo, average of a seamer bowling all the 9 tests in the seamer friendly tracts of England and Austraila is compared with a seamer who has bowled more in subcontinent pitches. Fair enough. Keep the good work.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | July 1, 2011, 16:22 GMT

    @mathewjohn2176. No, Sharma has only played 14 of his 34 tests in India. Yes,he`s still young, can improve, and already at his best is an excellent bowler...but his record is average, and at present, is no Tremlett.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | July 1, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    Guys, you`re welcome to your own opinions, but not your facts. Yes, Tremlett is yet to be tested in many places. Sharma`s bowling average of 60 in Aus and 50 in SAf (homes of fast bowling, he`s yet to bowl in England) suggests that at the very least Tremlett has mastered the conditions there somewhat better.

    @Kairava, no comment on PK and Anderson then.

    re. Khan `excelling`on wickets outside India - he averges 34 at home, 30 away, averages 32 all up, hardly world class figures. Nor is Sharma`s away average - in the high 30s.

    Both good bowlers, particularly Zaheer, but hardly the world conquerors you`re making them out to be.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 15:58 GMT

    "He[Zaheer] always used to tell me about fitness but I didn't take him seriously because I didn't think fitness was that important. Now I have realized it is. If you want to be a fast bowler, you've got to be fit."

    What a Moron. He wants to play cricket at this highest level and does not think that fitness is the prime necessity?

  • POSTED BY KAIRAVA on | July 1, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    @Bollo - Tremlett has only bowled in Aus & Eng which have favorable piches and conditions for fast bowlers. Wait till he gets to play in batsman's paradise of India & Sri Lanka where 600+ scores are the order of the day in test cricket. Ishant Sharma is not yet 23 but has superbly in India having a highly respectable bowling average of 28.3 & in the process picked up 46 wickets in 13 matches so far. In comparison, England's best fast bowler of the 1st decade of the 21st century, Andrew Flintoff averaged 30.45 in India (matches played 8, wkts taken - 24), Australia's best fast bowler currently, Mitchell Johnson (who was also the highest wicket taker for Aussies in the last Ashes 2010) averages 37.2 runs per wicket (Matches - 6, Wkts- 21) and surprisingly India's best fast bowler Zaheer Khan averages a comparatively high 34.42 runs per wkt. Zaheer Khan has excelled on wickets outside India (which has earned him world wide respect) & now Ishant Sharma is starting to do the same.

  • POSTED BY couchpundit on | July 1, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    @gitapat - > BCCI has nothing to do with Bowlers/batters realising who and what they are. They might be in Inidan Team because of sheer talent...that doesnt mean that they have understood them or their body or the game.

    Students learn only what they can...capacity varies for everyone...for instance did you top your class everytime and have you set the world on fire? There might have been somebody who studied along with you would have done that. Despite you having same teachers and evironment.

    Realisation happens for some at very young age..case in point Tendulkar and pretty late for others which is most of cricketers.

    WHY bring BCCI unnecessarily into this.

  • POSTED BY mathewjohn2176 on | July 1, 2011, 14:00 GMT

    @Bollo , ishant sharma is very young and he played maximum test in subcontinent where the pitches are good for batting and spinner friendly wickets.He s still young and can improve the skills by playing more matches..Regarding tremmlet,he played in England and aus where the wickets are bowlers friendly conditions..mostly greentops in cloudy condition..he took 6 wickets against srilanka on that rainy day ..so u can't compare both and say tremmlet is better ,as he stuggles in subcontinent

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | July 1, 2011, 13:58 GMT

    @KAIRAVA re.`Praveen Kumar, is an expert with right arm swing bowling & I rate him above James Anderson.` I would humbly suggest that comparing a bloke in his 2nd test to the No.3 ranked bowler in the world (with over 200 test wickets to his name) is slightly unfair at best, completely delusional at worst.

  • POSTED BY Vilander on | July 1, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Trying to bowl fast is no bad, its the primary responsibility of a fast bowler. Threat of physical harm is a great weapon, Ishant will do well to remember this and no medium pace is not good enough neither is swing in itself sorry, swing and pace together make it.

    And its not cute to see that he learnt the importance of being fit only after diping for form at internation level, if so what were the physical trainers of the team doing, eating fruity loops ?

    not impressed by a loose article of prase from a good author.

  • POSTED BY sskris1 on | July 1, 2011, 13:29 GMT

    Nice work by Ishant, but let's keep him on the ground. We need to see consistent performance before we start putting him on the pedestal.The English conditions wil suit him along with ZAK, kumar, and Sree, we now have a decnent attack. To call this bowling the best in World test, even to me, as an indian is laughable. By no means we can compare this with Steyn, Morkel. Any day I will take Steyn Morkel over all the other fast bowlers in the world, maybe with the exception of Aamir. Bhajji needs to find form with the ball as he is not doign anything.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | July 1, 2011, 12:42 GMT

    @Siddarth Mathi. Tremlett is highly rated because he`s taken 45 wickets in 9 tests at 25. Sharma has just taken his 100th in his 33rd test at an average of 35. The Dennis Lillee of the 21st century? If he manages 350 in 70 tests I might reconsider.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | July 1, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    re. Indian bowlers, Bhajji and Zaheer average about 32, Sharma and Sreesanth about 35, and Mithun/Pk have taken 12 test wickets between them. They have 3 bowlers in the Top 30 (ICC rankings) England 5 in the top 20. India have a good (and promising) attack, but they`re no better than a team such as the Windies.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Good to see an Indian bowler bouncing out WI batsmen. He had all the WI batsmen hopping around. A moment to cherish for Indian cricket fans.

  • POSTED BY Bollo on | July 1, 2011, 12:17 GMT

    Some obvious exaggerations here. Kumar over Anderson? Sharma over Tremlett? Sharma consistently faster than 140km? Zaheer/Praveen/Sree/Sharma as good as England`s best 4 seamers? India the best bowling lineup in world cricket?

    I find myself in the JUSTout camp...but also concerned that you guys are completely serious.

  • POSTED BY gitapat on | July 1, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    Given the riches of the BCCI it is sad to see that Indian bowlers-pace and spin are left to their own methods and means.I can see no reason other than lack of vision and commitment on the part of the BCCI to nurture and groom their bowlers in a professional environment with the help of full-time coaches right through the year. The Indian bowling looks pathetic and if they have succeeded in this series it is entirely due to the poor batting of the West Indies team.The Indian team is staring down the barrel-2 years from now with SRT,Dravid,VVS,Harbhajan and Zaheer Khan out of the Test team the team will fare no better than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe do now.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    @JustOUT: just because media makes them great, it does not mean that they are great..and only two bowlers..no spinner, even harbhajan singh used to hit lopsy for sixes..and morkel takes wicket only because of steyn affect with the new ball..with old ball, that south african bowling is pathetic..it was evident in the test series..

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    Nice to see a young pacer learning few lessons so early in his career.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 11:31 GMT

    @B.C.G : Tremlett became a star overnight just because he got a 6-wkt haul against Sri Lanka and "tremmers" has played only 9 test matches so far whereas Ishant has been pretty constantly bowling well except maybe for a blip last year and you are telling me that ishant is overrated than "tremmers" .. think before you type again :-P

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | July 1, 2011, 11:31 GMT

    A fully fit Zaheer Ishant Praveen and Munaf can match England's pace combination. Then the series will be all about superior batting. Come July 21 and it looks like a good series.I feel also that Amit Mishra must go to England,as he may be the surprise package in a dry summer.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    Well the reason is very simple. In IPL 4 he had the company of Dale Steyn.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    @Justout : Have you know what happened to South Africa in the series .They just scraped through for a tied series.Why couldnt with Steyn and Morkel they won in Durban.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 10:25 GMT

    Really impressed with Ishant's bowling. He is actually our first genuine fast bowler and hope he remains so for a long time. He is a certainity for the England tour and with the come back of Zak , India is really prepared for the England tour from the bowling aspect. However, for the third and fourth seamer's place it should be Sreesanth and Praveen Kumar , but definitely not Munaf Patel because he is not physically and mentally fit to be a fast bowler. Even if you are not physically well bulit you should atleast be mentally stronger to bowl at around 145-150 kph, unfortunately Munaf has none of these abilities.

  • POSTED BY Follow_thru on | July 1, 2011, 10:24 GMT

    For me, both ZAK & Sreesanth, if fit, shud walk into the XI in England. Ishant will be the 3rd seamer. Munaf's not nearly the same class in tests as Sree. He also has recurring fitness problems. Praveen's still raw. He's got to learn to shift to wicket-to-wicket bowling once swing disappears. I suspect that by the time India play in England the overcast & wet conditions of the early English summer might disappear and pitches will flatten out.

  • POSTED BY Sukumar_Kantri on | July 1, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    India has lot of talented players!!! Its not like 10-15 years ago when the entire batting depended on Sachin,Sourav,Azhar,Dravid,Sidhu,Ajay and bowling depended on Srinath,Prasad,Kumble. Now we have every one coming in and performing.

    Viru,Gauti,Sachin,Rahul,VVS,Mukund,Vijay,Parthiv,Karthik,Dhoni,Raina,Pujara,Kohli,Yuvi are there for batting. Zak,Ishant,Praveen,Munaf (Pace),Mithun,Bhajji,Ohja,Mishra(Spin) and also we have lot of talented cricketers who had proved at domestic level and u-19,India A level( Rayudu,Venu, Rahane and lot more)...Its a good sign for the Future of Indian Cricket. Ishant was really bowling good and fast (85-90mph) consistently with good line and length. Its a good sign from him!!!!

  • POSTED BY Geeva on | July 1, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    I dont knw why so many people are critising Harbhajan Singh.I am from SA i was at the cape town test match SA vs Ind 2011.Harbhajan Singh took 7 wickets in the 3rd Innings.If it wasnt for Jacques Kallis,India would have won the series.And also it was Harbhajan Singhs spell in Dbn that India bowled SA out cheaply.@ US_Indian were u even watching that series??

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    @B.C.G.... not to compare Tremlet wid Ishant? ofcource yeah ... I should not ... coz Ishant is too good to compare with Tremlet... If u say dat Ishants skill is over rated , Ponting in his post match press conference after d Perth test said that "I WOULD GET OUT 97 TIMES OUT OF 100 SUCH BALLS". and Tremlet only has d bouncer in his armory... whereas Ishant has got a lethal inswinger , lethal bouncers from just short of a length as we saw in d carribean , a potent leg cutter , they say , but bowled at 87 mph and a good slower one... what else do u expect from a fast bowler? and coming to d SKINNY ISHANT part... what is d matter if he is build heavily or skinny? anyways Ishant is bowling consistently above 140s and often peaks 150 kmph... that doesnt make any difference

  • POSTED BY Sanjeev_Talwani on | July 1, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    Ishant Sharma has proved that he is the find of the century of the Indian team with his immense talent. This tall fast bowler has the talent and attitude to become the Dennis Lillee of the 21st century if he can retain his fitness.

  • POSTED BY denza on | July 1, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    The transition of Harbhajan from India's premier spinner to a bloke who bats lower down the order to good effect is not helping the team's cause. After Anil Kumble's retirement he was supposed to carry his trade further but unfortunately he isn't. His lack of application while bowling is imminent to the fact that he keeps pushing the ball when he is supposed to give it a loop and entice batsmen into driving. A Harbhajan 5-for has become like a good bollywood movie which is rarely released. High time he resurrects his art.

  • POSTED BY BONG_IN_CHENNAI on | July 1, 2011, 7:54 GMT

    C.mon the psychology of any bowler, that too of a fast bowler is of paramount importance. In the first 3 IPLs, a pair of KKR players did not get any attention, glamour, notice etc. (PATTA). Whatever one does, the entire glory and credit would be revolving around one MAHARAJA - as if he has turned Indian cricket and others were watch-dogs, including our great GOD (SRT) of Indian cricket. The captain is as good as his team, is what KKR showed in the last 3 IPLs. Ample evidence, one must admit. Coming back to the point - Gayle and Ishant would try their best and then one person comes to the front and says - hei look, it all happened b'cos I was behind U all. The BONG psychology of stealing the limelight and credit from team members - must be learned from the PRINCE of KOL... Look, once Gayle and Ishant were out of his grasp, how well they both performed in IPL-4 - specifically Gayle; and Ishant (too) also showed glimpses of his skill - much better than what he delivered in IPL 2 & 3.

  • POSTED BY CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on | July 1, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    @B.C.G look at the age difference between ishant and tremlett 22 and 30 respectively tremlett has played so much county cricket and has more experience ishant has not got luxury of green tops of england unlik in india who are dead batting featherbeds and let tremlett come to indian we will see how many wicket he picks first look at age and experience of playing in seaming conditions @B.C.G look at the age difference between ishant and tremlett 22 and 30 respectively tremlett has played so much county cricket and has more experience ishant has not got luxury of green tops of england unlik in india who are dead batting featherbeds and let tremlett come to indian we will see how many wicket he picks first look at age and experience of playing in seaming conditions

  • POSTED BY US_Indian on | July 1, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    I believe with the return of Sehwag, Gambhir, Sachin and two most reliable but unsung fighters of indian cricket ( Dravid & Lakshman) makes the first 5 and add either Yuvraj, Raina, Badri, Pujara makes it 9 batsmen. MSD & Parthiv or karthick for 2 wicket keepers. Zaheer, Ishant, Shreeshant, Munaf throw in Mithun makes it 5 fast bowlers. Mishra, Ashwin & Ojha 3 spinners total is 19 and if you are taking 16 on the tour 7 batsmen + 2 Wk + 4 fastbowlers + 3 spnners will make it 16. No more Harbhajan please what if he bats a bit but still his prime duty is a strike bowler along with zaheer but he is not doing his job. he failed when others like Ajmal and even Hafeez succeeded. so fire him. Praveen could have had some success but still he is not Test Class. Virat has a long way to go as a test batsman and Vijay had enough i guess if they need another opener either Parthiv or Karthick can take up the role as a back-up opener and Mukund can wait. 6 batsmen,1wk, 3fast &1 spin.

  • POSTED BY KAIRAVA on | July 1, 2011, 7:26 GMT

    @JustOUT - At present in WORLD TEST CRICKET, India has got 4 wicket-taking & always threatening front line fast bowlers (Zaheer, Praveen, Ishant & Harbhajan) with 2 equally competent bowlers (Munaf & Patel) in its reserves. In comparison, South Africa has got just 2 front line bowlers (Steyn & Morkel) of world class quality, England has got 3 world class bowlers (Anderson, Swann, Tremlett). Australia has got just 1 bowler (Mitchell Johnson) so has New Zealand (Vettori). Pakistan has 2 (Umar Gul & Saeed Ajmal), Sri Lanka sadly with the retiremnts of Vaas, Murali & Malinga, hasn't even got one/yet to produce one. West Indies has got 2 (Roach, Bishoo). Test cricket conditions are vastly different than ODI/T20 where Indian bowlers bowl with defensive mindsets to defensive fields where curbing runs are the first priority that is where in recent times teams like New Zealand (Vettori), Sri Lanka (Malinga, Randiv) & Pakistan (Afridi) with bowlers of lesser capability, have excelled.

  • POSTED BY Baria00 on | July 1, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    As an indian cricket fan, i m delighted to see Ishant perform so well. his pace throughout his bowling spells r very impressive. he had generated bounce and his inswinger is back with the deadly leg cutter he bowls with pace. lot of people forget that he has better bowling avg in india than overseas, i think its a hallmark of a bowler really learning is craft. he has bulked up bit more and that seems to have helped him. who says IPL is bad, his stint with Charges, playing with dale steyn has helped also. he is a great prospect for team india and they must take better care of him.

  • POSTED BY Fast_Track_Bully on | July 1, 2011, 7:16 GMT

    All the best Ishant. Hope he will be more mature and be a king as his senior Zak. Zak too do not had the ability to control the ball as he wish when he was young, but he learned it after few years.

  • POSTED BY B.C.G on | July 1, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    Vinod-Plz don't compar skinny Ishant to Tremmers.Ishant skills are seriously overrated

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    I agree with @Pratit comments about Sreeshanth and Haribhajan. I will always prefer Sree over Praveen especially on the fast pitches. Sreeshanth has pace and swing would have been more than handful on these West Indies fast pitches. Even though Praveen is getting lot of seam movement he is not doing enough damage. May be this is because of his gentle slow medium pace, batsman have enough time to drop their bats or move their bats out of harms way. As @Pratit mentioned earlier Harbhajan is not getting enough wickets (1 or 2 wickets in an innings when he is bowling 20-30 overs). But I must admit he is not bowling badly either. I think he should have bowled close to the off stump rather than outside the off to left hand batsmen. Selectors need have included Aaron Varun for this series. It should have given them chance to gauge his potential instead of Munaf Patel. I hope Praveen and Harbhajan will prove me wrong and make me eat my words in this series and England series. Good luck India.

  • POSTED BY SudharsanVM on | July 1, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    Indian bowling line up is really good.May not be the best in the world. Ishant zak, praveen and munaf with bhajji has all the variation and combination. The talk is going abt ENG bowlers vs IND batsmen. But remember, if ENG prepares a greenish wicket, its very sure that they will fail in their own backyard. They have only tremlett and anderson, while swann will be tested against Indians who were much better players of SPIN. Broad will only be the weak link in either side. Both sides are matched evenly.

  • POSTED BY Htc-Baseball on | July 1, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    A problem of plenty in bowling dept for india,its a rare sight indeed.....If sreeshanth is fit could be handy with his aggression.Tough call between sree and pk...Pk looked completely off wen the swing was gone on the day....But english conditions mit be handy for him.so wit zak ishanth pk/sree baji plus yuvraj will set up a famous series win at england.......

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    It will be interesting to see selection for England tour. With pace attack Zak, Ishant, Shrishant, Munaf and Pravin means mostly Shrishant may miss. Spin will be same to an extent with Bhajji and Mishra. Batting will be again in a situation where people like Kohli, Yuvi etc. may crate more competition in test matches(expecting Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Raina, Dhoni retaining their spots). Thus in all if no injuries than India is ready for England with its best combination.

  • POSTED BY B.C.G on | July 1, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    Actually I feel Sreeshanth is India's most dangerous swing bowler.He was one of the reasons India drew in S.A.

  • POSTED BY pratit on | July 1, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    Fast bowling department seems to be coming along nicely.i would still prefer sree over pk if sree is match-fit because of his extra pace and experience.but bhajji seems to have lost it.the w.i batsmen were all at sea against ajmal and even hafeez and ajmal even had a 10 wkt match haul.but bhajji is not even troubling them,forget taking wickets.so i am concerned as lack of good spin bowling may hurt india.

  • POSTED BY JustOUT on | July 1, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    @Kairava - India has got the best bowling lineup in the world test cricket.. LOL, im still laughing. Can you name a good opening bowling pair in the current line up, you will shuffle zaheer-ishant, zaheer-sreeshant.. etc. Did you watch Steyn & Morkel bowling to Indians during the last SA vs India test series? Better watch and then start compare the bowlers. Except Harbhajan & Zaheer nobody has yet proved they are dangerous test bowlers. Watch Steyn vs Sachin.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 6:00 GMT

    excellent to see Ishant growing up as a lethal bowler... I wish he rips through the England batting line up and show the English men dat India is the best team in the world , both in batting and bowling front . Ishant , if he continues with this form , along with Zaheer and Sreesanth will form one of the most lethal bowling attacks in the world . Hello Chris Tremlet , beware buddy , dont boast of your height and sort , we have a similar bowler of similar height to extract bounce and he is much more skillful than u, ask RICKY PONTING and the WEST INDIANS. Just get ready to taste the toast of your own bread English folks... aaahhh.... i remember Darren Gough saying before the World cup that " we can beat India seven days in a week"... everyone knew what happened . ENGLISH MEN JUST TALK , THE INDIANS FIGHT

  • POSTED BY KAIRAVA on | July 1, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    With the inclusion of Zaheer Khan for the tour to England, India, currently, has got the best bowling lineup in world test cricket. Zaheer bowls left arm medium pace with amazing control & swings both ways.He is the best left arm fast bowler in the world at the moment. Ishant, the tall & lanky right arm fast bowler, consistently bowls at over 140kmph, swings in at a fast pace & can trouble the batsmen with awkward bounce with his height. Praveen Kumar, is an expert with right arm swing bowling & I rate him above James Anderson. Harbhajan Singh, one of the best off-spin bowlers has a deadly doosra in his armoury and comes hard at batsmen with his never say die spirit. With Munaf Patel & Amit Mishra, in reserves adding top class variety, India has a problem of plenty when it comes to choosing the 4 frontline bowlers in the final XI. Munaf is one of the most improved bowlers in the world circuit. He has cut down on pace but can bowl nagging line & length deliveries for long durations.

  • POSTED BY CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on | July 1, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    Yeah he has age on his side just 22 and dont forget during 2008 border-gavaskar series he was man of series for picking soemthing like 20 odd wickets on subcontinent tracks in india he was the 1st man of series as ravi shastri mentioned after kapil dev that was no meagre achievement and guess what he would enjoy english conditions even more as it would be overcast and duke ball is same as SG ball of india has more pronounced seam ishant,sreesanth,zaheer,munaf,praveenwould be more than handful in EnglandYeah he has age on his side just 22 and dont forget during 2008 border-gavaskar series he was man of series for picking soemthing like 20 odd wickets on subcontinent tracks in india he was the 1st man of series as ravi shastri mentioned after kapil dev that was no meagre achievement and guess what he would enjoy english conditions even more as it would be overcast and duke ball is same as SG ball of india has more pronounced seam ishant,sreesanth,zaheer,munaf,praveenwould be more than ha

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  • POSTED BY CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on | July 1, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    Yeah he has age on his side just 22 and dont forget during 2008 border-gavaskar series he was man of series for picking soemthing like 20 odd wickets on subcontinent tracks in india he was the 1st man of series as ravi shastri mentioned after kapil dev that was no meagre achievement and guess what he would enjoy english conditions even more as it would be overcast and duke ball is same as SG ball of india has more pronounced seam ishant,sreesanth,zaheer,munaf,praveenwould be more than handful in EnglandYeah he has age on his side just 22 and dont forget during 2008 border-gavaskar series he was man of series for picking soemthing like 20 odd wickets on subcontinent tracks in india he was the 1st man of series as ravi shastri mentioned after kapil dev that was no meagre achievement and guess what he would enjoy english conditions even more as it would be overcast and duke ball is same as SG ball of india has more pronounced seam ishant,sreesanth,zaheer,munaf,praveenwould be more than ha

  • POSTED BY KAIRAVA on | July 1, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    With the inclusion of Zaheer Khan for the tour to England, India, currently, has got the best bowling lineup in world test cricket. Zaheer bowls left arm medium pace with amazing control & swings both ways.He is the best left arm fast bowler in the world at the moment. Ishant, the tall & lanky right arm fast bowler, consistently bowls at over 140kmph, swings in at a fast pace & can trouble the batsmen with awkward bounce with his height. Praveen Kumar, is an expert with right arm swing bowling & I rate him above James Anderson. Harbhajan Singh, one of the best off-spin bowlers has a deadly doosra in his armoury and comes hard at batsmen with his never say die spirit. With Munaf Patel & Amit Mishra, in reserves adding top class variety, India has a problem of plenty when it comes to choosing the 4 frontline bowlers in the final XI. Munaf is one of the most improved bowlers in the world circuit. He has cut down on pace but can bowl nagging line & length deliveries for long durations.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 6:00 GMT

    excellent to see Ishant growing up as a lethal bowler... I wish he rips through the England batting line up and show the English men dat India is the best team in the world , both in batting and bowling front . Ishant , if he continues with this form , along with Zaheer and Sreesanth will form one of the most lethal bowling attacks in the world . Hello Chris Tremlet , beware buddy , dont boast of your height and sort , we have a similar bowler of similar height to extract bounce and he is much more skillful than u, ask RICKY PONTING and the WEST INDIANS. Just get ready to taste the toast of your own bread English folks... aaahhh.... i remember Darren Gough saying before the World cup that " we can beat India seven days in a week"... everyone knew what happened . ENGLISH MEN JUST TALK , THE INDIANS FIGHT

  • POSTED BY JustOUT on | July 1, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    @Kairava - India has got the best bowling lineup in the world test cricket.. LOL, im still laughing. Can you name a good opening bowling pair in the current line up, you will shuffle zaheer-ishant, zaheer-sreeshant.. etc. Did you watch Steyn & Morkel bowling to Indians during the last SA vs India test series? Better watch and then start compare the bowlers. Except Harbhajan & Zaheer nobody has yet proved they are dangerous test bowlers. Watch Steyn vs Sachin.

  • POSTED BY pratit on | July 1, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    Fast bowling department seems to be coming along nicely.i would still prefer sree over pk if sree is match-fit because of his extra pace and experience.but bhajji seems to have lost it.the w.i batsmen were all at sea against ajmal and even hafeez and ajmal even had a 10 wkt match haul.but bhajji is not even troubling them,forget taking wickets.so i am concerned as lack of good spin bowling may hurt india.

  • POSTED BY B.C.G on | July 1, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    Actually I feel Sreeshanth is India's most dangerous swing bowler.He was one of the reasons India drew in S.A.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    It will be interesting to see selection for England tour. With pace attack Zak, Ishant, Shrishant, Munaf and Pravin means mostly Shrishant may miss. Spin will be same to an extent with Bhajji and Mishra. Batting will be again in a situation where people like Kohli, Yuvi etc. may crate more competition in test matches(expecting Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Raina, Dhoni retaining their spots). Thus in all if no injuries than India is ready for England with its best combination.

  • POSTED BY Htc-Baseball on | July 1, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    A problem of plenty in bowling dept for india,its a rare sight indeed.....If sreeshanth is fit could be handy with his aggression.Tough call between sree and pk...Pk looked completely off wen the swing was gone on the day....But english conditions mit be handy for him.so wit zak ishanth pk/sree baji plus yuvraj will set up a famous series win at england.......

  • POSTED BY SudharsanVM on | July 1, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    Indian bowling line up is really good.May not be the best in the world. Ishant zak, praveen and munaf with bhajji has all the variation and combination. The talk is going abt ENG bowlers vs IND batsmen. But remember, if ENG prepares a greenish wicket, its very sure that they will fail in their own backyard. They have only tremlett and anderson, while swann will be tested against Indians who were much better players of SPIN. Broad will only be the weak link in either side. Both sides are matched evenly.

  • POSTED BY on | July 1, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    I agree with @Pratit comments about Sreeshanth and Haribhajan. I will always prefer Sree over Praveen especially on the fast pitches. Sreeshanth has pace and swing would have been more than handful on these West Indies fast pitches. Even though Praveen is getting lot of seam movement he is not doing enough damage. May be this is because of his gentle slow medium pace, batsman have enough time to drop their bats or move their bats out of harms way. As @Pratit mentioned earlier Harbhajan is not getting enough wickets (1 or 2 wickets in an innings when he is bowling 20-30 overs). But I must admit he is not bowling badly either. I think he should have bowled close to the off stump rather than outside the off to left hand batsmen. Selectors need have included Aaron Varun for this series. It should have given them chance to gauge his potential instead of Munaf Patel. I hope Praveen and Harbhajan will prove me wrong and make me eat my words in this series and England series. Good luck India.