Ishant Sharma hopeful of being India's fourth pacer at the World Cup

Ishant Sharma hopeful of being India’s fourth pacer at the World Cup

"Indian team is still looking at a fourth seamer."

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

The way Ishant Sharma’s career has panned out thus far, it would not be entirely wrong to say that he is widely considered as a Test specialist. The lanky pacer from Delhi had made a mark in international cricket with the red-cherry in his hand during the tour of Australia in 2007-08 and has now become an integral and most experienced part of India’s Test attack. However, the same cannot be said as far as his limited-overs career is concerned.

That Ishant could not even get a buyer in the last edition of the Indian Premier League tells the entire story of how the majority now thinks that he cannot deliver with a white-ball. Before going unsold in 2018, Sharma had managed to take just 59 wickets in 76 IPL games while playing for Kolkata Knight Riders, Deccan Chargers, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rising Pune Supergiant and Kings XI Punjab.

His fortunes in international cricket did not help his cause either. His stats in ODIs read – a modest 115 wickets in 80 games at a strike-rate of over 32. He is completely out-of-favour with the team at the moment, having last played an ODI in January 2016. On the other hand, he played last of his 14 T20Is way back in 2013. No surprises then there are widespread perceptions that Ishant is just a Test specialist.

However, Ishant is not at all amused with the tag and is looking to get rid of it in the upcoming Indian Premier League where he will ply his trade for his home team Delhi Capitals. “Yes, I think perception has played a big part in me not being in limited overs set-up. I still don’t know where these perceptions come from,” Ishant said while interacting with the media.

“It is something that players have been dealing with to be honest but I don’t know frankly that from where these perceptions emerge. They give us tags like ‘he is a Test bowler’, ‘he is a T20 bowler’, white ball bowler, red ball bowler and so on,” added a miffed Ishant.

Ishant eyes fourth-pacer slot:

Ishant Sharma is of the opinion that if someone can bowl well with the red ball, he is good enough to play any format. The right-arm pacer, who had played a big role when India won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013, is also hopeful of being India’s fourth pacer in the upcoming World Cup.

“Whoever can do well in red-ball cricket can do well in any format. That’s the basic of all cricket that we play. All you need to do is back your varieties that you have with the white ball. If I do well in this format, I am sure I can be that fourth seamer going into the World Cup. Indian team is still looking at a fourth seamer,” Ishant said.

India recently dropped Khaleel Ahmed after his poor outings in Australia and New Zealand, thus throwing the race for the fourth pacer wide open. Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami are all but sure of leading India’s pace attack and it is the fourth pacer that the team is yet to find.

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