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Ishant Sharma, man with over 200 Test wickets, warming the benches in Sri Lanka

Bhuvi has the edge over Ishant Sharma in the Pallekele Test

Ravi Shastri
India’s cricketer Ishant Sharma delivers a ball as coach Ravi Shastri looks on. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

It is a matter of great travesty that a man with a wealth of experience in Test format and has completed a decade playing International Cricket, being forced to bowl only during the lunch breaks and the tea sessions, in his attempt to remain in contention to play in the eleven. Yes! we are talking about the lanky seam bowler within the Indian ranks, Ishant Sharma.

Indians have gone in for the extra pace and zip of Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav in the current series against Sri Lanka while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma wait for their opportunity to grab hold of the cherry. Ishant Sharma can be seen bowling his heart out only when the rest of the team enjoy their lunch during the Test series. Sharma has played over 77 Tests for India and has claimed as many as 218 wickets in since he made his debut against Bangladesh in May 2007.

He has completed 10 years representing India at least in the Test format. But he plays the unfamiliar role of being present in the sidelines with a smile on his face, without any fuss, to depict a team spirit he has within him. It was only a couple of years back, here in Sri Lanka, with the series locked at 1-1, Sharma was bowled a match-winning spell to seal the series with his eight wicket haul in the match.

Where it went wrong for Ishant?

If we plot the graph of Ishant Sharma’s bowling career, inconsistency has been one of the keys to him not being able to seal a spot in the Test format. After his performance in his second Test against Pakistan and the career changing tour to Australia, the lanky pacer was compared along the long lines of Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan. He also clocked 157-mark in the tour where he annoyed Ricky Ponting with his line and length.

However, Ishant Sharma lost his initial zip and tenure was plagued with sporadic success. Indians have had the tendency to go with Bhuvneshwar Kumar due to his seaming abilities. “Umesh Yadav and Shami are really quick; you have a good bunch of fast bowlers who are capable of bowling on any track. But my favourite is Bhuvneshwar, he has an amazing seam position… no one in the world has. We try to teach our bowlers to bowl with seam upright, not many can release like Bhuvneshwar. He has got great skills and good control. He swings both ways. I put him in the top bracket. He knows exactly what to do,” claimed Sri Lanka’s former pace bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake, according to Hindustan Times, ahead of the Pallekele Test.

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