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Ishant Sharma, the workhorse has grown into a warhorse!

"Ishant Sharma was the bowler whose spells the crowd would want to use to take a breath, chill and munch on some popcorns. And what did we witness? A masterclass in outswingers!"

ishant sharma transformation

It took a long time coming. When the lanky fast bowler made his debut way back in 2007, a lot was expected of him. At 6’4” he was an unusual sight in Indian cricket, a tall fast bowler who could probably go on to bounce batsman out. The fans, the experts drooled with just the thought of it.

That’s how people expected Ishant Sharma to prosper. But overtime he grew into something else, something he wasn’t brought in for, a workhorse who could bowl long tidy spells. And like an obedient student he did that, years after years. But not before giving his all into becoming what experts wanted him to become.

For several years Ishant Sharma bowled short, into the batsman stuff. When he didn’t get results, he went fuller, mostly gun barrel straight. There were just too many ideas flowing his way. And then came the famous Australia tour where he made Ricky Ponting his bunny. Fans saw him bowling short deliveries into one of the best batsmen of the era and troubling him with his incoming deliveries. The pace and bounce he generated was surreal. The expectations went high up again. The Australian tour ended and so did the resurgence of people’s version of Ishant Sharma.

 

Ishant Sharma was once again the workhorse. He bowled long spells to allow the spin duos to catch some breath. All he was expected to do was hold one end tight. He did phenomenally well. Years after years, he sank deeper in the role of the ‘filler’.

When MS Dhoni was captain, his frustration with the incapability of the fast bowling attack was often apparent. Umesh Yadav was not the bowler he is today and Ishant Sharma had truly become a moribund workhorse. Perhaps his lack of faith was justifiable. But probably that’s what these young guns exactly needed –a hand of faith.

Ishant Sharma was once again the workhorse. He bowled long spells to allow the spin duos to catch some breath. All he was expected to do was hold one end tight. He did phenomenally well. Years after years, he sank deeper in the role of the ‘filler’.

When MS Dhoni was captain, his frustration with the incapability of the fast bowling attack was often apparent. Umesh Yadav was not the bowler he is today and Ishant Sharma had truly become a moribund workhorse. Perhaps his lack of faith was justifiable. But probably that’s what these young guns exactly needed –a hand of faith.

Virat Kohli’s reign brought several changes in Indian cricket and one very visible change was his love for aggression. He wanted his boys to go for the kill and not dodge. And the bowlers were the first to get influenced. Umesh Yadav, and thereafter Shami transformed miraculously, as if somebody broke a ‘holding spell’ that had been casted on them. They started running in with intent. They swung the ball either ways. They became accurate and lethal. It was only a matter of time that their senior pro, Ishant Sharma donned the new Kohliesque cloak too. His moment came in the second test match against Bangladesh, the first daynighter in India ever –the pink cherry in action.

The world expected Shami and Yadav to break the back of opposition with their newly found teeth. Ishant Sharma was the bowler whose spells the crowd would want to use to take a breath, chill and munch on some popcorns. And what did we witness? A masterclass in outswingers!

Bangladeshi batsmen struggled to even brush the ball. They played the wrong line by a foot. The pink ball did its trick but it was the new Ishant at work here. He was more relaxed, not stressed about expectations. He just bowled with a lot of heart. His balls swung like they had never before and with consistency. His length was so perfect, all his balls would have gone on to clip the top of off-stump –a fast bowlers coverdrive.

At 31 years of age, Ishant Sharma is finally threatening oppositions with the ball more than weird expressions. He is not bouncing people out but he his certainly shattering the timber more often.


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