In a Test match, it is excessively difficult for a bowler to prise out a wicket, especially on the flat pitches of India. There is very little bounce and the swing is negligible to be candid. Hence, whatever a bowler will have to do will entirely depend upon his ability to use the ball’s seam and how hard he can hit the deck when he is willing to shock the batsman with sweet chin music. Hence, we drill our attention to the man called Ishant Sharma.
It is quite obvious that Jasprit Bumrah is currently India’s best fast bowler and has produced some exhilarating moments of pace bowling brilliance. However, as India is currently facing the might of England and with Dom Sibley and Joe Root playing a match-defining partnership that has already augmented 77 runs for the third wicket and has bossed the second session in style, Bumrah has seemed out of his element.
If there is one thing that has been a major spot of bother for Bumrah has been his lack of variations. He mixes the bouncers and the yorkers really well but as we are all aware of the surfaces that India offers, eking out bounce from them becomes an uphill task with every passing day of a Test match. Hence, Bumrah is left with his toe-crushers which are traded on a much more comfortable level in Test cricket as there is no pressure on the batsman to score in every single delivery.
The man who has really created a difference at the moment, however, has been Ishant Sharma. After failing to be a part of the Australian tour despite being fit, he is back to the Indian squad and is the second pacer of the day alongside Bumrah as Bhuvneshwar Kumar is still convalescing from his injuries.
Why exactly is Ishant Sharma more special?
We have seen earlier how Ishant Sharma makes good use of his height to attack the toe of the batsmen. What even fascinates us more is the way he gets to drift the ball in both ways.
Today when Ishant Sharma started his first spell, he seemed to be extremely ordinary. However, when he arrived for the second spell against a set Joe Root and Dom Sibley, he showed extreme patience and a great reflection of an extremely strong character.
The factor that sets Ishant aside from Bumrah in Test cricket is his ability to bowl reverse swing and in-swing simultaneously. Given his towering stature of 6 feet 5 inches, he can also afford to hit the deck much harder and even on a flat track, wring out minimal bounce, thereby bedeviling the visitors to a certain extent.
We are all aware of the rivalry that Ishant previously had forged with Ricky Ponting and Steven Smith and came up trumps in both the occasion. It was because of his ability to consistently swing the ball around the corridor of uncertainty on the off-stump. In Test cricket with three slips lurking behind you always, you will rarely walk scot-free if you are planning some poking adventure in that off-stump area.
Ishant’s current bowling figures read 9-2-12-0 which are pretty impressive when they are juxtaposed vis-à-vis others. One of the primary reasons why the English batsmen have attacked him is the consistent swing that he has been emanating even with the ball being 57 overs-old. That is something extraordinary on the tracks of India.
He is also mixing them up very well with those yorkers occasionally and short balls that have kept the batsmen on their toes. People may say that this contrast seems crazy but Ishant can very well be the best Test bowler that India has up their sleeves now. Another important area that Ishant has exploited completely today is that yorking spot on the off-stump. With the reverse swing that has managed to emanate, he has applied it on the toe end of the corridor of uncertainty, thereby making life a living hell for a set Sibley and Root.