Ishant Sharma: A legend in the making
It was a historic occasion at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Over 60,000 people had turned up at the venue on Day 1 as India’s first day-night Test got underway.
And in the seventh over of the innings, Ishant Sharma entered his name in the record books. He was the first Indian ever to take a Test wicket with a pink ball.
The lanky pacer was at his menacing best throughout the match. Getting the ball to move viciously both ways and also generating extra bounce from the deck, Ishant posed questions to the Bangladeshi batsmen for which they had no answers.
He finished with stunning figures of 5/22 in the first innings, his first five-wicket haul after a gap of 12 years at home. Ishant followed that with 4/56 in the second innings to further rattle the Bangladeshi batsmen; his efforts eventually earned him the player of the match award.
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After the match, India's middle-order mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara was full of praise for his teammate.
Ishant has worked on the swing… he has always got considerable movement bowling against left-handers, but now he is doing so against right-handers too. It is very different facing him now,” Pujara said.
Ishant has now featured in 96 Test matches for his country, and is the most experienced player in the current Indian team. The 31-year-old is also now the sixth-highest wicket-taker for India in Tests, with 292 scalps to his name.
Ishant first shot to fame in 2008, courtesy his devastating spell to Australian batting legend Ricky Ponting. Then a 19-year-old, Ishant tormented Ponting, who struggled to read the movement of the ball.
Ishant used his height to his advantage and generated extra bounce, and the great Aussie was caught in non-man’s land during the vicious spell. Ponting endured a torrid time in the middle before eventually edging Ishant to Rahul Dravid.
Over the next 12 years, Ishant has morphed from a tearaway pacer to the spearhead of the Indian bowling lineup. He still has a long way to go, and a lot more achievements to unlock. Bit if he can continue with his newfound rhythm, then he could well go on to become one of the greatest fast bowlers ever produced by India.
Ishant has reinvented himself in the past year and is now a force to reckon with on all surfaces. His resurgence certainly augurs well for the Indian team going forward, and sets him up nicely for an entry into the club of cricket legends.Published 28 Nov 2019, 21:38 IST