Ishant Sharma has time and again showed his temperamental streak on the field, and it has landed him in trouble quite often. On Monday, the fast bowler again lost his cool with Bangladesh batsman Sabbir Rahman being at the receiving end, during the fifth day of the one-off Test between India and Bangladesh.
The incident happened in the 69th over of Bangladesh’s second innings. Ishant was bowling beautifully on a flat deck and troubled Sabbir with the second and third deliveries, first with a back of a length delivery and then with a short one.
On the fourth delivery, Ishant bowled a full one and Rahman defended it. But suddenly, Ishant stared at the batsman, who responded with a cold stare, and nodded gently.
Ishant, not the one to back down, signalled the batsman to shut up.
In the next over, Ishant had his revenge. Off the fourth ball of the 71st over, the 28-year-old pace bowler trapped Rahman plumb in front. The good length delivery came in and beat Rahman’s defence, who took a review more in hope. It was, unsurprisingly, turned down.
It was at this point that Ishant lost it. He was seen abusing Rahman as the Bangladesh batsman walked off the pitch. He ended with figures of 2/40 in the second innings as India won by 208 runs.
After the match, Ishant said on TV that being the No 1 Test team meant the bowlers had to show aggression, adding rather surprisingly, ‘We have to be even rude.”
It hinted more at the kind of tactics that may have been discussed in the dressing room.
Whether it would be regarded as a breach of the code of conduct is not known, but this is not the first time Ishant has been in focus for his outburst out of the blue.
In 2015, against Sri Lanka, Ishant was banned for one Test after giving an unpleasant send-off to Upul Tharanga in the final Test in Colombo. He also had a go at tail-ender Dhammika Prasad in that game. Ishant had committed two other offences during the match. It was also the first full Test series with Virat Kohli as captain.
Ishant had to miss the first Test against South Africa at home for his conduct. However, he has always had the backing of captain Kohli.
On Monday also, Kohli had words of praise for the fast bowler. “The bowlers found ways to get batsmen out, that’s been the characteristic of our team. We didn’t get over-excited. Ishant’s spell was outstanding, coming with a soft ball, reversing it at pace,” he said.