Blame it on an overdose of the game, but the Indian cricket fans’ memory is becoming short. A few months out of the limelight and you are in danger of being written off as a discard. Ask the Deccan Chargers troika of Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha.
For the fringe players, it is even more difficult this season as the World Cup champions hog all the limelight.
The trio has been out of favour for some time now. Following a series of inconsistent showings, Sharma and Ojha lost their places in the Test playing XI and were not picked in World Cup side too. Mishra has been out of both the Test and one-day sides.
The three had an added inspiration to do well in Sunday’s game against Chennai Super Kings. Apart from helping their team win, it was an opportunity for them to impress their India captain MS Dhoni, who leads the local team. The former CSK brand ambassador and chief national selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth too is a regular at the IPL games at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
IPL is not only a platform for the young talent to make their mark; it is also a stage for the discards to come back into reckoning. Sharma and Mishra are certainly making the most of the opportunity.
The duo is in impressive form, and Mishra with nine wickets and Sharma with seven have certainly staked their claims for the upcoming West Indies tour. Ojha has had limited opportunities so far and will be seeking inspiration from Mishra.
The Indian team has taken a back seat for the moment but next month will all be about the national team; the talk will be all about right combinations and about players suitable for the Caribbean conditions.
Chargers teammate Cameron White, who has also played against them for Australia, vouched for their form. White said a player's T20 form was a good indicator for his selection in the one-day format.
“There are examples of people who do well in all formats. Probably what it shows is that bowlers doing well in T20 mean they have a good set of skills and variations and are able to execute it under extreme pressure when a batsman is coming hard at them. Mishra has been outstanding, one of the best bowlers in the competition. He has been our best bowler, and in the last game Ishant showed how good he is when the conditions suit him.”