If you’re Ishant Sharma, you shouldn’t be disheartened. Not yet. After six years of Test cricket, Ishant has 144 wickets from 51 matches at a below-par average of 38. He averages 68 balls per wicket.
Richard Hadlee began his Test career in 1973, but his first five years were fairly ordinary, fetching him only 61 wickets, at more than 35 runs apiece.
His golden period was between the beginning of 1978 and the end of 1988, a period when he averaged five-and-a-half wickets per Test at less than 20 runs per wicket.
And he finished with 431 wickets from just 86 matches - averaging over five wickets per Test.
If Ishant ever wants to emulate those feats, he will have to turn a corner somewhere. Hadlee had higher expectations from the lanky Delhi fast bowler.
“He surely made an impact when he came on the scene. I expected a lot more from him. I don’t know what it is, maybe the lengths he bowls. But something is not right. And something is not working,” Hadlee told the Hindustan Times on Sunday.
Hadlee hoped to see Zaheer Khan back playing for India soon.
“He’s a fine bowler. Zaheer can change the pace so subtly. He can swing the ball both ways. He had some real aggression about him.
“He gets wickets out of nowhere really. Suddenly something happens, and he picks up a wicket. I do hope that he beats his fitness issues and makes a comeback.
“He’s a quality bowler. And India could really use him on overseas trips,” said Hadlee, of the out-of-favour left-arm paceman.