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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

India vs Bangladesh: ‘If I can take wickets abroad, why not in India?’ - Ishant Sharma

India vs Bangladesh: Ishant’s real complaint was against destiny, which somehow kept him away from wickets despite putting in the hard yards.

cricket Updated: Nov 23, 2019 09:18 IST
Aritra Mukherjee
Aritra Mukherjee
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian bowler Ishant Sharma celebrates with Umesh Yadav.
Indian bowler Ishant Sharma celebrates with Umesh Yadav.(Samir Jana / Hindustan Times)

About a week ago, the biggest mystery in Ishant Sharma’s life was Mohammed Shami’s wickets. “So tell us Shami, what’s the secret? We are tired with just beating the bat!” said Sharma after the Indore Test. The statement may have been made in jest, but the tall fast bowler could well have been excused for feeling hard done as he did not get enough returns despite putting in the hard yards. Whether Shami gave away his ‘secret’ may never be known but Sharma shone bright on Friday afternoon at the Eden Gardens here. He picked up his first five-wicket haul at home after 12 years, that too in India’s maiden day-night Test.

No wonder Sharma roared, lost his breath and roared some more after sending Bangladesh No 8 Nayeem Hasan’s off-stump flying. It was not one of his best deliveries. Nayeem played down the wrong line but Sharma deserved it. He has often seen the best of his efforts go past the outside edge by the thinnest of margins or miss the stumps by a whisker on far too many occasions. Not on Friday.

Also read: Virat Kohli achieves huge milestone in historic pink ball Test

“I thought if I can take wickets abroad, why not in India? We are playing our second series in India in the last two years. We have been playing abroad. So I wanted to continue the form and mindset, the (same) way I perform and take wickets abroad,” said Sharma.

Sharma, who is four Tests shy from reaching the 100-mark, realised early on that there was no point in banging the ball short on a track which was a bit two-paced. “Pink ball is a lot different than the red one. When we started bowling at normal lengths the ball was not swinging that much. We then figured out the length. We talked about it among ourselves, the three fast bowlers. We started hitting the right lengths after that,” added Sharma.

The results came soon when he got his first by trapping opener Imrul Kayes right in front of the wicket with a delivery that came back into the left-hander, something which he has been working on for the past few years. He used the same ball to induce an outside edge from Mahmudullah’s bat and clean up Ebadot Hossain too.

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“I used to bowl outswingers to left-handers. I needed to add variation to become more effective. So in this match, Imrul Kayes’s dismissal was with that delivery and the two right-handers’ too. The idea is to straighten the ball, the right-hander thinks that it might come in but it just holds the line,” explained Ishant, who picked up two wickets before lunch and three after it to return with 5/22 as India bowled out Bangladesh out for 106.

The perfect adjustments come with experience. And Sharma has a lot of it. “I am enjoying my cricket right now. I used to take more pressure before. Now I think about taking wickets only. I know I have the experience to adjust lengths based on the type of wicket,” he said. Sharma’s transformation has been noticed by the opposition camp too. “You look at Ishant from where he was when he started and look at him now. This only comes with experience,” said Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo.