Ishant Sharma closing in on momentous feat for India, set to join Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan in elite list
- India vs England: In the absence of the experienced Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, onus will be on Ishant to shoulder India's fast bowling responsibilities.
The upcoming India vs England Test series holds plenty of significance for Ishant Sharma. The fast bowler last played for India in February of last year in a Test match against New Zealand, before cricket was brought to a halt. Later, he injured himself during the middle of the IPL 2020, which led to him missing the tour of Australia. However, ever since, Ishant has undergone intense rehab at the NCA in Bengaluru before finally being declared fit for the England Tests.
In absence of the experienced Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, onus will be on Ishant to shoulder India's fast bowling responsibilities along with Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur. Ishant is likely to make it to India's Playing XI for the opening Test in Chennai starting February 5, and if and when he does, the fast bowler will find himself on the cusp of a huge achievement for India.
Having played 97 Tests, not only is Ishant on the verge of playing 100 Tests for India during the series, the 32-year-old fast bowler is only three strikes away from completing 300 Test wickets for India. Provided he gets there, Ishant will become the sixth Indian bowler, but only third among fast bowlers, after Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan to achieve the feat for India. Besides, Ishant is only two wickets away from completing 100 Test wickets in India. He will become the fourth India pacer to do so after Kapil (219), Javagal Srinath (108) and Zaheer (104).
Since 2018, Ishant's form has really peaked in Test matches for India. He has a bowling average of under 20, which is better than Bumrah. Ishant makes a breakthrough after every 41.7 balls in Tests, which is six balls better than Bumrah's strike rate of 47.9. And here's a stat that will really act as music to India's ears. The last time when the two teams played in England, Ishant was the leading wicket-taker for his team with 18 wickets.
Ishant is coming off decent match practice for Delhi in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. In four matches, Ishant picked up five wickets and he would be raring to go against the No. 4-ranked Test team in the world.
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