India vs New Zealand, WTC Final: Ishant Sharma one strike away from going past Kapil Dev for impressive overseas record
- With 43 wickets, Ishant Sharma is India's joint-highest wicket-taker in Tests in England along with Kapil Dev and with one more strike, he can surpass the former India captain.
Leading up to the all-important World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand, so much was being speculated about the 11 players Virat Kohli will pick in Southampton. Those were once and for all put to rest as India announced their Playing XI on the eve of the match, which included three pacers – Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami – two spinners in R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
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With Ishant getting the nod over Mohammed Siraj, the veteran of over 100 Tests has the opportunity to create history for India. With 43 wickets, Ishant is India's joint-highest wicket-taker in Tests in England along with Kapil Dev. One more wicket and he will become India's highest Test wicket-taker in England. Additionally, Ishant would needed six more to become the first Test bowler to pick up 50 wickets in England.
He has played 12 Tests in England since the tour of 2011 and has gotten those wickets at an average of 33.90 and a best of 7/74 which he claimed during India's historic Test win at Lord's during the 2014 tour.
If Ishant can take one more wicket during the WTC final against New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, he will go right at the top of the pile. But that's not it. Another impressive feat awaits the 32-year-old India quick. Currently, Ishant has 199 wickets from 60 Tests overseas and with one more wicket, not only will Ishant pick up his 200th outside India but will also join Kapil, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan as only the fourth bowler from the country to get there.
Earlier this year, Ishant had become the sixth Indian bowler and third fast bowler to pick up 300 Test wickets. He got there by dismissing batsman Dan Lawrence during the first Test against England during the home series Along with Bumrah and Shami, Ishant will be expected to head the Indian attack when the WTC final starts.
Ahead of the match, the fast bowler had explained what it takes to succeed in English conditions. "When you bowl in India, after the new ball you get reverse-swing. When you play here, your length becomes fuller because the ball swings. Adjusting to that length is not easy. It takes a lot of effort. Because the weather is cooler here and it takes time to acclimatize," Ishant had said.
"Somebody needs to take the responsibility to look after the ball, to maintain the shine and everything. And after that everything happens. If the ball is well maintained, it'll be easy for the fast bowlers to do the job for the team."