Ishant got his length wrong, says Lawson
It's natural that being high-profile names, they will be the first to come under the microscope when the Indian cricket team fails. When the powers that be in Indian cricket sit down to take stock of the team's debacle in Australia, they will need to address not just the failure of the famed batting order but the entire machinery. The bowling department also didn't exactly cover itself in glory.
Former Australian fast bowler, Geoff Lawson, who followed India's tour as an expert radio commentator, said the Indian bowlers were completely outperformed by their Aussie counterparts.
"The bowling showed promise but they were not persistent enough. The Indian bowling gave away after the first Test. The wickets in the Test series had a lot of life and it was hard to make runs. The Australian bowlers bowled exceptionally well," Lawson told the Hindustan Times at a function in Mumbai to release Australian woman cricketer Lisa Sthalekar's book.
Returning from injury, Zaheer Khan bowled within himself and tearaway Umesh Yadav excelled in bursts. But consistent, penetrative bowling in a pack like the Australians was lacking. One big factor was the poor strike-rate of Ishant Sharma, who took only five wickets in four Tests, while off-spinner R Ashwin just didn't make an impression.
"Sharma is a good bowler, but couldn't get his length right," said Lawson. After more than four years experience of playing at the highest level, it's quite frustrating to see him struggle to take that step from just bowling well to becoming an effective wicket-taker. Wicket-taking is a fine art, mastered by the very best.
It was on the previous tour to Australia in 2007-08 that Sharma announced his arrival at the international stage with his fine spell against Ponting at Perth.
"I liked his effort even at Adelaide (fourth Test), he didn't lack for effort. The problem was he was bowling Indian length on Australian wickets; bowling a bit short."
Lawson blames the coaching staff for Ishant still not realising his potential.
"You know he is a quality bowler, what are the coaching staff doing? They should be helping him sort it out," he said.
Despite his mediocre returns, Sharma is still indispensable as the Indian fast bowling cupboard is bare. "Have you got anyone better?" asked Lawson.
"You have another good bowler in Varun Aaron. It's up to them to take the next step."