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'Moolah on offer might distract Ishant'

While Ishant Sharma bagged $950,000 at the IPL auction, his coach feels it might be a case of too much coming too soon in life.
By Avishek Roy | IANS, Avishek Roy
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2008 02:32 AM IST

Ishant Sharma might have left big stars behind in bagging a whopping $950,000 at the Indian Premier League auction but his coach believes it might be a case of too much coming too soon in the youngster's life and fears the burden of billion expectations could put him under huge pressure.

Ishant, who attained stardom in the ongoing series Down Under, surpassed all expectations at the IPL auction on Wednesday when Shah Rukh Khan's Kolkata team bought him at a price which is far more than that of bowling stalwarts Anil Kumble, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Brett Lee, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath.

"He has just entered international cricket. He needs to keep himself fit for top-level cricket. He will be overburdened after playing so much," his coach Sarwan Kumar told IANS on Thursday.

"I am happy that he has overshadowed superstars at yesterday's auction, but it will put additional pressure on him. The franchise that has put so much money on him will obliviously want him to perform in every T20 game in the league," Kumar said.

Sharma, who has bowled around 148 km plus in the Commonwealth Bank tri-series and even touched 150, wrecked the Australian line-up time and again with his sheer pace winning the admiration of former greats and country's cricketing fans alike.

"He has the capability of touching 155 plus regularly but he is young and still has to learn how to preserve his energy for big occasions. He cant' bowl at the same speed in T20 matches and expend all his energy," he said.

Sarwan, who has coached Ishant at the Ganga International School here, said the confidence he has got in the ongoing series has transformed him as a cricketer.

"When you know that the team is looking up to you to deliver, it boosts your confidence. He does not have the fear for his place in the team. He knows that he is a part of the it and that confidence is showing in his bowling," he said.

The family of the beanpole bowler, who is only five Tests and seven one-day internationals old, is equally over the moon with his fairytale climb.

"We spoke to him yesterday and he was asking as to whether we know about the price that he has fetched. He learnt about it from a friend of his and he is very happy," his father Vijay Sharma said.

When Ishant left Indian shores, he was just another kid with dreams of making it big, but his family is now eagerly waiting for his star son to be back home.

"We are very happy for him. He has worked hard and we have supported him all the way."

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