Home > Features >

India tour of England 2014: Ishant Sharma and the curious case of Indian fast bowling

Ishant Sharma's second innings' figures of 7-74 was instrumental in the Indian victory at Lord's © Getty Images
Ishant Sharma’s second innings figures of 7-74 was instrumental in the Indian victory at Lord’s © Getty Images

Much to the surprise of Indian fans and the critics, the Indian bowlers produced a much improved performance on the final day at Lord’s to register a win at the home of cricket in the second Test against England. Ishant Sharma was terrific on that day, but the tour has also seen Indian bowlers come out in a different manner all together. Devarchit Varma delves deeper into the see-saw performances of the Indian bowlers, and explains why it is important for them to put mind over matters.

When Ishant Sharma finished with figures of 7-74 at Lord’s on the final day of the second Test between India and England, the people on the internet were quick to highlight how irregular and inconsistent Ishant Sharma has been in his Test career. After all, only couple of months ago he had the figures of 6-51 and none for 164 in a Test match against New Zealand at Wellington. Just like Ishant’s see-saw performances in Test cricket, the Indian bowling unit has been performing here and there but not consistently. The big question for them is, can they sustain it? If yes, for how long?

Suddenly the fresh Indian bowling attack which was recently lamenting the decline of their star speedster Zaheer Khan is looking in the pink of health and most importantly, looking like the one has the potential to take 20 wickets in a Test match and win them. Surprisingly, this was the same attack that took field on the bouncy and pace-supporting wickets of South Africa and New Zealand, but it was at Lord’s where they actually came to the fore and delivered a performance that would be remembered for years to come.

Indians have never looked the bunch that has strategies. Or atleast with some plans that may actually work. Just like the happy-go-lucky cricketers from the Caribbean, Indians have played series after series without concrete plans and well-defined goals. At least this is what it looked like. They lost almost everywhere outside home and back home they have been able to register wins in Test matches and series because that is where their batsmen open up completely, and there is a continuous influx of spin bowlers who have the potential to win matches for India single-handedly.

So how did India win at Lord’s, one wonders. They won the contest both with the bat and the ball. They might have certainly chalked up a couple of strategies and plans in the build-up to the England tour, but what was important was that they executed them well, at least at Lord’s. But, if India had strategies earlier, how did Ishant Sharma continue to bowl outside the off-stump and get ridiculed the world-over for so long? If MS Dhoni had the marvellous ideas like bowling a barrage of bouncers at the English batsmen, what went wrong when a certain Jimmy Neesham teamed up with Brendon McCullum to deny India an overseas win that might as well have come a couple of months ago in New Zealand.

MS Dhoni for one would say that it was just a matter of time that this bunch of young and talented cricketers got the return of their hard work in the form of a Test match win.

The Lord’s win proves that it is not just the conditions, the pitches, the opposition, the venue that deny India overseas wins. It is also their inner demons. Ishant Sharma proved this fact by revealing that he was not at all interested in bowling bouncers when nothing was working, at all. Not even one. Dhoni insisted still and the result is what you all know. Ishant did not have the confidence or even the very idea that he could use his lanky figure and bend the back and barge in a couple of short ones when Joe Root and Moeen Ali were running away with the match.

Ishant’s self-doubts opened a can which every critic had been waiting to open. To determine why these talented cricketers were not playing up to their potential and why the world champions in 50-over format were not able to come up with ideas and performances that could help them win a Test match.

The revelation of not-willing to bowl even one bouncer proved once again that self-doubt is fast becoming an issue for the Indians. Ishant has so far been unwilling fit into the shoes of Zaheer Khan as the Indian pace spearhead. Does Ishant know that he will succeed? Does Ishant know for sure that he will fail? Do you know? Do I know?

This terrific win at Lord’s should be celebrated, but more than anything else it tells us that the ridiculed, self-doubting yet talented Indian cricketers can do a world of good for themselves if they put mind over matters.

Well done Ishant Sharma and Mahendra Singh Dhoni for scripting a win that will be remembered for generations. After all, the horrendous run in overseas Tests began in England back in 2011, and you ended it where it all started, that too with some style.

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

Phil Hughes passes away: Video tribute

Phillip Hughes passes away: Let us bring Sean Abbott back on track

Phil Hughes and other cricketers who succumbed to on-field injuries

Phillip Hughes 7th-youngest Test cricketer to die

Phillip Hughes: A brief look at the career of one of Australia’s most promising talents

Phillip Hughes: Rest in peace

Australia Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 Pakistan Phil Hughes Phil Hughes Death Phil Hughes head injury Phillip Hughes Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Sean Abbott’s future a concern, say former cricketers

Phillip Hughes passes away: Real Madrid star Gareth Bale expresses disappointment

Phillip Hughes passes away: Ahmed Shehzad admits he froze upon hearing the news

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 4th ODI at Dhaka Preview: Hosts look to continue dominance

Phillip Hughes passes away: Erapalli Prasanna suggets lighter bats to negotiate bouncers

Phillip Hughes passes away: Crying for Phillip Hughes

Phillip Hughes passes away: Let us bring Sean Abbott back on track

Phil Hughes and other cricketers who succumbed to on-field injuries

IPL 2013 spot-fixing controversy: When Will the Supreme Court make the whole Mudgal report public?

Phillip Hughes 7th-youngest Test cricketer to die

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Yo Yo Honey Singh goes into depression? His whereabouts unknown!

इबोला प्रायोगिक दवा के प्रयोग के नतीजे सकारात्मक आए

Shocking: Priyanka Chopra’s property a part of a sex racket?

Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Aamir Khan to share stage with Rajat Sharma to celebrate 21 years of Aap Ki Adaalat!

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Kanika Maheshwari aka Meenakshi of Diya Aur Baati Hum: Gautam needs to control his anger a little

सुपरमॉडल केट का क्रिसमस के लिए ब्यूटी टिप्स

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here