Wonderful to see Ishant maintain such level of consistency: VVS Laxman
Ishant Sharma picked 11 wickets from two Tests. (AFP Image)

Former India batsman VVS Laxman is impressed watching Ishant Sharma develop into the leader of the Indian Test bowling line-up and maintain an uncanny level of consistency over the years. Ishant picked up 13 wickets in the two-Test series against West Indies, including a five-wicket-haul in the first Test and capped it with a maiden Test fifty as India secured a 2-0 clean sweep.

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Laxman, Ishant’s former teammate is thrilled to see Ishant, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah form a formidable pace attack for India.

“While he is the leader of the attack, it was wonderful to see Ishant maintain his consistency of the last few years, as well as put a price on his wicket. I am sure he must have been as delighted with his maiden half-century as a five-wicket haul. He and Shami are experienced pros, and form alongside Bumrah a pace attack as good as, if not better than, any going around in world cricket.” Laxman wrote in Thursday’s column for Times of India.

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Besides Ishant, Laxman had wonderful things to say about Hanuma Vihari and Bumrah. Batting at No. 6, Vihari announced himself scoring 298 runs including two half-centuries and a hundred, whereas Bumrah rattled West Indies with two five-wicket-hauls including a hat-trick, becoming only the third Indian Test bowler to the landmark.

“There is so much to admire about the brand of cricket India played, and no one exemplified it better than Hanuma Vihari with the bat and Jasprit Bumrah with the ball. I have followed Vihari’s career closely. I am convinced the years of first-class cricket have instilled the temperament and mindset to score runs consistently in Test cricket,” Laxman said.

“Speaking from experience, I can say that batting at No. 6 is not an easy task. But Vihari has been at home, enhancing his reputation as a Test batsman with every outing. He is very calm and mature at the crease, looks to dominate the spinners with exemplary use of the feet, and is assured against fast bowling. I look forward to greater things from him.

“Bumrah, of course, has been a sight to behold for some time now. He is in complete command of his craft and you can actually see him develop and improve each day.”

That said, Laxman also addressed the few lingering issues such as KL Rahul’s inability to covert starts and Cheteshwar Pujara’s rare failure in a Test series. Rahul scored 44 and 38 in Antigua and looked solid, but was dismissed cheaply in both innings in Jamaica. Pujara, on the other hand, managed just 60 in four innings, a stark contrast to the Border-Gavaskar series, where India’s No. 3 sparkled with 521 runs.

“There were lots of positives for India, but question marks hang over the batting. Cheteshwar Pujara must be disappointed at a modest start to a new season, but the greater concern is over KL Rahul. His ability is never under question, and he is no longer a newcomer to Test cricket. He has got numerous opportunities, but he has often flattered to deceive. India will look for more from him and Rishabh Pant, both with the bat and the gloves, in future,” Laxman said.