Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar. Credit: AFP

Senior India pacer Ishant Sharma has made his lengths fuller in recent years which has revived his career, observed former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Monday after the lanky pacer bagged his 300th Test wicket in the first Test match against England in Chennai.

Ishant has had a visible improvement in his bowling in the last three years: since the start of 2018, he has picked 74 wickets in 19 Tests at an average of 19.39; compared to the average of 36.55 in his previous 79 Tests.

Sunil Gavaskar reckons it is Ishant’s change in length – now more full than previously – which is the reason’s for his massive success in the last three years. The 71-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator opines that earlier Ishant Sharma used to toil hard but was a tad luckless.

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma [Image Credits: Getty]

“He’s bowling a lot further. He was earlier on bowling maybe around 18 inches shorter and so, therefore, was going past the outside edge, beating the batsmen. It was all looking very good but in the wickets column he wasn’t actually showing results,” Sunil Gavaskar said while speaking with Star Sports.

However, as Gavaskar points out, Ishant is getting more dismissals of bowled and lbw instead of just searching the outside edge of the batsman. This has come as a result of the 32-year-old bowling further in the hunt for the swing and seam movement.

“Now that he’s started doing that in the last 2-3 years, this the kind of dismissals he gets – LBW, with the ball keeping low. The further you bowl, the more you get the opportunity to make the bowl move in the air or off the pitch,” the former opener added.

Ishant Sharma becomes only the third Indian pacer to 300 Test wickets

On Day 4 of the first Test match in Chennai of the ongoing series between India and England, with the wicket of Dan Lawrence – leg before wicket – Ishant Sharma became only the sixth Indian bowler, and third Indian pacer after Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan to snare 300 Test wickets. Apart from Dev and Khan, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, and R Ashwin have taken more Test wickets than the Delhi Capitals seamer.

Ishant Sharma, James Faulkner
Ishant Sharma. Getty Images

Making his red-ball debut for India in 2007 against Bangladesh in Dhaka, the Delhi-born took 98 Tests to achieve this feat. However, the journey has been a rollercoaster ride for Ishant; his career has been dented with plenty of injuries and had to drop playing white-ball cricket for India after ordinary returns – which indeed prolonged his Test career.

Ishant’s Test career got a huge uplift when he played for Sussex in County cricket and improved under the guidance of former Australia pacer, Jason Gillespie – but it was all possible only because he went unsold in the IPL auction that year!

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