Former India pacer, Lakshmipathy Balaji says that Ishant Sharma’s achievement of 300 Test wickets is rare and a massive feat to claim for a pacer in the present generation. Balaji doffs his hat to the workhorse of the Indian team who is also two Tests away from making his 100th Test appearance.
In an era, where matches occur at a fast pace, and the riches of white-ball cricket has lured several bowlers to drop playing the longer format, Ishant Sharma continues to be the spearhead of the Indian team in red-ball cricket. On Monday in Chennai, he became the sixth Indian bowler and only the third Indian pacer – after Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan – to bag 300 Test scalps.
“Hats off to Ishant. It is very rare for a fast bowler from the Indian sub-continent of this generation to take 300 Test wickets and to approach 100 Test appearances. Ishant is someone who has definitely achieved lofty heights among the current generation of fast bowlers. It is a big, big achievement by Ishant, especially for him to stick to one format, to play with the red ball for nearly 15 years,” Lakshmipathy Balaji told Sportskeeda.
Balaji, who played 43 international matches, points out that Ishant has taken wickets and bowled long spells in the sub-continent conditions despite the pitches being flat initially and then give assistance to the spinners and not much to the pacers.
“That was always bound to happen to a sub-continent fast bowler. The present era sees a lot of flat wickets in the sub-continent and the spinners dominating the scene. If you look at the last 20-25 Tests that Ishant has played in, and he has been at his best in this period even as the spinners have dominated and took more wickets,” the CSK bowling coach said.
Bumrah and Shami provide great support to Ishant Sharma: Lakshmipathy Balaji
The 39-year-old former KKR bowlers also acknowledge the brilliant support Ishant has got from Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in recent years. With the help of this the trio of Bumrah, Shami, and Ishant, India won their maiden Test series in Australia in 2018-19 after winning a Test match in South Africa and England, later registering a Test series victory in West Indies.
“Ishant has great support from Jasprit Bumrah and Md Shami. For a while, he was alone, and previously, he formed a great combination with Zaheer Khan. Numbers do not tell the true story. The numbers do not match with what he has given to the country, the way he bowled, the way he controlled things from his end, the way he has come back each time after an injury,” Laxmipathy Balaji further added.