India’s most experienced fast bowler Ishant Sharma’s absence from the four-match Test series against Australia has turned out to be one major topic of discussions. Ishant had played a major role in India’s first-ever Test series win on Australian soil in 2018-19 and his absence is sure to take some shine off from India’s potent pace attack led by Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
At a time when India still ponder over Ishant’s replacement for the first Test against Australia, which will also mark the first-ever day-night pink ball affair between the two sides starting from Thursday, former India pacer Ajit Agarkar shared his thoughts on the lanky pacer.
Agarkar pointed out how former India captain MS Dhoni turned Ishant into a better bowler.
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Ishant, who burst onto the scene with a menacing spell against former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting in 2008-09, lacked the ability to take wickets in a bunch. He was always a bankable option but never quite the match-winner. Agarkar explained how Dhoni persisted with him to get the best out of the Delhi pacer.
“MS Dhoni, when he was captain, used him as that guy who just bowled a lot of overs in the day and then got a few wickets, and he had his main strike bowlers whom he kept rotating,” Agarkar told Sony Sports Network ahead of the first Test.
Ishant might be missing the Australia Test series due to an injury he picked up in the IPL but Agarkar said the veteran of 97 Tests deserves the credit for maintaining his fitness for such a long time.
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“Fitness is one of the things that has kept him in good stead throughout his career. Anyone who’s played over 90 Tests has to have good fitness. And his bowling started to improve, started to impress… one of the reasons was because he doesn’t play white-ball cricket, he’s always a lot fresher once he comes into a Test series. His bowling doesn’t fall as much when he’s tired. That’s why his lengths are better,” he said.
Umesh Yadav appears to be the front-runner to grab the third seamer’s spot in the first Test at Adelaide. However, he will receive tough competition from Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini.