'Spearhead status is hurting Ishant'

'Spearhead status is hurting Ishant'

Work cut out: Ishant Sharma, honing his skills at a practice session in Mumbai on Thursday, needs to pull up his socks. PTI“Sharma’s an example of young players who, when they do start well, there’s expectation on them the whole way through. They find it difficult, they become targeted by opposition teams,” Nielson was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Rather than being the second or third fast bowler in the group, you all of a sudden become the one everyone’s very aware of. They haven’t had Zaheer Khan playing for them for the last little while through injury, so he’s had to take on a leadership mantle. All those things add up to mean more responsibility and more pressure,” he said.

India and Australia start a seven-match one-day series from Sunday in Vadodara, and Ishant’s lean patch is a cause for concern in the host camp.

The 21-year-old speedster, who came across as an exciting talent when he first burst on to the international stage, is miserably out of form currently, coming a cropper at last month’s Champions Trophy.

Nielsen said Ishant’s poor form could be one of the reasons why the Board of Control for Cricket in India sacked bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad and fielding coach Robin Singh.
“That may be one of the reasons why they’ve changed their staff, trying to spark a bit of a change of message or voice to their younger players who might’ve gone a little off the boil over the last little while,” Nielsen said.

Prasad and Robin were with the Indian team since 2007 but never got a formal contract.