Indian bowlers have come in for a lot of criticism for their profligate show in the ongoing seven-match one-day international series against Australia and Ishant Sharma in particular has copped most of that flak.
His 30-run over that changed the equation in favour of the visitors in the third game at Mohali, one thought, will see him eased out for the remainder of the series but the selectors have thrown another lifeline at the paceman by retaining him in the squad.
With his place in the side on the line, Ishant has to make quick amends to his wayward ways. Heartbreaking as it may have been for the bowler to see him repeatedly deposited over the fence, Ishant needs to put that disappointment behind. The lanky bowler was seen putting in those extra yards at the nets here on Monday at the JSCA Stadium which will host the fourth one-dayer.
While the rest of the Indian players decided to stay in the comforts of their hotel rooms, Ishant made it to the ground with bowling coach Joe Dawes, fielding coach Trevor Penny in toe and fellow paceman Jaydev Unadkat, who is yet to get a look-in in the three-match old series.
From Rajkot (the lone T20 match) to Mohali, the Indian attack has made little impact on the Aussie batsmen. While they conceded over 200 in the T20 match, each of the three one-dayers has seen Australia stack up over 300 runs. And it’s only because of their batsmen that India have managed to stay afloat in the rubber.
Having survived the axe, Ishant appeared to be not taking things for granted as he bowled for over an hour with Dawes putting him through various tests during an intense afternoon session.
The Australian, besides working on a few technical issues like his delivery stride and follow through, made both Ishant and Unadkat practice yorkers.
Dawes lined up cones on either side of the final approach to the bowling crease, leaving Ishant a narrow space to bowl through. The purpose seemed to ensure that the right-arm quick didn’t go too wide off the crease and nor did he veer too much towards the right after delivering the ball.
It was obviously a tough task but Ishant first walked through the lane between cones and bowled, then he bowled off a short run-up before resuming his normal stride. Dawes engaged him in frequent discussions, pointing towards the spot where he was landing the ball. Meanwhile, Penny was marking the spot.
While the Delhi bowler is putting in earnest efforts, it remains to be seen how much of it will actually translate into good result in the match.