Tom, Dick and Harry of Indian cricket fraternity (read followers) had a busy week thanks to Ishant Sharma’s infamous 30-run over (4, 6, 6, 2, 6 and 6) against Australia in Mohali, that cost us the match and helped Australia go 2-1 up in the seven-match ODI series.
The ramifications, however, were not restricted to the outcome of the match. Ishant’s over allowed the “gully cricket pundits” join cricket writers in raising their opinion on several social media websites.
The comments were so harsh that an aspiring pacer said: “For a few days, Ishant should avoid social media and also not follow any newspaper or television news channel. Else, he will lose his confidence.”
The biggest problem of our cricket-crazy nation is that everyone thinks he/she is a cricket expert and has a right not only to express views but to criticise.
There is no doubt that Ishant bowled an unforgettable over of his career, but he hasn’t committed a crime. Why to boo him to such an extent? Everyone one has a bad day at office and that day it was Ishant’s turn.
Even Ranbir Kapoor starrer Besharam’s box office result was embarrassing. Does it make him a flop actor? Or can we say that he has lost a sense to differentiate between a good and a bad script?
Meanwhile, the tsunami of critics can damage Ishant’s morale. As such there is a dearth of fast bowlers in India, thanks to the flat wickets preferred by the BCCI to make the game entertaining for the fans.
Former India skipper Kapil Dev belongs to a different class as despite all odds, he managed to claim more than 600 international wickets.
Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar and Javagal Srinath did offer a glimpse of hope with their speed, but they too succumb to the batsmen-friendly and spinning tracks in India. They are nowhere near Kapil Paaji’s achievement.
Among the current crop, Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav have an ability to threaten the batsmen but due recurring injury problems they have been on and off the team.
During such crisis, criticisms can demoralise the aspiring cricketers. There will soon be a time when team India will play five spinners because the wickets doesn’t help swing, making fast bowlers stingless.
There should be an attempt not to make Ishant’s over similar to Chetan Sharma’s last ball six at Sharjah in 1980. The Javed Miandad six had long lasting psychological effect on the men in blue.
It took more than a decade to overcome his stigma. Ishant’s inconsistency is not perennial.
Stuart Broad — who was hit for six sixes in an over by Yuvraj Singh — was one of the heroes of England’s 4-0 victory in the 2011 Ashes series. He also went on to become England’s T20 captain.
Talking of the 24-year-old Delhi bowler, Ishant has delivered in the past and has everything in him to make a comeback. Everyone seems to have forgotten the 2008 Perth Test where he bowled an extra ordinary spell troubling Australian skipper Ricky Pointing to script an unthinkable team India victory on the bouncy wicket of WACA.
In his captain’s dairy 2008 pointing wrote, “I will always reckon that if I could have got through just one more over in our second innings, then we might still have won.”
“Tall, lean, ultra-impressive Ishant Sharma, playing just his fourth Test and still eight-and-a-half months short of his 20th birthday, had bowled an awesome spell to me: seven overs where he was fast, aggressive and relentless, where I never felt as if I was truly ‘in’,” he said. Let us give Ishant some time to re-group himself and make a strong comeback. And I am sure he will.