The last time Ishant Sharma played for India was in the famous Test win over England at Lord’s, this August. Soon after the triumph he was was ruled out of the remainder of the Test and the entire ODI series due an ankle injury.
His match winning bowling figures of 4/96 at Lord’s earned him the man of the match award and the manner in which he bounced out some of England’s best batsmen was a real treat to watch. The last time the 6′ 4″ pacer sported the blue jersey was way back in January 2014, against New Zealand but Ishant Sharma showed no signs of lack of match time and picked up from where he left in London. Putting on a brilliant show of aggressive fast bowling in Cuttack on Sunday.
In action after nearly 3 months, Ishant seems to have not only recovered well from his ankle niggle but also worked a lot on his fitness and even mildly tinkered his bowling action.
Incidentally, even at Lords Ishant picked up 4 wickets. He worked up some good pace and bounce on the Cuttack wicket, didn’t experiment too much and bowled in the rewarding channel just outside off-stump to most batsmen.
Also, the adjustment of his wrist position while releasing of the ball was evident and seems to have found a good rhythm doing so. Unlike earlier Ishant is releasing the ball with a more pronounced seam, keeping his wrist straight and perpendicular to the ground. Most deliveries were bowled with an upright seam, considering the good bounce he could extract due to his height and the assistance offered by the pitch.
If rumors of veteran pacer Aashish Nehra’s inclusion in the list of probables for the 2015 World Cup are not true, Ishant will be the most experienced fast bowler in the team. Having impressed with his early performances in Australia, the almost legendary spell he bowled to dismiss Ricky Ponting, Ishant could well be India’s bowling spearhead at the World Cup.
He has trained hard and spent extra hours in the gym, something that was evident in his body language, also the catch he took to dismiss Thisara Perera shows that the Delhi lad is giving it his all. This performance against Sri Lanka could just be the shot in the arm that Ishant needs.
If he can carry the confidence and rhythm into the upcoming games and remain injury free Ishant’s selection for the Border-Gavaskar series and the World Cup is all but confirmed.