Virat Kohli comes to Ishant Sharma's defence

Oct 16, 2013, 00:08 IST | Jasvinder Sidhu

Batsman backs underfire pacer ahead of the second ODI against Australia; says can't drop him on the basis of just two ordinary performances

The seven-match ODI series between India and Australia has witnessed just one game so far, but players like Ishant Sharma are already under the scanner, thanks to his wayward display in Pune.

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma

The lanky paceman gave away 56 runs in seven overs for his one wicket and had the worst economy rate amongst the front-line bowlers. It’s too early to predict what Ishant will finally end up achieving in the series, but the track at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here could offer him some encouragement. The pitch is receptive to good fast bowling, so, the Delhite has a good chance to make amends this evening.

Virat Kohli came to Ishant’s defence on the eve of the game saying: “You can’t drop someone just based on one or two performances. Ishant bowled well for us in England and West Indies. You can’t count just two matches. The Australian bowlers gave away 200 runs in the T20 in Rajkot, but they haven’t changed the team, ” Kohli said.

Meanwhile, curator Taposh Chatterjee told MiD DAY: “The ball will carry here. This pitch has good bounce. It is a good pitch for bowlers like Ishant and also good for batting as the ball will come up and they can play horizontal shorts with ease.” 

Critics are comparing Indian bowlers, especially Ishant, with the Australian pace attack and the way they use their pace, movement and seam, so it remains to be seen how he matches up.

Like Indian skipper MS Dhoni, Kohli too insisted that the team is adept at handling well-directed short pitched deliveries. “We didn’t get out to short balls. We played bad shots. Our batsmen mostly got out in the slip region, got LBW or were bowled. The short ball was just a tactic which every team uses,”
Kohli said.

‘Aus can get better’
The Aussies have begun the series convincingly, but vice-captain Brad Haddin felt his team needed to step up its game further in order to triumph in India. “We are happy that we could win the first game. It is good to start with a victory but it is a seven match series and you need to get better and better and it is more important to play well in the game here tomorrow,” said Haddin.

“The conditions here are good, another high scoring game. The wicket is full of runs. Shane Watson and James Faulkner have played a lot of games here recently and they were telling that it was a good wicket to bat on,” he said. As far as India is concerned, the top-order will need to fire collectively and find immediate solutions of negotiating the short-pitched stuff, lest they concede a 2-0 lead.

It may also be recalled that Dhoni had scored his career-best knock of 183 in an ODI against Sri Lanka eight years back at the same venue and if he can manage anything of that sort, it will be an evening to remember for India.

Figure trigger

The number of matches played between India and Australia at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. India won that game by seven wickets way back in September 1986.

The number of wickets Ravindra Jadeja needs to complete 100 victims. In 81 matches so far, he has captured 96 wickets at an average of 30.64 and an economy rate of 4.60.

The number of wickets Ishant Sharma needs to complete a 100-wicket haul in his career spanning seven years and 66 ODIs. Ishant though is yet to register a five-for in an innings.

Number of runs scored by Virat Kohli in this calendar year. In the process he hit two centuries and four fifties at an average of 44.11. He is the highest run-getter for India and fourth highest, behind Misbah-ul-Haq (961), Kumar Sangakkara (883) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (789), in the world during this period. 

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