One of India's leading pace bowlers in Test cricket, Ishant Sharma, may well end up playing in the ICC 2019 World Cup. The Delhi Capitals' bowler, who has been out of action in ODI cricket after the emergence of bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, might well make a comeback on the grandest stage of this format.
He has been added to the group of reserve players for the Indian World Cup squad. These will be called into action in case of injuries to members of the actual squad. The decision to choose Ishant Sharma is both surprising and unsurprising. Having not represented India in the 50-over version of the game, the tall bowler may have lost touch with the format.
However, his reasonably good performance in the Indian Premier League suggests that he is more than capable of holding his own in shorter formats. Also, having played a lot of cricket in England over the years, he has invaluable experience on his side.
Change of fortunes
But the selection of Ishant highlights another aspect of his career. Some years ago, the Delhi lad was considered one of the most annoying Indian cricketers in international arena. The reason wasn't just lack of form but also the constant winging that was perceived to be coming from the player. During India's horror series in Australia in the 2011/12 season, commentator and former Australia captain Ian Chappell said on air that Ishant's demeanour suggests he is constantly looking for consolation from his teammates whereas, the former skipper insisted, what Ishant needed was a 'kick up the backside.'
It was also the time when the Indian team was describing his travails constantly as 'bad luck.' After Quinton de Kock scored his third century in a row against India during the 2013 series, while benefitting from some dropped catches, Ishant described the South African as having been 'lucky.' It got the Indian fans infuriated that a man who blames his failures on bad luck attributes others' success to 'luck.'
But things started to change during India's tour to New Zealand in 2014. Ishant picked up quite a few wickets in the two Tests played in that country and then helped India win a Test at Lord's by picking up a six-wicket haul in England's fourth innings. Since then, he has been a crucial member of Indian team's Test line-up.
Now, when the team is embarking on a campaign to regain the World Cup trophy, his experience and skills may come in handy. However, for that, one of India's first choice bowlers – Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami has to get injured. That is quite a scary scenario for Indian fans.