Former Indian seamer, Ajit Agarkar criticized India’s decision to open the bowling with Ishant Sharma on the opening day of the ongoing Headingley Test after the visitors were bundled out for 78. Agarkar highlighted that Ishant looked lackluster and he was gingerly in his run-up as India struggled to break the opening stand on a dominant day for England.
England’s new found opening pair, Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns made an unbeaten opening partnership of 120 runs as the hosts sealed a 42-run lead to pile up pressure on India. After getting bowled out for their 9th lowest Test score, India started off poorly, allowing Hameed and Burns to get settled into their innings. While Jasprit Bumrah was holding from one end, Ishant never managed to get bis rhythm back.
The senior pacer’s struggles were evident as early as the first over as Ishant bowled a 9-ball over with 2 no-balls and a wide ball. Overall, India struggled to bowl fuller lengths that brought so much success to their English counterparts on the opening day. It looked like the two teams were playing on different pitches as India lost wickets in abundance while they failed to pick up even one wicket.
Talking about Ishant during a chat on Suny Sports, Ajita Agarkar said, “I think Ishant Sharma started with some nice, friendly deliveries outside off, exactly what India didn’t need after getting only 78 runs on the board. It looked that way (looked a bit gingerly). You think that after Lord’s, he was again slow today. That’s why you have to question why he was given the first over. I know he is the senior guy with a lot of experience.”
He further added, “But at the moment, there are two guys who are better than him at the moment in the team. Having been bowled out for 78, that was a decision that they had to make. It may not have worked but bowling Ishant Sharma didn’t look at the right decision.”
Ishant bowled 7 overs and conceded 26 runs and failed to bowl a maiden also became the only bowler failing to do so. Bumrah and Shami bowled 18 overs between them and kept things tight but the wicket didn’t come. Hero of the Lord’s Test, Siraj bowled 7 overs but failed to trouble the two English openers.
Ajit Agarkar Explained, “He (Virat Kohli) knew towards the end of the day’s play who his best bowlers were. It was pretty evident, England were a lot tighter. The conditions were a bit different. England’s two tall bowlers got a bit more bounce. India perhaps were a bit desperate to get wickets.”
Meanwhile, Sanjay Manjrekar said he did not like India continuing with Ishant despite finding out that the senior pacer was finding it difficult to get his rhythm.
Sanjay Manjrekar said, “This is a rare thing. You will never see Ishant Sharma bowl like this. I didn’t like that he was trying to bowl Ishant Sharma back into form by bowling him more overs than he needed to when you have got only 78 on the board. You can’t be giving him more overs when he has been really lacklustre.”