Former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra has come to the defence of veteran seamer Ishant Sharma, who looks set to lose his place in the starting XI following a lacklustre showing in the third Test at Headingley.
Picked ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant had an outing to forget at Headingley, finishing with figures of 0/92 off his 22 overs. The 32-year-old kicked off proceedings with the ball with a rusty nine-ball over, and the opening over ended up setting the tone for what was about to come. The veteran struggled for rhythm, and his lacklustre outing aided England in their quest to bat India out of the game.
There have thus been calls to drop Ishant, but Nehra believes that it will be ‘too harsh’ to judge the veteran based on one game.
“It will be too harsh on Ishant Sharma if we judge and discuss his place in the side after just one Test match. Somebody asked me yesterday, was Headingley Test Ishant Sharma’s last? I was very surprised that somebody even asked me that question,” Nehra said during a select media interaction organised by Sony Sports Network, reported Hindustan Times.
“You can’t judge someone like an Ishant Sharma on one game performance. Yes, we have good four-five bowlers and there is a competition there but you don’t want to see a different bowler in every Test match.”
The former Indian seamer admitted that Ishant looked off rhythm, but insisted that he was far from the only person to blame for the visitors’ humiliating defeat in the third Test at Headingley.
“Ishant is someone who bowls a no-ball here and there, as do Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja. Yes, according to me, Ishant Sharma wasn’t looking in the best of the rhythms. We lost that test match so we are discussing that more.
“Ishant’s rhythm was not the reason we lost it. But don’t forget he missed the first game because of a niggle. In the second, it took him a while but because of experience of playing more than 100 Tests, he got back to his groove quickly and had a good Lord’s Test,” Nehra said.
The 42-year-old further said that he expects Ashwin to play in the fourth Test at The Oval, but claimed that there is a minute chance that the off-spinner might even take the place of Mohammed Siraj.
“Because of conditions in Oval, we might Ashwin get a game in place of a fast bowler, whether it is in place of Ishant or Siraj, only time will tell,” Nehra said.