Ishant Sharma’s Coach Blames Virat Kohli
Ishant Sharma’s joy of helping Team India win their first Test series in Sri Lanka since 1993-94 was short lived after the lanky pacer, who turned 27 yesterday, was slapped with a one-Test ban on Tuesday following Virat Kohli & Co’s 117-run win in the final Test in Colombo.
Ishant played a pivotal role in India’s series victory, claiming 13 wickets in the series with eight of them coming in the final Test to clinch the series 2-1. However, in the process, Ishant crossed the line of aggression to attract match referee Andy Pycroft’s attention. As a result, he will miss the first Test against South Africa at Mohali in November.
Ishant was seen giving an ugly send-off to Sri Lankan opener Upul Tharanga in the second innings. It was the third time he was found guilty of this offence in the three-Test series. In another incident, Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal was handed a one-ODI suspension for deliberate physical contact with Ishant while Lahiru Thirimanne and Dhammika Prasad were fined 50 per cent of their match fees.
Although Kohli said that Ishant’s aggression was perfectly timed for the Indian team, the pacer’s childhood coach Shravan Kumar blamed the Indian skipper and Team Director Ravi Shastri for allowing Ishant to cross the line.
“Ishant crossed the limit this time. Sledging is a part of the game, but by making gestures he invited more trouble from the match referee. I think he got carried away with the dressing room atmosphere, especially when you have a captain and Team Director who talk so much about aggression,” Kumar told mid-day from New Delhi.
“I will definitely ask him to control his aggression. By now, he must have realised that he is the one who suffered in this incident. The team management hasn’t come forward to request the match referee to remove his ban. Ishant needs to be counseled and learn the art of sledging, which is a very subtle act,” said the coach.
The Sri Lanka tour was a landmark series for Sharma, who became only the 11th bowler in history to claim 200 Test wickets before turning 27. Ishant trapped SL skipper Angelo Mathews, whose century threatened to take the game away in the second innings. Ishant trapped Mathews leg before to claim his 200th wicket. “He was determined to complete 200 Test wickets on this tour. I am glad he achieved it,” said Kumar.
The coach said shortening the run-up helped him perform better. “International cricketers prefer spending more time in the gym, but Ishant hit the ground daily, bowling for almost two to three hours in the nets. He worked on his fitness and rhythm. He also shortened his run-up which helped him do well. The best thing was he bowled consistently well in the three Tests,” signed off Kumar.