Former India captain Kapil Dev feels that despite all his talent, speedster Ishant Sharma lacks the ability to bowl “wicket-taking deliveries” more consistently.
Ishant, who missed the series against New Zealand due to Chikungunya, is back in the squad for the upcoming England Tests starting November 9 in Rajkot.
The lanky pacer’s Test statistics of 209 Test wickets from 72 games with a strike rate of 66.6 (nearly 11 and half overs for a wicket) stick out like a sore thumb and Kapil said he has to strive for consistency.
“I think Ishant is a very good bowler. He is a genuine quick bowler with great height. But he has to develop the wicket-taking ball, that ability to take wickets at crucial times. Perhaps that’s where he is lacking. There is no shortage of ability and talent but somewhere the talent to take wickets is missing,” Kapil said during an interaction organised by the Star Sports ahead of the five-match India-England series starting on Wednesday.
For the record, Kapil took 300 wickets in 83 Tests with most of them on Indian batting feather-beds.
Asked what Ishant needs to do in order to break partnerships on batting tracks, Kapil said he expects the lanky fast bowler to be more disciplined.
“One needs to bowl better, consistently bowl a better line and length. It’s not about bowling two very good deliveries in an over but you have to bowl five good balls. Then only you can pick up more wickets.”
Recently chairman of selectors MSK Prasad spoke about the search for ‘Next Kapil Dev’ which is on for the last 22 years since he retired from Test cricket with 434 wickets and 5000 plus runs in Test cricket.
With Hardik Pandya looking set for a Test debut as an all-rounder, Kapil said it is difficult to have equal success in both departments considering the amount of cricket that that Indian team plays nowadays.
“Today’s cricket is too demanding. There is bound to be injuries. You play 10 months in a year. It’s not easy for an all-rounder to continue playing and performing in both departments.”
Ask him about Hardik Pandya being considered the next Kapil Dev, he answered: “You don’t have to find somebody. Every player will come with his own ability to make his own name.Can India find another Sachin Tendulkar, another Sunil Gavaskar? I think everybody comes out with his own performance and personality. It is very difficult to start looking for somebody. My idea is that you should pick the best player around and make him a better player.”