Ishant Sharma on the verge of a historic milestone

The legendary Kapil Dev is the only Indian fast bowler to have played 100 Test matches. Ishant Sharma is just there matches short of the mark.

When you look at Ishant Sharma’s age, 32 years, it’s hard to believe that he’s still quite young as it feels that fans have been seeing him for ages.

Sharma started young as he got the India call-up at just 18. He was a menace on the bouncy surfaces of Australia, and was effective in home conditions as well. But he began to struggle thereafter, and it was only from 2018 onwards that he could realise his true potential.

The lanky pacer has been putting in consistent performances over the last two years and has become one of India’s premier Test bowlers.

In his first 11 Tests, Sharma pocketed 34 wickets at 31.17 and a strike rate of 57.3. Unfortunately, this remains the pacer’s best average to date. He pulled his average below 35 for the first time only in mid-2018, and has been going from strength to strength since.

Sharma was the second slowest to 250 Test wickets and took 86 Tests to reach the milestone. 2010 to 2017 was the worst phase in Ishant’s career as he played 60 Tests and took 172 wickets at an average of 37.22, just one wicket every 68 deliveries.

However, due to the lack of riches in the Indian pace department, he was part of the playing XI more often than not. Come 2018, with the likes of Bumrah and Shami coming into their own under the leadership of the aggressive Virat Kohli, Ishant stepped up big time.

The ball began to roll from the second Test against South Africa in Centurion where Ishant bowled a crucial spell late on the first day to trigger a collapse by dismissing Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers. He has only got better from that day, playing 13 Tests for 52 wickets at an astonishing average of 19.78.

Sharma is the most experienced pacer playing for India at the moment and will complete 100 Test matches shortly. Kapil Dev is the only Indian fast bowler to play 100 Test matches till date.

Many pacers like Zaheer Khan who had a long run for India, could not better the feat of the legendary all-rounder. Sharma is just three matches short of becoming the second of the kind. If he recovers from his injury in time, he will get past the 100-Test mark on India’s 2020-2021 tour of Australia.

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