Former Australian fast bowler Craig McDermott has called India’s strike bowler Ishant Sharma “workhorse” and his ability to bowl long spells gives India a great chance to topple West Indies on slow and low Caribbean pitches. Virat Kohli will be relying on Sharma to give vital breakthroughs.
Ishant Sharma doesn’t get the credit that he deserves. He toils away on unresponsive and flattest tracks and does the hard yards. Bowling in Asia is one of the most difficult jobs for a fast bowler and Sharma has done his job admirably.
“I like Ishant Sharma. He has been a real workhorse for India. Look at the number of balls he has bowled at such young age (13,419 balls). There are times when he has bowled short as he is a tall guy. If he can hit the right length at that pace of 140-145 kmph, he can trouble the West Indies batsmen,” former Australian cricketer McDermott told PTI during an interaction.
McDermott, who till recently was Australia’s bowling coach had some nice words for India’s other speedster Varun Aaron, who is not part of the Indian squad in WI but part of India A.
“I had seen Aaron when he came to Australia last time. He gets some shape with the ball which is a good thing. What I like about India is that they now have five genuine quick bowlers to fall back on,” said the 51-year-old, who had 291 wickets from 71 Tests.
Having been to West Indies a multiple times as player and a coach, McDermott has witnessed a transformation in the character of pitches from being fast and bouncy to slow turners.
“In West Indies, the length will be key as the wickets would not have much bounce. They are playing in Antigua where it will be low bounce. At Kingston in Jamaica, it has become very slow. In St Lucia, I remember Australia playing an ODI where there was fair bit of bounce. But this Indian attack I feel is well versed.”
McDermott was a fiery bowler himself in his playing days and had great success a bowler by doing the basic things again and again and reaping the benefits. He thinks players don’t work hard on their game blame T20 cricket because they are not disciplined in their craft. It is an excuse.
“I think that can’t be an excuse. Doesn’t Virat, Steve Smith play all formats and play successfully. Why can’t bowlers do that. Hitting the channel boils down to practice. Yes, it’s tough being a bowler with bigger bats, flatter pitches and balls not doing much.”
Mitchell Starc has caught the attention of McDermott and he expects big things from him in future. “Starc has developed as a complete bowler in red ball cricket. He can bowl reverse swing which is a big attribute. I am looking forward to the next five years which will be exciting. The years between 27-33 years.”
Bowlers such as Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, and Peter Siddle flourished under McDermott’s tenure and Australia would surely miss “Billy’s” services in nurturing and mentoring quick bowlers.