The 12th edition of IPL auction is just around the corner and franchise owners are buckling up to sign some of the best players available. There are as many as 343 players up for grab for a total of 70 spots.
India’s towering pacer Ishant Sharma would certainly want to be one of those by the end of tomorrow. After all, the Delhite has had a very difficult relationship with IPL. Despite his bowling antics for the Indian team, he has competed in only 76 IPL matches since 2008.
Although wickets are not a problem since he has a healthy 59 wickets in those matches at an average of 37. The one thing that has been a bugbear for Ishant Sharma’s IPL success is fitness. The feisty fast-bowler has not been able to keep up with the fast nature of the IPL schedule.
And IPL has been relentless when it comes to fitness of players. It’s not a fault of the IPL team owners. After all, they splash crores of rupees on players and simply cannot afford to lose them even for a short period of time, since it could be a turning point for their campaign. However, it is not players fault as well. And they are expected to compete at the same level every single time.
For instance, take Mohammed Shami. The fast bowler has been a mainstay for the national side and even excelled there. But the demanding schedule of IPL saw him struggle with injury throughout the season. Shami’s reputation as an International star didn’t help as Delhi Capitals, his employers decided to part ways in this year’s transfer window.
Ishant Sharma & IPL
Things were far worse for Ishant Sharma in last year’s IPL auctions, when he could not elicit interest from even a single franchise. At ₹75 lakhs, he didn’t he have a high price tag.
What deterred teams from signing him was the performance they got in return.
In the previous year in 2017, he could play in just 6 matches for KXIP, where he was unable to scalp even a single wicket. Things were even worse in the preceding seasons where he competed in only 4 (2016), 4 (2015) and 3 (2014) matches.
But What is Different This Time?
Quite a lot. First the fact that India’s star bowlers like Bumrah, Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, and Hardik Pandya among others would most probably be unavailable for the latter stages of IPL courtesy of 2019 World Cup. This means that experienced Indian players stock is certain to rise substantially. Ishant Sharma easily dovetails into that category. He is experienced and can bring considerable variations to the table.
Secondly, Sharma has been in prolific form of late, in domestic as well as international platforms. After the disappointing IPL snub, Sharma went to England to play county cricket where he had a successful stint with Champions Sussex. His most notable performance there came playing against Warwickshire, where took 3 wickets for 53 before scalping 5 wickets for 69 runs.
The highlight performance of the 30-year-old in an Indian jersey this year has to be against England when he registered a figure of 5/51 in Birmingham.
He was rightfully rewarded for his performances in England by a place in India’s tour of Australia. He has been in sublime form there as well, returning with 2/47 and 1/48 figures that helped India win the first test.
That brings us to the third USP of the 1.93m-tall bowler- effectiveness in foreign conditions. With a high possibility that IPL would be played in a foreign nation, Ishant would be one of the top Indian bowlers with experience of playing overseas. At a price tag of just ₹ 1 crore, the signing him is an absolute no-brainer.
Ishant Sharma looks pretty destined to change his IPL fortunes – if he manages to keep himself fit.