Tuesday, January 18, 2022

IND vs NZ Live: Steve Harmison on Ishant Sharma – ‘For the life of me I don’t understand how he got to play in Kanpur’

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IND vs NZ Live: Former England pacer Steve Harmison has rated Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav’s performance in the first Test in Kanpur as “below par”, also expressing surprise on inclusion of the former in the playing XI. Follow more updates on India vs New Zealand matches on InsideSports.IN. 

The 43-year-old, backed Mohammed Siraj to replace Ishant Sharma, the only India pacer to play over 100 Tests for India. The 33-year-old lanky pacer went wicketless even as all the other four bowlers managed to take a wicket at least in each of the two innings in Kanpur. Umesh Yadav scalped two wickets in the match.

IND vs NZ Live: Steve Harmison on Ishant Sharma – ‘For the life of me I don’t understand how he got to play in Kanpur’

“For me both seamers were also below par in the first Test match, for the life of me I don’t understand how Ishant Sharma got another game of Test cricket after what he did in England, so for me I’d bring [Mohammed] Siraj in for him. The three spinners bowled well enough, so they’ll be the only changes I make,” Harmison told talkSPORT.

During the England tour, Ishant Sharma picked three crucial wickets in the first innings of the World Test Championship (WTC) Final against New Zealand. The Delhi pacer went wicketless in the second innings as the Kiwis clinched the inaugural title by 8 wickets.

Later, in the Test series against England, he managed five wickets across the two innings of Lord’s Test which India won comprehensively by 151 runs to go up 1-0 in the series. In the following match of the 5-Test series, Ishant failed to take any wicket again as England levelled the series with an innings and 76 runs win. He was dropped from the fourth Test as Shardul Thakur took his place in the eleven and two very important wickets to help India win by 157 runs.

IND vs NZ Live: Steve Harmison on Ishant Sharma – ‘For the life of me I don’t understand how he got to play in Kanpur

Both Pujara and Rahane looked done: Harmison

Further, Harmison reckoned that experienced India duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane who have played 91 and 79 Tests respectively, looked “done” during the Kanpur Test which ended in a dramatic draw on December 29.

While, Rahane has failed to score a hundred since January 2019, Ajinkya Rahane is averaging below 20 in his last 12 matches. Steve Harmison has backed Shreyas Iyer to stay in the eleven despite Kohli’s arrival, also urging the Indian team management to get Suryakumar Yadav in the mix of things.

“I think they both make way, there’s lots of questions about Rahane and Pujara, they both might make way. I think Suryakumar Yadav, he plays in Mumbai for Mumbai Indians.

“He was brought into the squad a replacement for KL Rahul, I think they both [Rahane and Pujara] looked as if they were done, they both walked off the field in that first innings as I they knew it may be the last time they walk off the field for India.

“Pujara especially, 39 innings without a hundred is a long time for a player to bat in the top six and still warrant a place in that great Indian side,” Harmison said.

“There’s a lot of players missing at the moment and you might just see another debutant or player who hasn’t played a lot of international cricket. I’d leave both out as they’ve both been as bad as each other because you’re definitely going to bring Kohli back into the side.

“The question is then who do you bat at No.3? I think it’ll be harsh just to leave either of them out, I think it’s time for India to make a change of both of them,” Harmison added.

In the pre-match press conference Virat Kohli has said that a final decision on the playing combination will be taken after analysing the conditions on Friday, moments ahead of the series-deciding Test.

IND vs NZ Live: Steve Harmison on Ishant Sharma – ‘For the life of me I don’t understand how he got to play in Kanpur

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