Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma (Credits: Twitter)

Steve Harmison, the former England pacer, couldn’t understand why pacer Ishant Sharma was picked after his performance in England after the first Test versus Kiwis ended in a thrilling draw.

Even a couple of years back, Ishant Sharma was India’s most improved bowler. In the first few years of his Test career, barring a five-wicket-haul on debut, the unforgettable spell at Sydney to Ricky Ponting and a match-winning seven-for at Lord’s came to mind when one thought of Ishant Sharma. But in the last few years, the India pacer had turned a new leaf and emerged to be a part of India’s famous five-pronged pace attack.

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma[Image-Twitter]

Steve Harmison Couldn’t Understand Why Ishant Sharma Played After Failure In England And Wants Mohammed Siraj Replacing Him In The 2nd Test

However, if his performances in the last few Test matches are to be considered, it reflects a throwback to his initial years. While the rest of the pacers have gone from strength to strength, Ishant Sharma has struggled to pick up wickets. After a match-haul of nine wickets against Bangladesh in the Day/Night Test in 2019, the maximum Ishant Sharma has claimed in a match is five wickets.

Ishant Sharma’s lacklustre show was again on display during the 1st Kanpur Test in New Zealand, where the India pacer went wicketless in both innings. Reflecting on the 33-year-old pacer’s reaction, former England pacer Steve Harmison has said that he is baffled seeing Ishant Sharma play another Test match for India, and backed Mohammed Siraj to replace him in the Playing XI for the second Test in Mumbai.

“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,” Steve Harmison said his YouTube channel.

Steve Harmison
Steve Harmison. Image-Twitter

In the World Test Championship final against eventual winners New Zealand in Southampton, Ishant Sharma picked up three wickets, all in the first innings, and went without any in the second. Next, he played the Lord’s Test, where Ishant Sharma grabbed three and two wickets in the first and second innings, respectively.

At Leeds, where England hammered India by an innings and 76 runs, Ishant Sharma again had gone wicketless, which means the India pacer has now failed to pick up a wicket in his last two Test matches.

Mohammed Siraj In Line To Replace Ishant Sharma In The 2nd Test

Ishant Sharma has so far picked 311 scalps in 105 Tests averaging a high 32.41. Ishant Sharma has picked 14 scalps in 8 Tests in 2021 at a high average of 32.71.

Mohammed Siraj (Photo: AP)
Mohammed Siraj (Photo: AP)

Mohammed Siraj, the 26-year-old pacer, signed off the recently concluded Australia 4 match Test series as the highest wicket-taker for his team India, claiming 13 wickets in 3 Tests, including one five-wicket haul. He picked 3 scalps against England, too, playing 2 Tests averaging 22.67. He also played all of the 4 away Tests against hosts England, claiming 14 scaps in 4 Tests averaging 30.71. He has already picked 30 scalps in 9 Tests.

India and New Zealand will clash swords with each other in the 2nd and final Test match on 3rd December 2021. Former England pacer Steve Harmison found it surprising that the Indian team persisted with Ishant Sharma despite how he performed in the recent tour of England. Steve Harmison mentioned that Mohammed Siraj would be the best replacement for the senior pacer.
The first Test ended in a thrilling Day 5 draw as New Zealand hung on to a solitary wicket and managed to scrape a draw in the final few minutes.