Ishant's Bowling Is As Good As It Always Has: Ricky Ponting > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Ishant is bowling as good as he ever has: Ricky Ponting

Ishant Sharma dismissed both the openers - Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock - in the powerplay in Delhi Capitals opening match

Ishant Sharma's IPL graph is quite fascinating. A big-money bid from the Kolkata Knight Riders before the inaugural season came at the back of his excellent outing in Tests in Australia as a 19-year-old, and held his own in the cruel format for his ilk for three out of the next five seasons until 2013. And then he tapered off. Since the start of 2014, Ishant has only played in 17 IPL matches across four years - picking up a total of seven wickets and not once bowling at an economy rate lower than nine-an-over.

When Delhi Capitals briefly tussled with Rajasthan Royals for Ishant's signature in the 2019 auction late last year, the now Test spearhead for India may not have been their first-choice pick. Moments before Ishant came up for the bidding, Capitals had tested waters by going hard for Jaydev Unadkat. But their upper limit - of 4.60 Crore - was far too short compared to how much Unadkat went to Rajasthan Royals for - INR 8.40 Crore. Capitals would then nearly go all the way for Varun Aaron too, in the hope of having more experienced options in their ranks, but that was not to be.

Capitals began 2019 IPL with an Indian fast bowling contingent comprising Ishant Sharma and a bunch of young pacers with a collective experience of less than 50 IPL games between them, and ran the risk of having to compromise on team balance in favour of playing Trent Boult and Kagiso Rabada in most games irrespective of conditions.

But much to Capitals and Ricky Ponting's delight, Ishant showed no T20 rustiness in the side's opening game win against Mumbai Indians. "I had a great chat with him last night after the game. Ishant's work ethic in DC has been absolutely outstanding. The first day of training, I went to him and told him what I expected of him as far as a player is concerned. He is an experienced guy playing a lot of international cricket," Ponting said on the eve of Capitals' first home game of the season.

His final figures of 2 for 34 may not depict the full story as his first three overs inside the PowerPlay had a big impact on the direction that Mumbai's chase would take. Both his wickets of MI's openers came during this period, and off expertly disguised knuckle balls that crippled the home side early. The Delhi pacer hasn't donned India colours in limited-overs format since 2016, but Ponting reckons he's back to bowling as good as he ever has.

"I think he is bowling as good as he has ever bowled in his career. Even at his pace, he is bowling as quick as he has ever bowled in his career. He did a great job for us last night bowling those three overs, in Powerplay and set the game up for us. When as a coach you see guys like that work that hard and get the result, it's really pleasing. A big pat on the back for him."

Ishant's notable start will keep the DC decision-makers content for now, and even be a strong motivator for them to bring in Sandeep Lamichhane in place of Trent Boult for the CSK game to deal with the sluggishness of the Delhi pitch - should they decide to do that.

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