After his match-winning spell at Lord’s, Ishant Sharma had lamented that his efforts aren’t appreciated if he isn’t among the wickets. According to him, he gets praise only when he picks wickets, which was the case at Lord’s. Sharma says he has always given it his best when is out in the middle. However, it hasn’t always reflected in his figures. After a long time, Sharma came up with a match-winning performance in the second Test at England. Unfortunately, he got himself injured, and isn’t featuring at Southampton. It can be said that he has let down the side in a manner, and also raises questions about his fitness.
Coming back to Sharma’s disappointment at the lack of appreciation for him, he cannot complain about being criticised, for his record proves that he has underperformed. His figures in Test cricket prove that he has not lived up to expectations. In 57 Tests, he has managed to claim only 174 wickets at an unacceptable average of 37, and a strike rate of 66. In these matches, he has claimed only six five-wicket hauls and seven four-wicket hauls. Also, he has only one 10-wicket match haul to his credit – with best match figures of 10/108. His record is the worst among bowlers who have played over 50 Tests – that says a lot.
South Africaa’s Morne Morkel has played the same number of Tests as Sharma, and has a superior record. In 57 Tests, he has claimed 196 wickets at an average of 30.2 with six five-wicket hauls and ten four wicket hauls. Although he is yet to claim ten wickets in a match, Morkel has a much superior strike rate of 57. His best figures in an innings are 6 for 23, and those in a match are 8 for 196.
Australia’s moderately talented Peter Siddle has featured in 53 Tests, and already has 188 wickets to his credit at an average of 29.3. Siddle has claimed eight five-wicket hauls and seven four-wicket hauls. His strike rate of 59.6 is also much better than that of Sharma. Siddle’s best figures in an innings are 6 for 54, and that in a match are 9 for 104, which means he is yet to claim a ten-wicket match haul.
The English fast bowler Stuart Broad, who has been a supporting act to James Anderson for the last seven years, has also much better figures in comparison to Sharma. In 71 wickets thus far, he has claimed 252 wickets at an average of 30.6 with 11 five-wicket hauls, eight four-wicket hauls and two ten-wicket match hauls as well. Broad’s strike rate in his Test career is 59.7. Broad’s best figures in an innings are 7 for 44 and those in a match are 11 for 121.
--By A Cricket Analyst