Ishant earns workhorse' tag ahead of first Test

Former Oz pace great Craig McDermott says he is stunned with the number of deliveries (13, 419) the Indian bowled.

New Delhi: It's not everyday that an Indian bowling attack is touted as favourites going into an away series but Craig McDermott feels that Ishant Sharma's "workhorse" like ability will give Virat Kohli the edge against the West Indies in an away Test series starting on Thursday.

"I like Ishant. He has been a real workhorse for India. Look at the number of balls he has bowled at such young age (13,419 balls). There are times when he has bowled short as he is a tall guy. If he can hit the right length at that pace of 140-145 kmph, he can trouble the West Indies batsmen," former Australian cricketer McDermott said.

The 51-year-old till recently was the Australian bowling coach and had seen the Indian bowlers up close. The other bowler who has caught his attention was Varun Aaron, who is currently with the India A team.

"I had seen Aaron when he came to Australia last time. He gets some shape with the ball which is a good thing. What I like about India is that they now have five genuine quick bowlers to fall back on," said the 51-year-old, who had 291 wickets from 71 Tests.

Having been to West Indies a multiple time as player and a coach, McDermott has witnessed a transformation in the character of pitches from being fast and bouncy to slow turners.

"In West Indies, the length will be key as the wickets would not have much bounce. They are playing in Antigua where it will be low bounce. At Kingston in Jamaica, it has become very slow. In St Lucia, I remember Australia playing an ODI where there was fair bit of bounce. But this Indian attack I feel is well versed."

At his peak, McDermott was one of the finest outswing bowlers of the mid 80's to early 90's feels that it is an excuse that people can't bowl to a channel which can cause a lot of discomfort for the batsmen due to advent too much of T20 cricket.

"I think that can't be an excuse. Doesn't Virat, Steve Smith play all formats and play successfully. Why can't bowlers do that. Hitting the channel boils down to practice.

Yes, it's tough being a bowler with bigger bats, flatter pitches and balls not doing much."

On a different aspect, McDermott spoke about leading left-arm fast bowler in world cricket Mitchell Starc with whom he had worked extensively in the Australian set-up.

"Starc has developed as a complete bowler in red ball cricket. He can bowl reverse swing which is a big attribute. I am looking forward to the next five years which will be exciting. The years between 27-33 years.”

( Source : PTI )
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