Ishant Sharma’s childhood coach Sharwan Kumar insisted that his ward was rusty owing to lack of match practice and revealed that the speedster tends to bowl no-balls when he is frustrated and not getting wickets. In what was an innings of rusty professionalism, Ishant sent down five no-balls.
Ishant Sharma made his return to international cricket after a one-year hiatus in the first Test in Chennai, and while he bowled exceptionally well, his display was marred with unprofessionalism. Not once, not twice, Ishant overstepped a staggering five times, not just gifting the visitors' bonus runs but leaving a bitter taste on the fans who tuned in to watch the first international game in India in over a year.
Ishant’s childhood coach Sharwan Kumar reckons this ‘no-ball fest’ was owing to frustration. Though he eventually finished with 2 wickets to his name, both of which came late, Ishant toiled hard for close to 169 overs on the field without picking a wicket, something Kumar feels could have led to frustration, resulting in no-balls.
"He (Ishant) has been out of practice for a long time, due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Also, he lacked match practice. Generally, fast bowlers end up bowling no balls when they don't get wickets and put in too much effort in frustration. Many times, captains also put pressure on fast bowlers to get wickets, and that is another reason for bowling no balls," Kumar was quoted as saying by TOI.
"I also don't think Indians bowled so many no balls because of overconfidence. In Test cricket it is not a matter of too much concern. In one-dayers and T20s, however, bowling no balls is a big issue, a crime.”
It was not just Ishant who overstepped, though. The siren going off was an overarching theme in England’s innings, with the Indian bowlers overstepping a ridiculous 17 times. Dronacharya awardee coach Gurcharan Singh, who played 37 first-class games between 1953 and 1968, reckoned this bad habit of bowling no-balls generally emerges from the nets and recalled an incident where he got former Indian international Maninder Singh to rectify a no-ball issue by inculcating discipline during net practice.
"When people ask me how to rectify the issue of bowling no balls, I tell them to go to Kapil Dev. He hardly bowled no balls in his successful career," Singh told IANS.
"One of my wards, a pacer, used to bowl lots of no balls in nets. When I would point it out to him, he would say he doesn't do that in matches. But when I accompanied the Delhi under-19 team to Lucknow for a Cooch Behar Trophy match in early 1980s, his first 18 balls were no balls. I was forced to send a message to him to stand at the crease and complete the over."
"I corrected Maninder Singh [former India left-arm spinner] in the nets, and he later rectified the same problem that a Pakistani bowler was confronting some time ago.”