Former Australian speedster Jason Gillespie believes that Ishant Sharma’s absence might affect the chances of an Indian triumph in the upcoming Border-Gavaskar series. The four-match Test series is scheduled to take place between 17th December 2020 to 19 January 2021, with the matches taking place at Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
Ishant suffered a back spasm while training in UAE prior to the commencement of IPL 2020. He played a solitary match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on September 29 and a few days later, on October 7, the pacer complained of acute pain in the left rib cage during a training session.
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The right-arm pacer was ruled out from the tournament owing to an abdominal muscle tear and while he is recovering from the injury sustained, his name was omitted from the initial 18-man squad for the Test series in Australia.
“I am predicting Australia to edge out India in this series. I think home advantage is going to be a factor. Besides, it will be a blow with both Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar injured. Bumrah and Shami have been bowling well for India. But, India will miss Ishant for his experience in Australian conditions,” said Gillespie who has picked 259 wickets in 71 Tests.
The last time India toured Australia, the Virat Kohli-led side won the 4-match Tests by a margin of 2-1. Ishant had played a pivotal role in the triumph as he scalped 11 wickets in 3 matches, averaging 23.81, with best figures in an innings being 4/41. So far, the Delhi-born cricketer has scraped 297 wickets in 97 Tests and averages 32.4. Not to mention, he holds 10 four-wicket hauls and 11 five-wicket hauls under his belt.
Ishant has been bowling beautifully in the last few years: Jason Gillespie
Ishant came into the spotlight during India’s tour to Austalia in 2008 when the then 19-year-old troubled Ricky Ponting with his pace and bounce. Over the last few years, he has turned out to be a highly reliable bowler in overseas conditions. Speaking on that, Gillespie feels that Ishant, with his bowling prowess, brings an X factor to the Indian side.
“He has been bowling beautifully in the last few years. You only have to look at his results to show why he has performed so well. He also brings a subtle difference to the bowling attack. It’s not often that a right-arm seam bowler comes wide of the crease and bowls inswingers to the right-hand batsman and across left-handers. It’s not a common angle for batsmen to face. You normally have a right-arm seam bowler looking to get close to the stumps and look to swing it away from the right-handers and bowl it into the left-hander,” said the 45-year-old.
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Gillespie, who is now a cricketer-turned coach, highlighted the challenge that the Indian pacers would have to face against the Australian pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins, who have collectively picked 582 wickets in Tests. Though they couldn’t penetrate the Indian batting order in 2018-19, they will be raring to get the better of them in the upcoming series.
“For the Indian seam attack, the real challenge is how quickly they can adapt to Australian conditions and get their length on the delivery right. Sometimes, when teams come from the sub-continent, it takes a little while to find the correct length. The Australians do it year in, year out.
I know Australian fast bowlers are going to bowl that fuller length and challenge the front foot defense of the Indian batsman. With India having a powerful batting lineup, it’s going to be an exciting series. Everyone is looking forward to seeing these two giants do battle, in what has been a challenging year for anyone” said Gillespie.