Sharma tastes Test cricket

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali


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Chittagong : Gangling pacer Ishant Sharma, who replaced injured Sreesanth for India's ongoing Test series against Bangladesh, had his first feel of the Test match atmosphere – though only on the sidelines of the actual action.

Reaching this port city on a rainy Sunday, the teenaged Sharma bowled for the first time with the senior Indian team Monday. During the lunch interval on the fourth and penultimate day he bowled under the supervision of the bowing coach Venktaesh Prasad.

The six-foot-four-inch tall bowler – who has just played six first-class matches for Delhi and taken 29 wickets, was constantly talked to by Prasad – a former Test pacer himself. And Sharma was seen nodding to whatever the bowling coach had to say.

Sharma plays for the Rohtak Road Gymkhana Club in Delhi where he learnt the nuances of the game from coach Shravan Kumar.

Sharma's rise has been sudden since his debut in the 2006-07 cricket season. His ascendancy is quite similar to that of his Delhi captain Virender Sehwag, who has been dropped from the two-match Test series.

With Sehwag out, Sharma remains the lone Delhi player in the Indian Test team at present.

Sharma is part of events of Indian team, mainly injuries, which unfolded even before this tour began May 10.

During the preparatory camp in Kolkata Sachin Tendulkar twisted his ankle, but the injury was not serious. Then a left-arm pacer Rudra Pratap Singh's bouncer made its way through captain Rahul Dravid's helmet grill and bloodied his nose.

On the team's arrival in Dhaka, rookie batsman Manoj Tiwari injured his right shoulder during practice session before the three-match One-day International series began May 10.

He was immediately sent back home for surgery, though no replacement was sought by the team management.

Then, Sreesanth injured his left calf and had to be flown back home.

R.P. Singh, picked only for the ODI series only, was asked to stay back for the Test series. Singh played in the Chittagong Test along with debutant off-spinner Ramesh Powar. He became the 254th Indian to play Test cricket.

In the Bangladesh camp also, lots of players have had viral fever during the series.