Akram lavishes praise on Ishant

Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 11:42 [IST]
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New Delhi: Ishant Sharma's splendid performance in the just concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy has brought the young speedster heaps of praise from former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram who believes that the Indian is a quick learner and said he is definitley amongst the best in the business.

The 20-year-old Ishant bagged 15 wickets from four matches against Australia for which he was awarded man of the series as India beat the visitors by 172 runs today to win the coveted Border-Gavaskar trophy 2-0.

''Ishant bowled well in Australia, but he was hammered in the Asia Cup. There was a problem with his length. I think his length is suited for Australian wickets. But now he has changed his length and pitched the ball in the right areas.

''If a ball falls short of length and reverse swings, it becomes unplayable. Ishant's length was immaculate and he took wickets on sub-continent pitches and that too against a world champion side. He is really improving and one of the best in the world right now,'' Akram was quoted as saying by espnstar.com.

The former left-arm speedster also lauded the performance of Ishant's new-ball partner Zaheer Khan who picked up 11 wickets in the series to give India initial breakthroughs against the star-studded Australian batting.

''Both Ishant and Zaheer make a lethal combination. They have mastered the art of reverse swing, can bowl well with the new ball and have also got their yorkers in place,'' he added.

Wasim was quick to add a word on the spinners as well. The former Pakistan captain said the success of Team India would not have been possible without the the spinners.

After Anil Kumble announced his retirement in the Delhi Test, the onus was on Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra, who were also the spin partner in the Mohali Test where India beat Australia 320 runs, to live upto the challenge.

''Mishra has really lived up to the challenge thrown at him.

He has taken wickets and his fielding has also been good. He has really played his part well.

''Mishra flights the ball and that will give him lot of wickets on sub-continent pitches. He has a bright future ahead of him,'' Akram noted.

However, he sounded disappointed with Brett Lee's performance in the series. The 32-year-old Aussie pace spearhead managed just eight wickets at an average of 61.62.

''Lee was disappointing. He is good bowler. Lee has proved his worth in Australia and overseas but failed to do so in India. So if he wants to be known as a great bowler, he has to get wickets in the sub-continent,'' he stated.

The former Pakistan captain denied that it was time for Rahul Dravid to call it a day and said it was just a bad phase for the right-hander who scored just 170 runs in the eight innings that he played in the series.

''Dravid is extremely fit and just had one bad series. But then he has the passion in him. He doesn't go out, he doesn't party, and he trains a lot and concentrates hard. I think he has another couple of years left in him and I think Team India needs him.

''Dravid just needs to relax and go back to the basics.

Play straight and spend some time in the middle,'' he added.


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