Bangalore, Aug 5: There is nothing strikingly dissimilar about their appearance, especially after one underwent a hair-cut. And though both are around 6"5' inches tall and pacemen for their respective sides, Stuart Broad and Ishant Sharma are polls apart in what they bring to the table.
Broad was included in the English side for the Test series against India as a gamble. He was coming off months of injury and erratic form. Ishant however, had been in his element in the West Indies before the first two Tests against England has left him down in the dumps.
Thus, the roles seemed to have been reversed, with Broad leading the wicket-taking charts in the present series with 15 scalps to his credit at a staggering average of 11.33, while Ishant comes in a distant fourth, with 9 wickets in the kitty at an awful 42.22 runs per wicket.
The difference behind this emphatic disparity comes down to accuracy. Broad has more often than not targeted a tight off-stump line, leaving the batsman in doubt whether the ball will move away or cut in. He has consistently been hitting that corridor of uncertainty, causing the batsmen to go wrong-footed.
Ishant however, has been insufferably predictable. His strategy of maintaining a line well outside off-stump has been waring thin as has become obvious with the tendency of batsmen winding up to either flay him or leave him alone. Rarely has he bowled the off-cutter or inswinger to force the batter into playing a shot.
Now, Ishant has a few days left to repair the malady and come up with more variety in his hitherto lacking repertoire. If he is able to faze the Northampton bats in the 2-day game beginning today, it will definitely bode well for him, going into the Third Test. It might even stand him in good stead if he were to pick Broad's brain over a beer... if protocol and etiquette hadn't nullified that option!