Ishant Sharma on Wednesday downplayed suggestion that his sensational haul against the Kochi Tuskers Kerala will catapult him back into the Indian limited-overs set-up.
The 22-year-old Deccan Chargers fast bowler landed the best figures of the 2011 Indian Premier League as the former champions outgunned the Tuskers by 55 run at the Nehru Stadium.
His five for 12 reduced the hosts to 11 for six in the face of a modest 130-run target before Dale Steyn (three for 16) returned to the attack to have Kochi all out for 74 – the third lowest score in the history of the Twenty20 competition.
Mahela Jayawardene, (four), Parthiv Patel (duck), Raiphi Gomez (duck) Brad Hodge (duck) and Kedar Jadhav (duck) had absolutely no answer to the tall right-armer’s onslaught. Ishant combined with wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara no fewer than three times as one by one the home side’s top-order crumbled to outside edge after outside edge. Gomez and Hodge’s shattered stumps completed the wreck.
“I think it is still a long way to go for me. I don’t think about the Indian selections at this moment. I just want to focus on the present and that is what I am doing right now,” insisted Sharma, who last played limited-overs cricket for his country in August 2010.
Earlier, the visitors slumped to a mere total of 129 for seven on a pitch that demanded at least 30 runs more.
Sangakkara’s standalone 65 was as good as it got for Deccan, with seamers RP Singh and Vinay Kumar sharing five wickets across the Chargers’ collapse.
Sharma, who watched from the pavilion as his side’s specialist batsmen struggled to come to terms with a track the pace ace described as “double-paced”, insisted sticking to the basics of bowling was always going to serve Deccan well in their defence of a meagre total.
“On this kind of a track, you don’t need to experiment too much. All you have to do is bowl in the right areas. You saw that here. We bowled consistently in those areas and were fortunate enough. When I saw the wicket, I thought it was going to have inconsistent bounce. When we were watching the match, we knew that it was double-paced,” added the Man of the Match.
Ishant paid tribute to fellow new-ball bowler Steyn, whose removal of danger man Brendon McCullum in the first over of Kochi’s pursuit for a duck started the rot that eventually afforded the visiting team a comfortable triumph.
“Bowling with Dale gives you a lot of confidence. If he gets a batsman like McCullum in the first over, that’s enough. We speak to each other a lot in the practice sessions. It is very nice to be striking with him,” added Ishant.
Defeated captain Jayawardene was left to rue an early lifeline for half-centurion Sangakkara, which availed the Deccan skipper 60 more runs than he would’ve scored had Shantha Sreesanth not bowled the left-hander, on five at the time, with a no-ball in the fourth over of the match.
“Kumar played a good knock. We got his wicket off a no-ball. Had we got him early, then things would have been different,” lamented Jayawardene.
“It was difficult to come back from that.” Cricket365