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Ishant Sharma Climbs The Beanpole

The beanpole that is world cricket, that is. Before I come back down to Earth, can I just say that his spell on the fourth day against Ricky Ponting was one of the finest you are likely to see for quite some time. The kid will undoubtedly bowl far worse and pick up many more wickets. However, when his form slump arrives (and it WILL arrive, just ask Irfan Pathan), Sharma should watch those nine overs again and again.

The Indian fan has known for quite some time that for all the IIM's and MBA graduates in India, the term "effective management" has not been evidenced in Indian cricket. The crying need of the hour, however, is for Sharma to be managed.

The stress borne by a fast bowler's body cannot be understood by those who have not bowled a ball in anger. Ishant Sharma is not your average Ranji bowler, dawdling away at 115 km/h. He has serious zip and will only get better. For that bright future to be realised, he needs to put in a lot of hard work off the field. The bevy of support staff around him must ensure that he eats, drinks, sleeps and trains effectively and efficiently to minimise chances of injury.

Indian cricket is a graveyard for young quicks who show promise early in their careers. Anyone remember one Ajit Agarkar? I have said it before and I shall repeat for all those that missed out: it's time to hit the gym, son.

Meanwhile, see if you can spot the terror/helplessness in Ponting's eyes (he writes with much glee):

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