By Khurram Habib
New Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) SunRisers Hyderabad pacer Sandeep Sharma’s ability to move the new ball has ensured that almost half of his 108 wickets have come in the powerplay in the Indian Premier league (IPL). The right-armer has scalped Virat Kohli seven times in the IPL history, a joint record. Not surprisingly, four of those Kohli dismissals have been in powerplay overs.
“The great thing about Sandeep’s bowling that I have noticed since his early days is his good wrist position and his ability to swing the ball both ways. That makes it possible for him to trouble the batsmen, and that plays on their minds,” said Munish Bali, Sharma’s mentor and head coach of Punjab Ranji Trophy team.
Bali was also the assistant coach to Dav Whatmore when India won the 2008 under-19 World Cup, which the Kohli-led Indian team won.
In the game against Mumbai Indians (MI), Sharma took his 53rd wicket in the powerplay, scaling the record of Zaheer Khan for most wickets in the phase. He incidentally shares the record of dismissing a batsman most times with Zaheer, who has scalped Dhoni seven times.
“I have watched him since his early days. I am not surprised he got Kohli out so many times. Last season, he took seven for 19 in a Vijay Hazare Trophy (one-day) match against Haryana, making good use of the conditions in Vadodara,” Bali said.
Among other great batsmen of the day, Sharma has dismissed both Chris Gayle and Rohit Sharma four times each.
A look at Sharma’s statistics shows he has matched Bumrah in IPL in every yardstick. Both have played 90 matches. While Bumrah has taken 105 wickets, Sharma has bagged 108. Bumrah’s economy rate and average are 7.46 and 24.21, respectively, whereas Sharma’s corresponding figures are 7.75 and 24.02.
In this season’s IPL, Sharma has taken 13 wickets in 11 matches at 7.34 runs per over, which is a shade better than his overall IPL economy rate.
On Tuesday, former Australia all-rounder Brad Hogg had tweeted, saying Sharma’s consistency was the most impressive thing for him in this IPL edition.
Sharma was part of the India under-19 World Cup squads in 2010 and 2012. Unmukt Chand-led India won the 2012 World Cup and Sharma was the joint highest wicket-taker for India in the tournament with 12 scalps.