The Real Deal

I only caught the last few hours' play but it seemed to me that India fully deserved their series-levelling win against South Africa at Green Park in Kanpur. On a wearing pitch, Dhoni took the innovative step of opening with Harbhajan and he, along with Sehwag, did the majority of the damage as the Proteas subsided to defeat.

But the bowler who impressed me most, again, was Ishant Sharma. There have been enough false dawns in the Indian seam bowling world to fill a book (Munaf Patel, anyone?), but Sharma, just nineteen, certainly looks like the real deal, with a good, orthodox action, seductive rhythm, and pace which will inevitably increase as he fills out.

At the moment he looks fragile, and it's important that Bhaji, Kumble, Sreesanth and the rest take their fair share of India's overs while he gets stronger. His potential is too great to be sacrificed on the altar of over-work before his international career has really hit its stride.

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