Mar 01, 2008 at 12:18am IST

Vengsarkar asks Ishant to concentrate on cricket

Mumbai: India's chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar has asked young fast bowler Ishant Sharma to remain focused on cricket and not let his new-found popularity affect his concentration.

Ishant has become the latest poster boy of Indian cricket following his inspired bowling in Australia, which has also drawn praise from home captain Ricky Ponting.

The 19-year-old, who has played five Tests and nine One-Dayers, was snapped up by the Kolkata franchisee in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) for a Rs 3.80 crore-per-season three-year contract for the Twenty20 tournament.

TROUBLE: Ishant (L) was fined for showing a 'send-off finger' to Symonds in the ODI in Sydney.

"A lot of talented players have lost focus after falling to the temptations that come with fame during their careers," Vengsarkar, a former India captain, told the Hindustan Times newspaper on Friday.

"I only hope that does not happen to Ishant," he added.

Ishant formed an impressive partnership with Rudra Pratap Singh in the Test series defeat to Australia after being handed a primary role following an injury to Zaheer Khan.

The long-haired paceman from New Delhi has developed into the side's strike bowler in the subsequent triangular One-Day series Down Under, where India play the hosts in a three-match final series starting on Sunday.

"We all knew that he had a huge potential but the way he performed in each outing, it was simply incredible," Vengsarkar said.

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