The India management has often been criticised for showing extra faith in Ishant Sharma, who seems to showcase his talent only in patches. But the lanky pacer has finally repaid the faith, having performed consistently in the last two ODI series against Pakistan and England.
While he hasn’t really set the scene on fire, taking 12 wickets in eight matches, it has been more about his line and length and the discomfort he caused to the quality English batsmen, who are known to play pace with ease.
He was especially good in Mohali, where he time and again cut through the defences of Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell and Alastair Cook.
Speaking to MAIL TODAY , Ishant said the packed schedule actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise for him as he got minimum time to spend at the nets and used every minute to work on his rhythm and line and length.
“Sometimes you tend to bowl long spells at the nets and end up spraying the ball all over.
But thanks to the packed schedule and the hectic travelling, I concentrated on quality rather than quantity. I would run up and bowl small spells and concentrate on pitching the ball exactly where I would want to in the match,” the Delhi lad said.
“ I also worked on my variety to ensure that the batsmen didn’t find the going easy. The small intense spells would be concentrated on improving my rhythm, something really important for a fast bowler.” Ishant feels coach Duncan Fletcher and bowling coach Joe Dawes have been really helpful in his endeavour to make an impact post his return to international cricket after undergoing surgery.
“Fletcher and Dawes have been really helpful. Not only have they shown a lot of faith in me post my comeback from injury, they have been spending extra time with me and have ensured that I get all the support I could expect from them,” the 24-year-old pacer said.
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While even the English critics have been impressed with the way he used the conditions to make batting difficult for their batsmen, Ishant feels getting the rhythm back has been the biggest positive for him.
“When you return from an injury lay- off, getting your momentum back is very important. The wickets column doesn’t always show how well you have bowled. On some days you are lucky and get wickets even with bad balls and again on some days your good balls don’t fetch you wickets.
So the fact that I am running in well and hitting the right areas is what makes me happy,” he said.
Ishant feels the confidence he has gained will stand him in good stead in the future.
“The confidence that I gained bowling in the series against Pakistan and England will definitely help when we play the Australians in the Test series,” the pacer said.
For a pacer, rest is just as important as rhythm, and not being in any of the three squads — Rest of India, Board President’s XI or India A — for the upcoming matches should help him recover well and stay fresh for the Test matches.