Ashish Nehra believes Ishant Sharma is the least talented of the Indian bowlers
Former Indian bowler Ashish Nehra is of the opinion that Ishant Sharma is the "least talented" among the current lot of Indian pacers. He also said that the 6’2 paceman managed to play 60 plus national Tests only because of his dedication and hardwork.
"I am a big fan of Umesh Yadav -- talent wise even though he has not fulfilled his true potential as to what he should have achieved by now. He is somewhat similar to me but my case was more to do with injuries. Varun (Aaron) and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) are also talented. But Ishant Sharma, who has played 60 Test matches (62) is the least talented among them but one of the most hardworking guys around," Nehra said in an interview.
Nehra, who has played 120 ODIs and 17 Tests for India also remarked that talent is nothing without hard work.
"If Ishant has played so much and for so long, it is a testimony that talent alone can't be the recipe for success. Talent can only take you till certain point but is nothing without hardwork", he said.
When asked if he found Ishant's strike rate of 11.00 a bit on the higher side, he said, "Look, there is a perception about Ishant. I agree his strike-rate is on the higher side but in last one year, he has taken five-fors in New Zealand and England. So he is improving. Don't forget, he is only 27 and has already played 62 Tests because he started at 18.
Nehra also believes that Ishant should be given enough time and confidence to settle down and dropping him is not a solution.
"We should not put undue pressure on him and start saying 'drop Ishant Sharma and get someone new'. What will happen if he is dropped? Nothing will happen. BCCI should just ensure that a fast bowler is given enough time and confidence to settle down. Dropping a bowler after one bad series can't be a solution. A new fast bowler would take at least two series to just settle down," explained Nehra.
Ntini’s hard work and fitness
The 36-year-old also gave the example of South African pacer Makhaya Ntini while talking about Ishant.
"I always give Ntini's example to youngsters. Nitini was never the greatest of talents but hardwork and fitness helped him reach close to 400 Test wickets (390 in 101 Tests)."
Nehra bowled at speeds of 140 in his prime, but he believes that it is not the only criteria to be taken into consideration.
"It's not true that a 130 kmph bowler is inferior to a 140 kmph bowler or other way round. Choice of bowlers is dependent on pitch conditions, weather and a host of other things. If 140 kmph would have been everything, Umesh or Varun would not have ever been criticised."
On relationship between bowler and skipper
Nehra also opinionated about the relationship between a bowler and his captain.
"Look the bottom line is, if you are bowling well, then you need nobody for help. But there will be times when even if you keep a deep point, the batsman will still hammer you. Then you have no option but to listen to your captain and bowl as per the field set by him. Michael Clarke was a great captain till last Ashes and today Alastair Cook has suddenly become a great captain," Nehra said with a smile and hint of sarcasm.
"If you look at history of fast bowler-captain relationships -- for example Sunil Gavaskar-Kapil Dev or Mohammed Azharuddin-Javagal Srinath, that has always been the case. When the going is good, nothing matters. Everything comes out when the performance level dips," he added.
Nehra praises Dhoni’s approach
Nehra was also all praises for the current ODI captain M.S. Dhoni and admired the way he deployed his resources.
Nehra concluded by saying, "Mahi had an exact idea about the limitations of his bowlers. He exactly knew what a particular guy is capable of and that's what made him a good captain. He (Dhoni) would let the bowler do his bit and if it did not work, he would just tell you that "Let's try this." Chennai Super Kings is a nice bunch of boys that I played with. Wish I can again play with such a bunch."