After 12 years and 96 Test matches, Ishant Sharma can rightfully call himself the spearhead of the Indian pace attack, especially after having a fantastic past two years where his consistency has reached new heights.
Great bowlers like Zaheer Khan and Kapil Dev have had more impact for India by playing lesser Test matches than that of Ishant but he seems relaxed and is not taking any undue pressure. He will be looking forward to the overseas tours in 2020 and will be looking to stick to his basics and lead the pace attack.
"My journey has been one with lot of ups and downs. But now I have started enjoying my cricket much more. I am not into comparisons with Zak paa (Zaheer Khan) or Kapil paaji (Kapil Dev) to be honest. They have performed for the country," Ishant told TOI after guiding his Ranji team Delhi to a comprehensive win over Hyderabad, picking up seven wickets in the game.
"As far as I am concerned, I can tell you whatever experience I have gained, I try and pass it on to the juniors. That's important. So that in coming years, there is another fast bowler who can play for Delhi," he added.
After he burst on to the scene as a 19-year-old in the 2007-08 Tour to Australia where he took a specific liking to Ricky Ponting, Ishant had pace as well as the consistency to succeed at the highest level.
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However his pace began to drop over the years and he began to bowl with a more scrambled seam which did not help his cause. However, he worked on himself and took help from experienced bowlers like Zaheer Khan to get better and eventually he seems to have found the right line and length and has also gained some yards of pace. Former Australian pacer Jason Gillespie also helped him in improving the consistency of the fuller balls.
"The problem in India is that everybody tells you about the problem but no one tells you about solution. Now knowing the solution is an important aspect. I have realised that may be one or two people worked on the solutions. Problem everyone can tell you but one who is a good coach will tell you about solutions," Ishant asserted.
"He (Gillespie) told me that in order to increase pace in my fuller deliveries, you don't just release it but hit the deck so that it should target the knee roll. Like first, I would put cones during nets. But that's okay for a youngster, who wants to get his area right but for someone like me, I need to see where my ball is finishing rather than where its pitched. Practice is almost same but outcome is different. Gillspie's instructions ensured that my fuller delivery is faster now," he concluded.Published 29 Dec 2019, 00:15 IST