The combination, will and aggressiveness of the Indian fast bowlers will do great things for the team, says Ishant Sharma
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda writer Meit Sampat, Ishant Sharma speaks about his experience of playing county cricket, the upcoming tour to England, the current Indian pace attack, his fitness regime and much more.
Ever since Sharma made his debut in the year 2007, he has bowled many memorable spells and led his team to famous victories. In an international career spanning over a period of 11 years, the 29-year-old pacer from Delhi has picked up 234 wickets in 81 Tests and 115 wickets in 80 ODIs and is the most experienced pacer in the Indian team.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
SK: How has the experience of playing for Sussex been? You have been in England for some time now. All set for the Test series against England?
Ishant: It was my first encounter with county cricket and the experience has been a great one. I really enjoyed it. My teammates at Sussex and the support staff were really supportive. It is always good to be a part of such a professional outfit.
As an individual, living in a different country, playing with cricketers from different nationalities makes you understand things in a better way, your vision becomes vast and helps you to grow as a person too.
Playing County cricket in England will definitely give me the advantage going into the England Test series. I am all set for the England Test series.
SK: You have performed well for Sussex with the bowl and have scored a half-century with the bat also. How seriously do you take your batting?
Ishant: As a professional cricketer, it is your job to perform well in all the three departments i.e. batting, bowling and fielding.
Yes, bowling is my strength and I try to pick up wickets whenever I bowl. As far as batting is concerned, whenever I get a chance to bat, I try to score runs for the team and contribute towards the success of the team.
SK: India has two major Test assignments this year i.e. England in England and Australia in Australia. You have done well in England last time when you led India to a win in the Lord’s Test and you have also bowled well in Australia. How do you think India will fare this time around in both the Test series?
Ishant: We have good chances in both the Test series i.e. against England and Australia. Australia is in the last month of the year but I am sure we have a very good chance to win there. Looking forward to playing in England too.
SK: India has a well-balanced pace attack with Bhuvi, Bumrah, Umesh, Shami and you all having performed well for India. Is this the best pace bowling attack you have played within your career?
Ishant: Yes, we have a good bowling attack. With the addition of Hardik Pandya in the Test team, our strain has reduced. Our combination, will and aggressiveness will do great things for the team.
SK: You have experience of playing international cricket for around 11 years now and have played 81 Tests for India and picked up 234 wickets. During the same period you have played only 80 ODIs. With the 2019 World Cup just a year away in England, how are you preparing for white ball cricket?
Ishant: A sportsman never takes anything too tough or too easy. Playing cricket is not an easy job. I am preparing myself for every win I can get for my team.
As far as the 2019 World Cup is concerned, I am keeping my mind and body relaxed and am working hard. I just have played county cricket and have performed well in ODIs in the past. I am well prepared and concentrating on my fitness to take any challenges in future.
SK: How difficult is it being a pace bowler in India considering that the wickets are batsmen friendly and spinners are assisted more than the pacers?
Ishant: Yes, conditions are tough for the fast bowlers in India but that is the challenge you face as an Indian fast bowler.
If you have tough conditions in India and you still take wickets it helps when you tour and bowl in conditions favoring the Pacers.
I always take this as an opportunity to play for the country. It does not matter you play in India or abroad as long as you bowl well and pick up wickets for the country.
SK: Your best bowling spell to date?
Ishant: There are plenty of good memories where I bowled well for the country. Be it the 2007-2008 CB series when I started playing international cricket or the Man of the series against Australia in India in 2008 or the Champions Trophy win in 2013 in Edgbaston, all performances have been special.
And of course, the Lord Test in 2014 when I took seven wickets in the second innings and bowled my team to a victory was really special. In fact, every five-wicket haul is special for me because feel I have done well for my country.
SK: How do you keep yourself fit? Your fitness regime?
Ishant: I follow a strict diet plan. I am on a gluten-free diet. I focus on high protein and fiber.
I train hard in the gym and have regular fitness programmes. Bowling fitness is very important so I whenever I get free from matches I do my bowling sessions.
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