England v India, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day July 22, 2014

'No praise for effort had plan failed' - Ishant

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Ishant Sharma, who has often been criticised for not taking enough wickets despite his experience, has said his labours go unappreciated outside the dressing room. Ishant took 7 for 74 with a bouncer barrage to win the Lord's Test for India, but said that had the wickets not come, people would not have noticed the effort that went into bowling all the short deliveries.

"No one has given me as much in life as cricket has. When I go out on the cricket field, I give all that I have, every time," Ishant told bcci.tv. "Sometimes, I feel like my efforts are never appreciated by people other than my team-mates. Because I got all these wickets, people are praising me. But had I gone for runs, had the plan failed, no one would have appreciated the fact that I was continuously bowling bouncers with an 80-plus overs old ball.

"It has always been like that with me and now I am pretty used to it. I am experienced enough to ensure that I don't get affected by what XYZ is saying about me. I know that my mates have the belief in me and they appreciate what I do for the team. That's enough for me to carry on. I will continue to give myself fully each time I step on the field to play for my country."

Ishant had Moeen Ali fending the last ball before lunch to short leg. After the break, he had Matt Prior, Ben Stokes and Joe Root falling to pull shots, before having Stuart Broad gloving a short ball to the wicketkeeper. Ishant said that coach Duncan Fletcher felt he should bowl more bouncers, and that he had done so under instructions from captain MS Dhoni.

"In my first spell of five overs, the batsmen go beaten quite a few times and the ball moved as well. So I thought the ball would still be reversing, which didn't happen. That's when MS bhai told me that since the ball has become really soft, let's try something new.

"He said let's open up the whole field and bowl only bouncers. This is the last over (before lunch) and you never know what could happen. The plan worked and we decided to continue with it after lunch. We persisted with the old ball because with the new ball the batsman can judge the bounce with ease, while with the old one he cannot gauge the bounce as some might take off and an odd one will keep low. I feel all the wickets I got today should go to MS bhai because he planned them and set the field for them.

"Duncan keeps telling me, 'bowl more bouncers, bowl more bouncers'. But when you go in with a plan, sometimes it works and at times it doesn't. Things happen suddenly. Today I got to learn that if you keep trying persistently with the short-ball ploy on a flat wicket with nothing in it for you, you can get rewards you never expected."

England kept pulling themselves out of the contest but Ishant said with the variable bounce in the surface, they had few options. "The wicket had slowed down considerably over the five days and because of the footmarks there was a lot of variable bounce. It was very difficult for the batsmen to leave the bouncers; they had to play it and they had to go for the pull or hook."

In the 2011 Test at Lord's between the two sides, Ishant had gone wicketless in the first innings before taking four in the second. He said he knew from the experience that wickets could come in a bunch on the ground. "Last time when I picked four wickets at Lord's, I remember I was bowling very well in the first session but didn't get any wickets. When I came back on, I got four wickets in no time. It was on my mind today. I knew that on this ground the wickets come in bulk. So I knew that if I stuck to my ploy patiently, I will get the rewards. I told the same to (Mohammed) Shami and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) as well, so that they keep the belief and don't give up."

Shami and Bhuvneshwar have played eight Tests each compared to Ishant's 57, and he said that he shared his experiences with them on the ground. "When I am on the field, I talk to the other pacers and mainly share my experience in a similar situation. If you want to pick 20 wickets as a team, it is of paramount importance that the bowlers communicate with each other constantly. I just tell them things like how the wicket generally plays and what the particular batsman generally does. I do try to be the leader on the field because I have played more matches than them. But once we're off it, I am not a senior player because we all are almost of the same age. So, there is a dual aspect to that role."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SudeepSonawane on July 24, 2014, 12:32 GMT

    Some bowlers, like Ishant, need to be told what plans to execute in given conditions. Having said this, most Indian captains tactically struggle to handle four fast/medium bowlers in Tests. Ganguly was the best in handling fast bowlers. Indian cricket is dominated by spinners at all levels from schools to first class, so captains are used to giving long spells to two or three spinners. One needs practice how to use four fast bowlers in Tests. Dhoni hasn't learnt this that is why he is struggling with his fast bowlers. This on seaming pitches is unpardonable. Because he cannot take along all fast bowlers in his plans, he does the obvious school boy captain stuff of turning to Bhuvanesh all the time. I fear the work load Dhoni is thrusting on Bhuvi may break him down midway in this series. Bhuvi is not exactly strong lad.

  • dummy4fb on July 24, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    @TRAM , Very easy to comment on deciding policy and executing it in middle .

  • android_user on July 24, 2014, 2:08 GMT

    he does not need to get carried away by a good performance. if he wants to get his work appreciated, he should maybe try getting more wickets than bragging about one good performance.

  • android_user on July 24, 2014, 2:00 GMT

    @Rahul Gokhale- Ishant will be the bowler who will win us this series and then he should deservedly be in the team for 10 years! I think It's the blessing from haters that has worked for him! Haters like you who knows how to criticise when he fails but forget to praise when he does well even when almost bowls out an entire team in an inning on his own! Pathetic, Don't you think?!

  • dummy4fb on July 23, 2014, 21:44 GMT

    How this guy claims himself to be a spearhead, a leader of an attack comprising Bhuvi and Shami (who are both far more talented, quick learners and have a bowling brain) is beyond me. The only bad thing about winning that game is now we are stuck with this Ishant for another year at least.

  • Naikan on July 23, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    Fans have every business commenting on performers at this level - as It is the fan base which Cricket enjoys in India that all these players benefit from. Look at Hockey - one time India's golden sport. No fan base - no game - no star players. Negative comments come forth because the supposed Star player did not fulfill expectations which many people may have had in the past when Ishant burst on to the scene. He got to hold his place in spite of his mediocre returns for last 3 - 4 years at around Avg 45 which places him last amongst all existing or or waiting to be Test bowlers. So taking a swipe at his fan base by making those comments is not welcome. Just shows the guy is too adamant to accept that he has not used his potential abilities and it took a forceful intervention by the captain to get that out of him.

  • android_user on July 23, 2014, 6:37 GMT

    @TRAM-Why don't you try to bowl for India instead of Ishant Sharma? Criticising sitting on an arm chair is too easy than doing the hard work.. You don't care abt his hard work, Why don't you work hard and become a fast bowler and bowl for India if you're so concerned? Why just criticise sitting in front of a computer? Life's too easy, heh?

  • OttawaRocks on July 23, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    Some of the comments on here are ridiculous. The reason why we don't use other bowlers in place of Ishant is because his skill level isn't available to the other bowlers. In short, while other bowlers might have better cricketing brains if they can't execute then they are useless. In a nutshell, no Indian pace bowler is perfect, we just work with the ones who are more likely to produce wickets, even if it comes with a little help from the captain. Ishant's physical capabilities look more akin to that of Jason Gillespie's so that's the kind of potential we work with. With other bowlers its different so we work with their capabilities.

  • TRAM on July 23, 2014, 4:57 GMT

    @Rukky, Do you know the difference between doing 100 meters race in 9.58 seconds and in 10.0 seconds?? It is only 0.42 seconds difference, but do you know about the hard work required to achieve that difference???

    Ask any of the top 100 runners in the world today and 99 of them will tell you they have to take a new birth to reach the 9.58 seconds achieved by Usain Bolt.

    Dont quote simple numbers of Ishant and MMorkel. Learn about how many bowlers are there BETWEEN those two averages of 37 and 30 and what it would take for Ishant to reach MMorkel level.

    Dont mis-guide yourself and the readers please.

  • here2rock on July 23, 2014, 4:45 GMT

    I can't understand all the negativity about Ishant, you need to remember he is still only 24 years old and learning the difficulty art of fast bowling. India does not have a history of genuine fast bowlers, he is the best prospect India ever had as a genuine fast bowler. Kudos to selectors for not dropping him when he was not performing, he could have been India's forgotten fast bowler like many before him. Well done son, keep it going.

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