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I am mentally stronger now - Ishant Sharma

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 10, 2012

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Ishant Sharma took four wickets, North Zone v West Zone, quarter-final, Duleep Trophy, 3rd day, Chennai, October 8, 2012
Ishant Sharma has been working on his outswinger © K Sivaraman
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India fast bowler Ishant Sharma has described his time away from the national team as the worst phase of his life, but the experience has made him mentally stronger and hungrier to make a full-fledged comeback. Ishant, who underwent an ankle surgery earlier this year, was in the Test squad for the home series against New Zealand in August but didn't get a game.

Ishant last played for India in the Australia Tests but had to skip the IPL this year for the sake of the surgery. He began the domestic season with three wickets for Rest of India in the Irani Cup, and separate hauls of 4 for 29 in the Challenger Trophy and Duleep Trophy quarter-final.

"I think I am mentally and physically much stronger now after having gone through the worst phase of my life," Ishant said after helping North Zone to the semi-final in the Duleep Trophy against West Zone.

"Nobody asked me where I was (when out of the team). In a way, it's good that it (injury) happened to me. But my family and friends have been very supportive."

He said he had no regrets over missing the IPL for the sake of his fitness. Last year, Virender Sehwag risked playing the IPL despite an injured shoulder. He decided to get a surgery done midway through the tournament but it meant that he had to miss the West Indies tour and part of the England Tests that followed. Ishant, who missed the short tour of Sri Lanka in July, had been training in Bangalore to work himself back to fitness before the start of this season.

"I gave it a lot of thought [undergoing the ankle surgery] before going ahead with it. Missing the IPL was my decision and I don't have any complaints," Ishant said. "The fact that I had time for myself helped. As part of my rehabilitation, I was in the NCA (National Cricket Academy) for three months, training from 10AM to 5PM. I worked on my body and gained strength. There were several long and tough sessions but I guess hard work pays off."

He said he had worked on his outswinger. "I still continue to bowl with the same kind of intensity. Bowling a lot in the nets has helped. I have also learnt to bowl the outswinger," he said.

"It was Joe Dawes (India bowling coach) who taught me the outswinger during the New Zealand series recently. Eric Simmons (Dawes' predecessor) was also very helpful."

India's next international assignment is the home Test series against England starting November 15. Ishant hoped that his good start to the season would help him reclaim his place in the Test line-up, which includes first-choice seamers Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (October 11, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

If time away from cricket is tough for him, his time with cricket is tough for us.

Posted by rosh280 on (October 11, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

ishant is definitely a good bowler. he and sreesanth are the great fast bowlers india have seen recently. but speed is not a problem. wicket taking ability matters vinay kumar, balaji, praveen kumar are the wicket taking bowlers with good economic rate. indian team should try fast bowlers like shami ahmed,jalaj saxena, sunny singh, rithuraj singh, pawan zuyal,hdeepak chahar and prashant parameshwaran. they all have proved their skills but not received any opportuniy we can hope new selection committee under sandeep patil would give enough opportunity to them. dinda,yadav,zaheer,irfan all have failed miserably. we can hope zaheer can comeback anytime he has the potential for that. nodoubt zaheer and balaji i feel it is the fitness that matters. we hope india could do well with a mix of young and experienced bowlers. sreesanth should be called back in indian test team with ishant sharma. ishant and sree santh should be given chance in the coming series since they have speed and rhythm.

Posted by man_crick on (October 11, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

Funny part is that ishant is saying that he learnt outswinger from a bowling coach... That means he played international cricket without knowing how to swing bowl both ways..... Which is a shame..... I only play club cricket and can swing the bowl both ways... Lolz

Posted by   on (October 11, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

He need to walk the talk.

Posted by   on (October 11, 2012, 4:14 GMT)

yes, you are mentally strong only until the match starts.

Posted by Meety on (October 11, 2012, 1:59 GMT)

@ JontyG on (October 10 2012, 15:14 PM GMT) - I agree that Sharma is one of the few blokes in the Indian team that would spill blood in the field. Whilst he had an unfortunate return to Oz, I couldn't help admire his tenacity in a badly beaten team, I hope some of that grit rubs off on Yadav - India will need it! @electric_loco_WAP4 on (October 10 2012, 14:22 PM GMT) - mate I rate Sharma highly, if we wrote a bloke off for one bad series, then Siddle would never play a Test for Oz again, or for that matter Anderson for England. I am reasonably optimistic we have not seen the last of Sharma having impact in a Test series for India.

Posted by Naresh28 on (October 10, 2012, 22:58 GMT)

@nampally - Agree,rotation is the logical way to do it. Oz are doing it at moment. Fast bowlers need special handling. Not heard much of KULKARNI, but if he is one with stamina then all the better. Indian team needs pacers with stamina. Ishant is one such except that he was overbowled in Oz. We need a five bowler policy. This policy would need a radical change in the team. There is also a need for Sreesanth be guided - the guy bowls well. Another who should be tried out is the javelin thrower ATUL SHARMA - I wish this guy could be made into a bowler?

Posted by Htc-Android on (October 10, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

OF COURSE HE IS MENTALLY STRONG. WHICH BOWLER WILL STAY STRONG AFTER GETTING THRASHED BY EVERY SINGLE BATSMEN AROUND PLANT. EVEN STREET LEVEL CRICKETERS CAN THRASH HIS BOWLING.

Posted by Nampally on (October 10, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

Ishant Sharma's form & fitness are good news for India. I personally felt that he should have been in the T 20 squad rather than on the bench in the NZ Test series. India did not have much choice between the aging ZAK & inexperienced Dinda & Balaji. Ishant with his 140 KPH bowling would have been useful addition. Also playing T 20 is less stranous than a 5 day test match. But the Selectors have their own logic which is anything but Form, Fitness & performance. I hope Ishant will open the bowling for India in the Tests against England. I like to see 4 fast bowlers Ishant, Yadev, Aaron & D.Kulkarni brought up to the Test standard & used by rotation. Their first priority should be fitness especially for Aaron. India needs these fast bowlers. I also hope Ojha, Ashwin, Rahul Sharma are the 3 spinners used in rotation.The so called Part time bowler philosophy used by Dhoni, is ludicrous.Yuvraj, Ashwin & Irfan are all rounder & acceptable bowlers. 2 or 3 other specialist bowlers are needed.

Posted by JontyG on (October 10, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

Against England, the Indian bowling lineup should be 3 spinners (Bhajji, Ashwin and Ojha) and 2 Fast Bowlers (Ishant and Umesh/Zak). The point is English Cricketers cannot play against quality off spin. Againts the OZ, play 3 spinners (Ojha, Ashwin and Iqbal Abdulla and or Harmmet Singh). OZ's cannot play left arm spin. Ask Murali Karthik !!! and 2 Fast bowlers (Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav) Just as how Indian Cricket team was welcomed with Bouncy pitches and quality fast bowlers, which is fair enough, India should greet the English and OZ teams with quality spinners and spinning tracks.

At the end of the day, ders somthing called "Home Advantage" in Cricket.

One of the common points in my picks for these two teams is Ishant Sharma. He has the talent and potential who can bowl with 145+ speed and accuracy. Ask the Oz batsmen.

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