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I am mentally stronger now - Ishant Sharma

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 10, 2012

Comments: 32 | Text size: A | A

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

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 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)


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.

Posted by analyseabhishek on (October 10, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

Perhaps the same time away from Cricket and national duties would also do a certain Virender Sehwag a lot of good! For Ishant Sharma, if he can be a good learner, just like Peter Siddle who was a back of a length bowler before McDermott changed it, nothing like it for team India which suffers due to its lack of penetrative bowlers.

Posted by The_Ashes on (October 10, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

lol He's not fast just tall and another one of these ordinary fast bowlers of billion India and Indian fans need to understand that speed isn't everything in Cricket its how you utilize it to its full potential :D

Posted by JontyG on (October 10, 2012, 15:14 GMT)

One thing promised from IS for sure is "never say die" attitude. Hez one bowler who always gives his 100%. Time we back our fast bowlers, keep faith in them and with little guidence from "right" experts they can do wonders. The reason I say this is cos they are talented. Recollecting how Ishant hunted the OZ batsman in Aus and in Ind. Guide the likes of IS, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, along with Jaidev Unadkat and some U19 guys, prepare a pool of fast bowlers and groom them into the international arena. Keeping faith and showing promise with result in a win-win situation - for the country, fans and players. discarding them results in downfall of the game.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (October 10, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

If the 'mighty' England does not finally put the last rites on a mediocre career the Aussies are sure to do the job- but wait ,not before helping the opposing team's batsmen to a rich helping of tons(runs) and that impressively 'fat' bowling avg. is made even 'fatter'.But he is India's' best' that they've got and there's no option but to keep him as the 'spearhead' of the team ......sad.

Posted by   on (October 10, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

get ready ishant sharma make england andaussie pay

Posted by wolf777 on (October 10, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

Few wickdts against west zone and suddenly you are 'mentally stornger'???

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (October 10, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

jaidev unadkat>Ishant Sharma*100. Doesn't say much .What's his bowling avg. by the way?- could be anywhere between the astounding figure of 47 or is it 54?(I am saying about career bow avg. by the way. Its another matter hitting mid 140s(kph) at his fittest as it lasts all of 2 or 3 games and another physical breakdown ensues to return even worse to the team after.Well, he is India's future of pace bowling ! And worse future is to be counted in no. of days - such is the durability (or non)....

Posted by Percy_Fender on (October 10, 2012, 12:29 GMT)

I wish Ishant the very best of luck and fitness from here on. I hope he reaches the heights he was expected to scale by many people including Ricky Ponting.The time out of the team seems to have been well utilised by him not just to regain his fitness and sharpen his bowling skills. That apart he would have realised that you are a champion only when your really are one not because of flattery, Good Luck Ishant.

Posted by   on (October 10, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

Love to c Umesh yadav Ishant sharma Varun Aron together in australia taking 5 fors.....might just happen , we have genuine quicks here and we can make them into lethal bowling attack !

Posted by   on (October 10, 2012, 9:59 GMT)

High time Indian fans paid some respect to a genuinely fast bowler who is supremely fit and his pace does not drop of at the end of the day's play, Venky Prasad was a wonderful bowling coach, i would say get him back, he did wonders with Ishant, he clocked 150 plus in oz but unfortunately there was no one to guide him. Here;s wishing Ishant some wonderful years ahead in international cricket.!

Posted by SasiGladi on (October 10, 2012, 9:43 GMT)

What an entry he made he was so demolishing almost eqal to Steyn at that time in test cricket.... As zak is fading out there is no experienced fast bowler in team we need him back with same attitude and agression... he is still young (24) huge cricket still in him....he may not be that effective in Indian condition as other fast bowlers do for overseas we need him with some correction in his action and with out dropping his pace.....ISHANT DONT EVER DROP YOUR PACE.... Good media havent made it big about your comment regarding Shewag playing with injury in IPL and get dropped in national side...ESP now...

Posted by mfmfaiq on (October 10, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

Ishant is the Indias Fastest Bowler..

Posted by   on (October 10, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

I think he has great potisial to lead the indian bowling in test match's.

Posted by neerajprasher on (October 10, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Sorry ishant u r late.u r good enough for domestic cricket mate.

Posted by Pathiyal on (October 10, 2012, 8:45 GMT)

good to know he is ready for a return to the team. hope he will be able to generate some bounce, making use of his height, release the ball from a fairly good height. glad he didnt take part in ipl.

Posted by cricket9lover on (October 10, 2012, 7:38 GMT)

indian pace is always demanding it is high time for new selectors to try bowlers in categories like1 >height and pace and can extract bounce or2 >pace in region of 150kmph or 3>expectional both way swing these players should not be only one dimensional they must field well.some one like jaidev unadkat must be given chance he did well in indiaA tours of westindies and NZ. category1>players are ishant, unadkat cat.2>awana,yadav,aaron cat.3>praveen,pathan. having one bowlers from each category in a game provides variety in bowling players to be given more chances are awana & unadkat.

Posted by grizzle on (October 10, 2012, 7:33 GMT)

Good for Ishant. The fact that he forsook the IPL in order to regain his fitness ahead of the Indian season has increased greatly the respect I have for him. I hope he finds some good form on the field as well. Also, I hope he is careful with the outswinger this time around. The problems he had in 2009-10 while trying to develop an outswinger are well-documented.

Posted by   on (October 10, 2012, 7:33 GMT)

he may be mentally strong,but just like other indian bowlers he is not physically strong or fit.

Posted by guptahitesh4u on (October 10, 2012, 7:29 GMT)

You need to be physically fit as well...Anyways, every player says the same thing after being away from the team for a longer period

Posted by Naresh28 on (October 10, 2012, 6:59 GMT)

Ishant, Yadav, Aaron are our fastest. Would also add Sreesanth to that list. Just shows how bare our cupboard is. We need a bigger pool of fast bowlers who should be ready when we go outside the subcontinent. Other slower category bowlers are more swing/seam bowlers.Ishant needs to take over from ZAKS as spearhead.

Posted by   on (October 10, 2012, 6:57 GMT)

What about "PHYSICALLY"..??

Posted by Narbavi on (October 10, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

Hope he does well, but shouldn't have been selected for the NZ series in the first place ahead of Praveen kumar!!

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