Indian Premier League 2009 May 22, 2009

Ishant returns after 'taxing' IPL

Cricinfo staff

Ishant Sharma, the Kolkata Knight Riders fast bowler, has returned to India after a 'taxing' IPL. Kolkata had a woeful campaign, finishing bottom after suffering a ten-game winless streak, and were plagued with rumours of dressing-room disharmony.

"The last one month has been very hard. Ever since I started playing cricket, this has been the toughest phase of my life," he told the Indian Express. "I have never been part of such a long losing streak, and being in a dressing room where there were so many controversies was very taxing."

Kolkata looked like they would snap their losing streak on several occasions, such as the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore and against Deccan Chargers four days later, but lost narrowly in both games before ending their campaign with two wins. "The loss against Deccan Chargers and the sequence of events that led to it really hurt us," he said. "We might not have won that game, but that was a sort of turning point for the team. We realised how desperate we all were and that helped us come together and win the last two matches."

Ishant was Kolkata's best bowler in the tournament, bagging 11 wickets and conceding only 6.90 runs an over, but said there was room for improvement. "In T20, you need to have a good yorker and different kinds of slower balls," he said. "Also, I am looking to become an impact bowler because nothing else puts the opposing team back like losing early wickets."

He called the coming World Twenty20 the 'biggest challenge' of his career. "I have never been part of any World Cup, and I am really looking forward to it," he said. "Conditions in England will be helpful for bowlers and I want to make it memorable for myself."