India in West Indies 2011 July 5, 2011

Simons pleased with Ishant's resurgence

ESPNcricinfo staff

Eric Simons, the India bowling coach, is pleased with the resurgence in Ishant Sharma's bowling in the ongoing West Indies tour, leading up to his maiden ten-wicket match haul in the Barbados Test. Ishant's revival - after a poor tour of South Africa - began in the IPL and has continued in the Caribbean, a transformation Simons attributed to vital technical changes in the bowler's action, including his body and wrist position.

"Ishant had already started taking big strides in South Africa," Simons told the Hindustan Times. "From a technical perspective, what I saw of him in the IPL gave me a lot of confidence.

"Sometimes pressure forces players to try and change too many things technically. And in trying to do that, he lost some of his shape as a bowler. To identify what is wrong is only 10% of the problem; fixing it takes time. That is why the improvement through South Africa, and in the IPL and even more so here.

"His body position forced his grip to change. Now he's more upright, and his wrist is in a better position. Only when you are confident about the technique and start bowling at the pace you are capable of, you can be at your best."

In the absence of Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth, India came into the series with a depleted seam attack and Munaf Patel's injury following the ODIs made matters worse. Simons said Munaf - whose suspect fitness levels have restricted him to the shorter versions in recent times - has a lot to offer at the Test level.

"I am disappointed about Munaf's injury here," Simons said. "We have been working hard on increasing his pace. His accuracy, particularly in Tests, would have been an advantage.

"We have seen how integral Munaf has become to our one-day attack. He's going to do the same in Test cricket. Barbados would have been an ideal wicket for him, and England will be the same. We are happy to add one or two dimensions to his style. He has to bowl more and more in Test cricket, and that will happen from the training we have been doing."

The absence of first-choice seamers gave Praveen Kumar a chance to break into the Test side, and he impressed with his ability to move the red ball for long periods of time. With Zaheer and Sreesanth returning for the England tour, Simons was confident that India would have the depth to trouble the in-form home side in seaming conditions.

"If I were in the England side, I would certainly be respectful of the Indian attack," Simons said."I'd imagine they would respect our seam attack as much as they respected our spin attacks in the past."

Simons defended spin spearhead Harbhajan Singh, who has had an ordinary series so far, picking up only five wickets in four innings. "You have to look at the role a spinner has to play sometimes in a four-man attack," Simons said. "It's not just about taking wickets. Harbhajan is so crucial to us. People see him as an attacking force and tend to play him defensively as well."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kerin on July 8, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    psyclops222- all i want is a revolution for cricket. We can't be living in the past and when we only start applying what i have talked about, then India can win more matches. Let's face it, India's bowling attack is horrible! Like Yogi says, "Share your strengths, not your weaknesses." Our strength is batting and let's bat them out. Our allrounders are as good as our bowlers. Let's be honest here! This is my view, get my proposed line up and post a huge score and then let the opposition bat twice!

    Muski- you are wrong- I doubt Steyn goes around telling people his secrets. I doubt he would say, "Hey Ishant, come here buddy, i'll give you some pointers so in the future you will be able to get my team out". NO this is not going to happen. People just don't give away secrets or pointers just for the sake of it. IPL gives no indication on the ability of a test cricketer. It is just a 20/20 match where bowlers can put everything into 4 overs. I rest my case!

  • kumar on July 6, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    Its better if Ishant not to play 50 over format for a while.Ishant should concentrate on both 20 over format and Test matches for a while.

  • Ashwin on July 6, 2011, 15:28 GMT

    A lot of good posts here.. but one i disagreed with.. @ kezzajakes - u r sooo wrong, it would have been funny if u weren't serious. lol! we need 5 specialist bowlers on english turfs with the overcast conditions. zak and praveen are automatic choices because of their swinging and reverse abilities. Ishant will get in coz of his bouce and seam movement he extracts from even the most docile pitches. the 4th seamer should go to munaf because he knows his craft well and ddoesnt try to blow the batsman away (something sreesanth tries and gets hammered!). and bhajji should be in the team because if nothing else english batsman are always a lil impish aganst spin. with the likes of Bell and Trott at their best we need an EXPERIENCED spinner. now things get a little confusing.. should Yuvraj play in the place munaf???

    so the team should (hopefully) ideally look like this.. if they are fit.. Sehwag, Gambhir, dravid, Sachin, Laxman, (Yuvraj?), Dhoni, Bhajji, Zak, Praveen, Ishant,( Munaf)

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    The IPL certainly has done a world of good for Ishant Sharma. His pace has improved significantly and so has his wrist position and release. I suspect that his bowling in tandem with Dale Steyn for DC has something to do with his current form. His bowling show in the IPL was heartening as I remember watching one of the matches where he bowled as fast as 151ks! Really a great sign for Indian cricket and I honestly hope that he remains this speedster who can consistently keep his pace around 145ks. The five bowler theory looks like way to go against England and opening with Zak and PK seems like the best option. Bhajji looks out of sorts and there is no use defending him. If Dhoni is willing to take the gamble by playing Mishra, it could be a master-stroke. Hoping to beat the hell out of England!

  • Rajesh on July 6, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    @kezzajakes- While I do agree that IPL is a big money making tamasha, in the case of Ishant Sharma, IPL 2011 certainly was useful to him in terms of tips from Steyn. He has said it on record that he used to discuss a lot with Steyn. Steyn too has said that Ishant was probing him a lot. It is not that Ishant got of out of his bed from a different side and started bowling well. While Wasim was there at KKR during Ishant's pervious 3 years of IPL, it can be safely assumed that either the teacher did not communicate properly or the student did not assimilate properly. When you call for Irfan's inclusion what is the cricket that Irfan has played apart from the recent IPL. Going by your own conclusion on IPL, does that justify his place in the national team. Though I too believe that Irfan can be a handful in England based on this IPL form, it would be a a hard thing for selectors to ignore the other guys who are performing. Irfan would NOT be complaining as he has made enough and from IPL.

  • Amit on July 6, 2011, 11:12 GMT

    Some quite sensible comments on this forum. And whilst the article related to Ishant, the focus on Bhajji is understandable because he is under-performing. I have to agree with Rahul_78 - indeed Bhajji needs to take a rest. He is a quality performer, and sometimes taking a break inviogrates a person. A combative person like him is an asset to any team, and therefore even performing at 50% of his capacity of his primary skill, he is still adding value to the Indian team. However, there are people like Mishra and Ashwin to back him up in his absence from the team, which no doubt will benefit him and the Indian team no end.

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    Many suggest that we should go in with five specialist bowlers for the England tour, and I endorse that. We need to pick the bowlers wisely - those who can exploit the swinging English conditions. Zak and PK would be automatic choices for their swinging abilities. Ishant would be the next logical option after his strong performances in WI. The fourth seamer slot would be a toss up between Munaf and Sree. Based on current form, Munaf gets my vote.

    For the spinning option, I would be a toss up between Bhajji and Mishra. I guess Bhajji would get the slight edge due to his experience. The temptation to play Mishra is from the fact that PK can trouble the left handers a lot, and the English being susceptible to leg-spin will struggle against Mishra. Raina can bowl some handy off-spin and so can Sehwag provided he is fully fit. VVS too can bowl som decent part time off-spin. Yuvi will provide the left-arm spin variation and is definitely going to taunt KP.

    Go India, all the best!

  • Kerin on July 6, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    johnjoy, muski, you are wrong!!!!!

    The IPL helps nobody, it just allows people to earn money. There is no skill involved.

    Johnjoy, ill mark your words, we don't need five bowlers going to India, we need a good batting lineup with allrounders. Bring Irfan Pathan back, he can take Ishant's role. Yuvraj will take Harbajan's role and bring another allorounder like jadeja for munaf's position. Now you can have a stronger batting line up with one proffesional bowler. Let's revolutionise cricket, let's get rid of the norm we used to use in 1890's and bring in something new. We don't need five bowlers. We just need one bowler with a lot of back ups.

  • Mac on July 6, 2011, 6:12 GMT

    Its been a long time since India have a pace attack of the current batch and will be bouyant for their English tour. I can see them coming out winners in the English series. Its encouraging to read that the younger players like Mukund learning from the more experienced players while actually fielding. Am positive Dhoni will come right in his batting.

  • Rajesh on July 6, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    This is certainly one of the positives of IPL 2011. Who better than Dale Steyn to give a tip or two to Ishant on Fast bowling. As Mukund said that he learnt by watching Chanderpaul, these young cricketers can learn a lot from asking and watching their seniors play. For that they should have a clear mind and a thinking head. All the best Ishant. Hope he does not look back from here. BCCI should preserve him too. Too much cricket for the young man may not motivate him to perform at this best.

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