India in West Indies 2011

Simons pleased with Ishant's resurgence

ESPNcricinfo staff

July 5, 2011

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Ishant Sharma's extra bounce troubled the West Indian batsmen, West Indies v India, 2nd Test, Bridgetown, 2nd day, June 29, 2011
Eric Simons: "Ishant's body position forced his grip to change. Now he's more upright, and his wrist is in a better position" © AFP

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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by kezzajakes on (July 8, 2011, 14:20 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!

Posted by Kumar_cricket on (July 6, 2011, 17:11 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.

Posted by psyclops222 on (July 6, 2011, 16:28 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)

Posted by   on (July 6, 2011, 13:05 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!

Posted by muski on (July 6, 2011, 12:56 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.

Posted by amit1807kuwait on (July 6, 2011, 12:12 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.

Posted by   on (July 6, 2011, 9:19 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!

Posted by kezzajakes on (July 6, 2011, 8:31 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.

Posted by SAcharo on (July 6, 2011, 7:12 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.

Posted by muski on (July 6, 2011, 6:17 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.

Posted by Johnjoy on (July 6, 2011, 2:52 GMT)

India must go with 5 bowlers against England..... We need.... Zak, Ishant, Sree, PK and Harbhajan. If they go with 5 bowlers in English conditions...We will win the test series easily. Mark my words.

Posted by MasterClass on (July 6, 2011, 0:26 GMT)

@SnowSnake - You're absolutely right. Case in point is Jimmy Anderson who was smashed all over the park and made to look downright pathetic the last time he bowled in India. But in Aus and Eng he becomes lethal. But look at Zak. He is lethal in ALL conditions, and Ishant is well on his way as well. Munaf, because of his nagging line/length, should also prove effective everywhere if he ever gets fit! But seriously he's a much improved version after the latest IPL (thanks to Shaun Pollock & Jonty Rhodes?)

Posted by DeepakKaushal on (July 5, 2011, 23:02 GMT)

Well anyone trying to defend Bhajji is out of their minds. Both WI and ENG are more susceptible to wrist rather than finger spin and bhajji is taking the space of Amit Mishra who is in good form. Even the few wickets he has taken lately are those of tail enders.

There are other systemic problems. He seems to have totally lost the confidence in his doosra. The same WI bats were mesmerized by Ajmal's doosra a few weeks ago but he cant slide a doosra past them to save his life.

Moreover, his length is too short and his line too legside to be effective. He needs to rest and then practice in Ranji matches to regain his form.

Posted by bestofluckindia on (July 5, 2011, 22:59 GMT)

James Anderson the best bowler in English camp was absolutely smashed all over the park in World cup 2011. In Quarter final they didn't manage to pick up even 1 wkt. Thats how pathetic English bowlers are outside England. At least Indian bowlers can adapt !!! If there is no swing and seam movement English bowlers can't even contain the batsmen they get thumped !! Just look at Stuart broad's misery against Sri lankans?

Posted by bestofluckindia on (July 5, 2011, 22:53 GMT)

India should look to go in with 5 bowlers in England. Zak, Sree/Bhajji, Ishant, Munaf and PK. These 5 bowlers can make up for a good tail too. Probably the best tail in current era. If Sehwag, Gambhir, Sachin, Dravid, VVS, Dhoni can't do it then number 7 more often than not won't. Surely, the deadliest combination isn't it?

Posted by SudhirBang on (July 5, 2011, 22:04 GMT)

Our bowling deserves lot more compliments than what it gets!English conditions seem lucrative for the likes of Praveen & Ishant/Munaf to support Zaheer.Sreeshant will be deadly if he gets his mind right & peak fitness .Bhaji will pale in comparison to Swan's skills but has experience that could be well utilized.Amit Mishra could be used as a weapoin against English who have historically struggled against wrist spin.Dhoni as the captain has a good pool to strategise & choose based on pitches & form.Selectors have done a godo job though would like Pragyan Oja & Aswin to push Mishra & Bhajj respectively more closely...

Posted by Inspector_Clouseau on (July 5, 2011, 21:10 GMT)

In Harbhajan's defence, the pitch on the last day was playing like a regular 3rd day pitch. Almost 2 days of match was lost due to rain and with Sun beating down on day 4 and 5, pitch became batsman friendly for the last one and half days. Indian batsmen failed to take advantage of it on 4th day after tea.

Posted by SnowSnake on (July 5, 2011, 20:45 GMT)

When fast bowlers perform well, spinners perform poorly. Bhajji is King of Indian conditions. Indian fast bowlers do well outside India. I think there is a balance in Indian bowling attack.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 20:23 GMT)

@gitapat ... ive had enough of this bhajji and dhoni bashing... for your kind information, harbhajan took 7 wickets in an innings in cape town just earlier this year on a pitch that DID NOT HELP SPIN against one of the best teams in the world at the moment.... dhoni smacked steyn (worlds no. 1 bowler on a pitch that helped quick bowlers) and morkel all around supersports park in centurion en route 90, and demolished the kiwis for 98 just before that... add to that the fact that dhoni is by far the best captain in the world at the moment... and witnessed by his immaculate field placement and agressive declaration a couple of days back... so please give the guys a break they've just had one poor series... they r winning our team matches, so stop criticizing, and appreciate their efforts!

Posted by the_blue_android on (July 5, 2011, 20:13 GMT)

SettingSun - Pasted by whom? The way Englishmen batsmen? Their 1.5 RPO batting strategy may work against substandard teams who get bowled out in a session but not against the batting might of India. For the English to win this series, they need to bat at 4.0 RPO which is impossible with the number of plodders in the team.

Posted by india-the-worldchampions on (July 5, 2011, 20:02 GMT)

All those people (like ian chapell etc) who have the view that Indian bowling is ordinary. Mates let me tell you India have 3 bowlers currently ranked in Top 10 while england and SA have only 2 bowlers ranked in top 10. So, you guys don't underestimate the indian bowling.Infact i can say that India's bowling is better than the overrated English bowling. This would be proved by the end of the 4th test as you people might have seen how the Indian bowlers caused havoc in SA and I guess the overrated English team and their commentators would be left with only these words that "The Indian Team has improved a lot" after losing the series to India as it's not the aussies or SL whom you are playing against but rather its THE WORLD CHAMPIONS AND THE NO.1 TEST SIDE in the world. Goodluck maybe the english team needs it the most.

Posted by US_Indian on (July 5, 2011, 18:41 GMT)

Mr.Simmons..Please do this and make India a real force in bowling too, we have been relying too much on the batting and with fading of the fab 4 of which only 3 are left and slowly those 3 along with sehwag will fade away and I dont see much of a batting revival with these new guys so only way to stay on top is to have better bowling unit the way we used to have in the 60's to 80's with spin as our main weapon but now it seems pace can do the magic. We have Zaheer aging who pretty soon will be fading so if you start working now with the experienced ones -Munaf, Zaheer, Sreeshant, Ishant, Irfan, Praveen, R.P.Singh along with new guys like Unadkat, Umesh Yadav, Mithun, bring in guys like Aaron, Kamran Khan, Chahal, please go around the club matches all over the country and pick raw diamonds and polish them the way Imran Khan used to do for Pakistan and fast track them,have a pool of 10-15 fast bowlers and please do not ignore the spin quotient, after Kumble spin area seems to be weaker.

Posted by SnowSnake on (July 5, 2011, 18:32 GMT)

I always thought Indian fast bowling attack is very impressive. It is the Indian pitches that make Indian fast bowling ordinary. When all fast bowlers from different countries bowl in Indian conditions as in IPL and recent world cup they look ordinary as well. The only exception is Latish Malinga, who does better mostly due to his excellent yorkers that ignore the quality of pitch.

Posted by bhanuks on (July 5, 2011, 18:28 GMT)

"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."

Huh?!? If a bowler does not plan to take wickets or play cricket for that, why is he in the team? What is the point in playing?

Why is Harbhajan crucial - without taking wickets? Currently, he is the biggest liability in the team. On form or quality Amit Mishra should be playing. Harbhajan is STRUGGLING to take wickets against this second string test team. And he is a "spearhead". Most laughable comment!

Posted by harshbansal on (July 5, 2011, 17:50 GMT)

Simon says," People see Harbhajan as an attacking force and tend to play him defensively"...

Yeah people play him defensively by hitting for 3 consecutive sixes..(Sammy in 1st match)..

Posted by SettingSun on (July 5, 2011, 15:44 GMT)

Yeah, I'm sure it's nothing to do with a couple of bowler friendly pitches and the worst batting line-up in test match cricket right now. Ishant will get pasted in England.

Posted by Aussasinator on (July 5, 2011, 15:21 GMT)

Simons said - "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."

problem is they respect only our pacers now, not the spinner(s) !

Posted by gitapat on (July 5, 2011, 14:45 GMT)

Harbhajan Singh is past his prime and has no place in the Indian Team.He should be replaced by Ashwin in all the 3 formats who will compliment Amit Mishra.He is justifying his inclusion in the Team on his batting.And makes up for the continuous failure of Dhoni in batting in Tests.It is sad that that the selectors are refusing to see reality and weakening the Indian Test team by the inclusion of both.

Posted by S.N.Singh on (July 5, 2011, 14:15 GMT)


Posted by Eyal on (July 5, 2011, 14:04 GMT)

If India will shape up her bowling it will realy become a very very complete team. The batting is already very very strong. The bowling with some work and consistency from the selectors will become reasonable and maybe good. Zaheer is already a very good bowler. with some work on the bowling of Munaf, Ishant and praveen India can havegood four fast bowlers attack. Ishant has to work on his fittness and gain some muscles and weight like Zaheer did.

Posted by arup_g on (July 5, 2011, 13:16 GMT)

Ishant is one of the most imporant cogs in the Indian bowling wheel and is a key bowler for the England tour, and the future of Indian bowling. He needs to hit consistency, and bowl at the speeds he has shown in the Windies tour. If he can hit the right length in England, on seamer friendly pitches, he will no doubt be a handful with Zaheer alongside him. He doesn't play any ODI cricket which is probably ideal for him to prolong his test career, and be India's best bowler. I still feel he has a lot to offer in the shorter forms but if India can rely on Zaheer, Praveen, Munaf, Vinay Kumar in the ODI's do we need him?

Posted by Amit416 on (July 5, 2011, 13:15 GMT)

Harbhajan is rubbish now a days and is blocking other quality spinners from making a way into the team..

Posted by KAIRAVA on (July 5, 2011, 12:34 GMT)

Now with Ishant in top form & Zaheer returning to the playing XI, Indian pace bowling alongwith with the stingy Munaf & swingy Praveen should be considered as best versatile & effective pace quartet in world test cricket today. No other team in the world can boast of such a depth of match winners in test pace bowling. South Africa has got only 2 match winners in Steyn & Morkel & England too has got just 2 in Anderson & Tremlett.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (July 5, 2011, 12:16 GMT)

When Zak and Sreeshant are back, India has the variety with Praveen and Ishant in the squad...If Sree can keep the momentum from SA and Ishant can bowl well (and Zak consistent as always) it will be hard for Eng. batsmen.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 10:42 GMT)

He iz always good for test bt plz dont send him odi squad cz in that area he fail n fail again..

Posted by kezzajakes on (July 5, 2011, 10:40 GMT)

this bowling line up is one of the worst in the world. India needs to train their bowlers more if they are going to be number 1.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (July 5, 2011, 10:35 GMT)

Don't worry once he bowls an amazing spell to Alistair Cook (world in-form batsman) he will quickly fade away again. Then we endure another 3 year wait before he bowls another amazing spells to the top batsmen of that time.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (July 5, 2011, 10:10 GMT)

Harbhajan needs a break from the game. He has been playing relentlessly for past few years in all formats of the game since Anil Kumbles retirement. It is always good for bowlers some times to get off the radar, access the area of their game which needs improvement and come back stronger. Also he doesn't have any serious competition when it comes to test selection to keep him on his toes. Hopefully immersion of R Ashwin will egg Harbhajan on to improve his game.

Posted by SudharsanVM on (July 5, 2011, 10:08 GMT)

Why so many ppl defend harbhajan? He is not picking wickets regularly and really struggling. He is the one man in the team, who has been playing nonstop cricket from SA tour, WC,IPL, and now in WI too. Better he can take rest.

Posted by mrgupta on (July 5, 2011, 10:03 GMT)

I feel with the kind of pitches prepared for the first 2 tests it wud be hard for Bhajji to be among lot of wickets. He is not as great as Warne or Murli but still he is very effective when conditions are better suited. We can see that on either side its the fast bowlers who have enjoyed bowling and are among wickets. Bhajji's presence is still crucial to India as he is still better than other spinners we have in our squad plus he adds that extra depth to the batting. Ishant's bowling has been great to watch and he has looked the most threatening bowler on both sides. With Zak's return Indian seamers will pose a huge challenge to English team if they are preparing fast and bouncy pitches. They themselves should prepare hard as Indian seamers will make them pay if they don't.

Posted by moko58 on (July 5, 2011, 9:40 GMT)

Harbhajan is a kind of all rounder. He helped India make up a respectable first innings score in the first test when the top order had collapsed.

Posted by   on (July 5, 2011, 9:35 GMT)

Ishant also benefited from partnering with SA's Steyn during IPL. Steyn seems to have counseled Ishant to stick to ' Fast Bowling'.It seems to have paid off! This also addresses that IPL has definitely created bondship amongst international cricketers err.. what one terms as ' cricketing spirit'.

Posted by kingcobra85 on (July 5, 2011, 9:03 GMT)

so IPL is helping players

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