ishant-sharma

India pacer Ishant Sharma has revealed that working on the mental aspect of his game has resulted in him tasting success on a regular basis.

During India’s close defeat in the first Test against England at Edgbaston, Ishant took six wickets across the two innings that included a five-wicket haul in England’s second dig. He is now seventh in the list of India’s top wicket-takers in Test cricket with 244 wickets in 83 matches.

“I haven’t done anything different,” Ishant told Bcci.tv in an interview. “I have only changed my mindset. The mindset changes completely when you keep on consistently hitting the right lengths. When you are able to bowl as per plan, then your confidence rises. If you can hit a particular length for a long period and test the patience of the batsman, success will come.”

Talking about what keeps him motivated, Ishant said, “My only motive is, wherever I’m playing whether England, Australia or South Africa, to win matches for the team. As you can see I am now able to bowl longer spells. Process is always the same – you should know the areas to bowl on and how you are going to execute the plans. At the end of the day, when you do get the results, it feels really good. The worth of a process shows when the numbers in your wicket column keeps rising.”

There was period in the 29-year-old’s career when despite bowling well for a long period of time, wickets were hard to come by, following which he was bestowed with the unwanted moniker of “Unlucky Ishant”.

“People keep saying well bowled but hard luck when you aren’t taking wickets. These things are OK for a certain period, when you are young. But once you become a senior, you have to become more of a performance-oriented player,” Ishant said.

Despite trailing the series 0-1, India will be hoping to repeat history when they take field against England at Lord’s – the venue of their only win the last time there were on England shores for a Test series in 2014.

Ishant was the star of the Test for India as he picked up a seven-wicket haul in the second innings to seal a 95-run win. You are an athlete. Your job is to win matches for the team. Then look forward to the challenges that lie before you in life. This is my thinking.

Indian team is now blessed with a strong bunch of fast bowlers and Ishant feels that the emergence of these individuals is good as there always is a healthy competition within the team. “We have a competitive group of pace bowlers. There’s a healthy competition between them – anyone can be dropped or picked based on performance. It’s a good sign for the team. It keeps you on your toes – if you don’t perform, you will lose your place. It’s simple: Perform and keep your spot,” he said.