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Ishant Sharma’s childhood coach blames Venkatesh Prasad for pacer’s past failures

Ishant Sharma © Getty Images
Ishant Sharma now has the best bowling figures by an Indian at Lord’s © Getty Images

By Kushan Sarkar

 

New Delhi: Jul 21, 2014

Ishant Sharma‘s childhood coach Sharvan Kumar feels that all the criticism that the bowler faced in recent times was “justified” and is also proud that his favourite ward has answered back in the best possible way by winning an overseas Test match for India.

“You can’t deny that consistency has been a big problem for Ishant. Hopefully, this will be the series that will make him a better bowler. He got a flak for his inconsistency and it was justified. Or else, he wouldn’t have been able to correct his flaws and come back stronger,” Sharvan told PTI after Ishant’s seven for 74 helped in India’s 95-run win.

Asked about the kind of problems that Ishant faced, Sharvan didn’t mince words in blaming former India bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad for the problems that crept up in his bowling.

“Ishant is a quick bowler whom Prasad insisted on turning into a line and length bowler. He lost his natural affinity for speed at one point of time. One thing led to other and his action became flawed. The shoulder started dropping and the wrist position also suffered. This caused a drop in pace as well as confidence,” Sharvan, who coached Ishant at the Patel Nagar’s Ramjas College ground since he was teenager.

He did speak to Ishant before he embarked on the tour of England. “I told him to look at his wrist position which should be very straight. He was also becoming a bit open-chested on his final delivery stride which needed to go back to the old-fashioned side on action in order to generate speed. These are little things I told him and I believe that Joe Dawes has done a lot of good work with Ishant after the low he hit with Prasad as the coach,” Sharvan said.

Asked what should be the average speed that Ishant needs to maintain, Sharvan said,”When he is bowling between 135-140 kmph, he does a good job. Hitting the right length at that speed will be rewarding for him on all kinds of surfaces. Also in England, he has not drifted too often spraying the ball all over. Again, it is all about correction of action. He will only get better.”

The veteran coach also said that he has told Ishant that he should be happy with what he has got. “There are times when he feels bad about not being picked for one dayers but I tell him to look at the positive side that he is India’s spearhead in Test matches. Also the snub that he got in this year’s IPL where Sunrisers Hyderabad didn’t play him in most of the matches spurred him to do well. He is an India bowler and he should feel the urge to show people how good he is when he is ignored,” Sharvan concluded.

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