I Hardly Found Any Joy in my Bowling But Stint With Sussex Changed Everything: Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma (© Delhi Capitals)

Before 2017, there came a phase when Ishant Sharma had stopped enjoying his bowling but then a stint with English county club Sussex helped him rediscover the joy which reflected on his performance too.

“People keep saying Ishant 2.0, which it makes it sound like I am a robot! But the phase before 2017 was one when the pressure to perform was a lot,” Ishant said. “I gave me sleepless nights, and I hardly found any joy in my bowling. My county stint with Sussex was what changed everything.”

Throwing light on his time with Sussex where he was working with their coach Jason Gillespie, Ishant said it was a ‘gruelling stint’ which he grew accustomed to.

“It was a gruelling stint for me because I was bowling 22-23 overs in a day, batting as well, and then coming back home to do the chores. It was a tough drill but somehow I enjoyed it a lot,” he recalled.

The 31-year-old, who has 297 wickets from 97 Tests so far, learnt a lot about himself while playing county cricket that changed his outlook.

“It was kind of a self-realisation also,” he said. “I think I enjoyed a lot more there and I ended up learning a lot about myself – credit also to Jason Gillespie who was my coach there. When I came back to India to play after that, I felt a lot free and focused only on enjoying the present, which took off a lot of pressure from me. That change in mindset is the reason for me being an improved cricketer today.”

With no cricket not resuming for the foreseeable future and sportspersons confined indoors, Ishant says it was tough accepting the new normal but he has since changed his schedule accordingly

“I’ve started waking up at 5 am and I ensure that I’m putting in a running session in the morning and then working out during the day to stay very fit. I think it’s really important to be very disciplined if you are keep performing at the highest level, and I think that is what sets the best apart from average,” he said.