Courtney Walsh    Getty Images
‘I like the trio of James Anderson, Dale Steyn and Mitchell Johnson’: Courtney Walsh Getty Images

By Kushan Sarkar

New Delhi: West Indies pace legend Courtney Walsh feels that Indian speedster Ishant Sharma needs to work harder in the nets in order to iron out his flaws and achieve consistency. When asked about the current crop of Indian fast bowlers, the 52-year-old Jamaican legend spoke at length about Ishant and gave an insight into what he thought should be done. “I have not seen Umesh [Yadav] much so, I would not be able to comment but I feel Ishant can improve if he works harder at the nets. It’s very important to maintain a high level of consistency in international cricket. You need to consistently hit the right areas and that can only happen if you are able to consistently do it in the nets,” Walsh told PTI during an interaction.

“You cannot just walk into a match situation and do all necessary corrections there. You need to know what are the specific areas that you need to work on. Once you have perfected it in the nets, you can implement that in matches,” said Walsh, who has 519 Test and 227 ODI wickets in his 17-year international career. READ: ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: No Indian in Courtney Walsh s list to watch out for

For Walsh, who has been bowling consultant of Jamaica Tallawahas, his advice for Ishant and co. is to build up on pace and bowl in short bursts. “Pace is a very natural phenomenon. You need good height and build to bowl fast [Malcolm Marshall was an exception]. One needs to be supremely fit to bowl fast. I believe a pace bowler’s ideal spell in a Test match should be five to six overs. That’s the ideal thing,” said Walsh, who still has the second highest wickets among pacers (After Glenn McGrath’s 563) in the history of Test cricket.

Asked who is his favourite fast bowler playing international cricket currently, Walsh said,”I like the trio of James Anderson, Dale Steyn and Mitchell Johnson. All three are fantastic fast bowlers with very differently qualities. For Anderson, it is the length that he hits and those lovely out-swingers that he bowls makes him the bowler that he is. Johnson’s pace can be intimidating while Steyn has brilliant variations. I strongly believe that fast bowling has seen a lot of improvisations in the past decade and half since I retired. READ: Courtney Walsh says bowlers have to be one step ahead of batsmen

The conditions in different parts of the world makes it difficult for bowlers. They now require a variety of skill sets. Bowlers nowadays are experimenting more which is a good sign,” said Walsh.

Asked about standard of West Indies fast bowling which seems to have been in decline since Walsh and Curtly Ambrose hung their boots, the Jamaican giant said, “I do not think our cupboard is bare. There are a few youngsters coming up through the ranks. In the Senior team, I think Jerome Taylor is the best fast bowler. Unfortunately, he went through a bad patch but is talent was unquestionable and is now bowling far better which is a good sign for West Indies cricket,” concluded Walsh.