Ishant Sharma

Ishant Sharma said the decline in his performance has nothing to do with the amount of cricket being played Getty Images

Mumbai: Dec 7, 2012

Indian pacer Ishant Sharma believes that condition of pitch does not affect his bowling, and one day would like to be in a position where the pace spearhead Zaheer Khan is.

Ishant said, “Bowling on flat tracks in India, you need to know how to bowl reverse swing. When the ball gets old and soft, only the ones who can bowl pretty quick can make the reverse swing work.”

He told Cricbuzz., “Whenever me and Zak (Zaheer) played together, we had a lot of success. We had a good bonding and I learnt so many things from him. There’s no doubt that he is a tremendous bowler.”

Ishant said the decline in his performance has nothing to do with the amount of cricket being played, and it is lot about preparation.

“You can’t blame that on excessive amount of cricket. It’s all about training well. I realized from my mistakes and started training hard. I feel I’m bowling much better now and I have started afresh,” he said.

Recalling his famous duel with the recently retired Ricky Ponting, the lanky Indian pacer said the team wanted to make a mark.

“After what happened in Sydney, everyone were charged up and we wanted to show what we can do to the Aussies. We were positive and at the same time we were focussed on implementing the plans we had for every single batsman. The Perth pitch was offering movement and I was just bowling good line and lengths,” he said.

“I didn’t even realise at that time that I did a big thing, beating Ricky Ponting continuously for 9 overs before getting him out. All the newspapers, the Australian media and the commentators praised me. As a youngster, it was a good thing to happen for me. People say touring Australia is the toughest in the world and it was my first tour Down Under. I took positives from these kinds of comments,” Ishant added.

Ishant expressed that praise from cricket experts and media helps a player to maintain confidence.

He said, “As I told you, when you see these kinds of comments and praises, you realize what you have done and you gain confidence from that. You feel proud of yourself that you did something for the country. Troubling the most dangerous batsman in the world in the Tests gave me a lot of confidence which I carried forward to the One Day series and I did well in that as I had the belief in me.”

Ishant says it is difficult for a bowler to maintain fitness.

“There will obviously be a lot of changes that a bowler undergoes in his career. My body was different when I was 18 and I am 24 now, with your age the muscles grow. Your body acts differently with age. I have understood my body and my bowling now. When I started, I was bowling, you could say with only self-belief and nothing else. Now I am a more matured bowler,” he said.

“There is no point in bowling on the seam if you do not know where the ball is going. Instead if you don’t land on the seam but know where the ball is going, that is an important thing to me,” Ishant added.

The 24-year-old Ishant admitted that earlier in his career, he was trying to copy Zaheer s bowling action.

“When you are young, whoever is your bowling partner, you try to copy him. Obviously he was doing well for the country. At that time I had just started playing international cricket. I was very young and I was just enjoying my bowling. I did not know anything about my bowling action,” he said.

Talking about bowling in tandem with Zaheer, he said, “We have jelled well with each other. We talk on setting fields for different batsmen and where we should bowl. It all depends on how much you play together. Obviously, having played so much, you get to know every single player of your team.”

“I have been playing with Zak for five years now and we know how much hard-work we have put to win the matches for the country. We know each other quite well,” he added.

Ishant defended his performances in England and Australia last year, where the Indian cricket team lost Test series in a humiliating manner.

“When I bowled in the second innings at Lord’s, I took four wickets. We did not have Zak at that time and his absence was a crucial thing. If we had dismissed Broad or Prior, the match would have been different. Missing the senior bowler of the team hurt us. It put a huge amount of pressure on my shoulders,” he said.

“I was just backing myself and trying to bowl in the right areas. We were playing in West Indies and immediately came to England. We played eight Test matches on the row. It is not an easy thing to do. After that West Indies came to India and we went to Australia after that,” he added.

Talking about his ankle injury that kept him out of action for a long time, Ishant said, “When I was in England, I did not know what happened to my ankle. I knew there was a problem but I did not know to what extent. I wanted to play in the Australian tour because I did well there last time. I wanted to do well in Australia – it’s everyone’s dream to perform well in Australia.”

“The kind of team we had we should have won that tour – in fact both of the tours. But it’s part of the game and you can’t blame anyone. It was tough tours for us but we learnt so many things from those two tours,” he added.