India’s pace bowler Ishant Sharma believes that his earlier “experience” of bowling in Australian conditions will prove handy for the other bowlers of Team India, but he doesn’t want to portray himself as a “role model” for the likes of Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron or Mohammed Shami.
Ishant has got an exposure of two test tours in 2007-08 and then in 2011-12. On Saturday, Ishant Sharma told reporters, “All our bowlers are in the same age group, an average age of 26 or 27, which is very good for the Indian Team. As such, I don’t see myself as a role model for anyone. What I need to do is focus on my bowling and then whatever I have learnt from my experiences in the past and tours abroad that I can share with my team mates. It is vital to learn from whatever we did right on past tours, focus on that and keep doing the same.”
Ishant had first come into the limelight during the 2007-08 tour when he had consistently troubled Australian captain Ricky Ponting. However during the tour in 2011-12, he could not sustain his earlier performance as India lost 0-4 in the Test series.
Ishant’s own record is not very encouraging, as so far he has played 7 Tests in Australia, with 11 wickets at an average of 70-plus.
Realizing the above equation, he explained, “I learnt an important lesson last time. There were a lot of expectations from me and I have a lot of expectations from myself. I got recognition in Australia but couldn’t live up to it the last time. This time I know I have to control my feelings and expectations. I have to focus on doing the basics right. So I can concentrate better and improve my bowling,”
However during the last one year, he bowled well in South Africa. Again he put up a great show in New Zealand, almost leading India to victory in the Wellington Test with his good bowling. Thereafter, using the short ball to great effect, he led India to a famous win at Lord’s in England.
Afterwards he broke down again as the visitors lost the series 3-1. Given the long-haul Test series followed by an ODI tri-series and then the World Cup, fitness will prove to be a key factor for team India.
“Preparation is different for every tour. Conditions are different in every country, and they are different in New Zealand and England, South Africa and Australia. For me, it depends on how I prepare for different tours. Obviously, if you prepare well and if you feel confident about whatever you do, it will give you best results. That has helped me a lot in recent times,” he said.
“For fast bowlers, it is very important to work on your fitness. If you are bowling well and maintaining your fitness, you won’t even know how quickly four Tests will go past. But we are not thinking too much beyond that, about the tri-series or the World Cup. It is first about these four Test matches alone,” he elaborated.
On the use of bouncers after the sad demise of Philips Hughes, he added, “Obviously, whatever happened is quite sad. We were really shocked. But we are professional cricketers. We have to move on. We need to look forward to what’s next for us and that’s what we did and will do”.