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India’s pace spearhead Ishant Sharma believes that his “experience” of having bowled in Australian conditions will come in handy for the other bowlers but he doesn’t want to be looked upon as a “role model” for the likes of Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron or Mohammed Shami.
Ishant has previously been a part of two Test tours in 2007-08 and then in 2011-12.
“All our bowlers are in the same age group, an average age of 26 or 27, which is very good for the Indian team,” Ishant told reporters today.
“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 shot to fame during the 2007-08 tour when he had consistently troubled Australian captain Ricky Ponting. On the subsequent tour in 2011-12, he didn’t do too well as India lost 0-4 in the Test series.
Ishant’s own record took a battering as he now has played 7 Tests in Australia, with 11 wickets at an average of 70-plus.
“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,” he said.
The past one year has seen Ishant live up to that word. He bowled well in South Africa and followed it up with a great showing in New Zealand, almost bowling India to victory in the Wellington Test.
He fulfilled that promise in England, using the short ball to great effect and leading India to a famous win at Lord’s.
Afterwards he broke down as the visitors lost the series 3-1. Fitness will be key again in Australia as team India looks to prepare for a long-haul Test series followed by an ODI tri-series and then the World Cup.
“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 added.
Ishant used the bouncer to good effect in England. But owing to Phillip Hughes’ death after being accidentally hit by one in a Sheffield Shield game, there was a lot of talk about bouncers being muted in the coming series. That thought has been dismissed however.
“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,” he said.
When asked if he will look to attack the batsmen with a bouncer-barrage, Ishant replied,”It depends from batsman to batsman. You have different plans for different batsmen. Straightaway you don’t think that he doesn’t like bouncers so I will bowl that.
“He will be ready for that. You have to think from a batsman’s point of view because every batsman has your videos as well and they have analyzed all bowlers. So they will read where we will bowl. So you need to plan and bowl according to that.”