New Delhi: Successive bouncers to rattle the batsman followed by a delivery aimed at the rib cage – enough to get the heart beat racing for any top order batsman, let alone a No. 8. After the softening–up session, a fuller length delivery curling in to crash onto the stumps – Ishant Sharma showed exactly why he is India’s most experienced fast bowler in the whites while taking the wicket of Railways batsman Avinash Yadav for 14 in the Ranji Trophy Group A match at the Karnail Singh Stadium, New Delhi.
Sadly, the exact strategy and that barrage of short balls turn out to be a bane for Ishant in white ball cricket. The batsman lashes on to anything short, forcing him to initiate plan B even before the completion of his preferred strategy. Precisely the reason why the lanky fast bowler has been out of the Indian ODI set-up for 21 months, having played his last ODI in January last year against Australia. But that doesn’t seem to bother him one bit, instead, he wants to focus on the job in hand.
“Right now I’m not thinking about an ODI or T20I comeback, in any case that is not in my control. I’m bowling well and want my team to win matches,” said Ishant to Wah Cricket after leading Delhi to an innings and 105-run win over Railways.
No one can question his mastery with the red ball. He picked up four wickets in the match including a three-wicket haul in the first innings on a pitch that barely assisted seam bowling.
“The aim is to always keep improving as a fast bowler. I don’t want to think too far ahead, cause that can put you under unnecessary pressure, push you into a negative mindset… It’s important to enjoy what you are doing,” said Ishant, who was seen spending considerable amount of time with the young seamers of Railways after the match.
Unlike his Test career, his journey in blues has been a stuttered one with his last full series being in Australia last year, in which he picked up nine wickets in four matches.
Interestingly, his last ODI was also the debut of current India limited overs specialist Jaspirt Bumrah. Ishant however, refused to term the emergence of the young seamers a reason behind his ODI axing.
“The current Indian fast bowling lot is very talented. It’s great to play with such youngsters and I want them to continue giving their best for the country.”
Ishant believes the added responsibility of leading Delhi has given a new dimension to his career.
“It’s a new thing for me to lead a quality side like Delhi… Every player in this team is very talented; I’m thoroughly enjoying leading the young boys,” added the 29-year old.”
Ishant was particularly impressed with Delhi lads Nitish Rana and Anuj Rawat.
“I think we have quite a few players like Nitish and Anuj who have the ability to represent India in future. They just have to keep evolving with every game,” Ishant signed off.