press trust of india
CARDIFF, 4 JUNE: Seeking to regain form, Indian pace bowler Ishant Sharma is keen to make a good impression in English conditions during the Champions Trophy tournament starting here on Thursday.
On pitches where the ball is expected to move and bounce, Sharma seeks to improve his tournament record and resurrect a career that is increasingly under threat from younger colleagues.
“The conditions here are just right for me. For both batsmen and bowlers, it’s going to be a challenge,” he said, adding: “It’s going to be a mental thing this time around. If we can bowl in the right areas, the wickets will come and that’s been our focus at the nets,” said Sharma. Yesterday, he worked overtime at the nets at Swalec Stadium here. He bowled at full pace for close to an hour as India rotated their main batsmen on two adjacent wickets close to the main square.
Sharma is clearly not in top form. He leaked runs – a record 66 against Chennai Super Kings — during the Indian Premier League, hardly justifying the price Sunrisers Hyderabad paid to buy him.
In India’s first warm-up game, against Sri Lanka in Birmingham on 1 June, he conceded 41 runs in his six overs and got the wicket of Mahela Jayawardene. But Sharma does not want to read much into all this.
“It’s not the number of runs we fast bowlers conceded but the fact that we repeatedly missed the edge of the bat showed that the ball was being pitched in the right areas,” said Sharma.
This will be his second Champions Trophy. He was part of the pace quartet in the 2009 championship in South Africa that included Ashish Nehra, R P Singh and Praveen Kumar.
Sharma picked up three wickets in two matches, both held at Centurion, a pitch that usually had a lot going for fast bowlers. This time around, the 24-year-old wants to do better. “I have a job to do but I can’t say that I am the boss of this pace attack. It’s going to be a collective responsibility because there are others who will have to do as well. We are all of the same age and you can say I have a little more experience than Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) and Vinay Kumar,” said Sharma.
He, of course, is looking for a lot of support from Irfan Pathan. The left-right combination will help in English conditions and Sharma says: “Irfan has a lot of experience too. He can use the conditions very well. So it won’t be correct to say that I am going to lead the attack alone.”