Ishant relishes spearhead role

Pacer Ishant Sharma has led a young Indian attack with aplomb in recent times. File Photo

At 23, Ishant is the youngest member of this Indian squad, but he is also the leader of the bowling pack following the injury to Zaheer Khan and the omission of Harbhajan Singh. All of 39 Tests old, Ishant is relishing his current role. “Obviously, it’s a great feeling when you know that you are the senior bowler in the Indian team,” he remarked. “There’s a lot of responsibility, I really can’t describe in words how it feels.”

All three pacers in the squad – Ishant himself, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron – can all clock upwards of 140 kmph. “It’s a good thing because everyone was saying India can’t produce a fast bowler,” Ishant observed. “Now, all the three fast bowlers bowl consistently at 90 mph per hour, which is good for Indian cricket.”

Zaheer has been both the spearhead and the mentor of the quick-bowling unit for a while now. “Obviously we are going to miss him, he is a very senior bowler,” Ishant admitted. “But injuries are part and parcel of the game. If someone is injured, you have to play the role of the senior fast bowler. You need to go with the people you have in the team and do your best for the team.”

No complaints about pitch

Like his Delhi team-mate Virender Sehwag, Ishant doesn’t believe in fussing over the playing surface. “I have never seen the pitch even once before a match during my 39 previous Tests,” he revealed. “Of course, in India generally we get wickets that are low and slow, and we will keep getting only these kind of wickets. We can’t complain about these pitches.”

There has been some confusion over whether Ishant is deliberately putting off surgery for an ankle injury so that he doesn’t miss the Australian tour starting next month. “I have been having treatment for it at the NCA,” Ishant said. “I have been training a lot when I wasn’t playing. I am fit actually, I don’t need surgery now. Even after the tour of Australia, I don’t need any surgery.”

Ishant and Umesh didn’t get much reverse swing at the Kotla. “Actually on the first day, it is too early to get reverse swing,” Ishant pointed out. “The pitch is not that scruffed up, so you have got to bowl consistently in the right areas. Then, as time goes on, reverse swing only happens on the second day or third day of a Test match.”

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