Change in attitude working wonders for Ishant Sharma

Change in attitude working wonders for Ishant Sharma

India's Ishant Sharma (left) gives a thumbs up during the first day of the second Test against Bangladesh on Friday. AFP

Ishant Sharma claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in the very second match and his first on the Indian soil – against Pakistan in Bengaluru in December 2007. It took him 36 Tests spread over 12 years to repeat the feat - his 5/22 against Bangladesh on the opening day of the day-night Test at Eden Gardens on Friday, putting India in driver’s seat.

“I did not do anything different. I did the same thing that I have been doing all these years,” said the paceman when asked about his performance. “If you see, we are playing only our second series in India in the last two years, we have been playing abroad a lot. So, I just wanted to continue the same form and wanted to go with the same mindset with which I play abroad to take wickets… I thought if I can take wickets abroad, why not in India,” he offered.

While he may be doing the same things, there is a definite change in his mindset that is reflecting in his performance. Along with Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the Delhi paceman has heralded a new era in Indian cricket. With his improved version, he has provided a new edge to the Indian pace attack.

“I am enjoying my cricket right now,” said Ishant when asked as to what has brought about this change in him as a bowler. “I used to put a lot of pressure on myself earlier. I used to think a lot like ‘I am beating the batsmen but I (still) have to take wickets.’ Now I don’t think all that, all I tell myself is that I have to take wickets. Obviously, I have the experience and so I look to adjust to the conditions as soon as possible.”

Further emphasising the change in his outlook towards life in general and cricket in particular, Ishant said he has stopped worrying about things that are of little help to him.

“Somewhere you do feel bad but I am at such a stage in my life, I have stopped worrying about these things,” he said when asked about not being part of limited-over scheme of things. “They don't affect me. I am 31-year-old now and if I start worrying about which format I am in and not (then it doesn’t help my cause)…Whether I play for India or in the Ranji Trophy, I just want to play and that’s how simple it is. If you want to play, you will start enjoying it.”