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Home > Cricket > Pakistan's tour of India 2007 > Report

Hard work pays off for Ishant

Harish Kotian in Bangalore | December 11, 2007 20:04 IST
Last Updated: December 12, 2007 08:36 IST

Delhi youngster Ishant Sharma said it was tough getting his first five-wicket haul in Tests, against Pakistan in the third and final Test in Bangalore on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old took five wickets for 118 runs in the first innings on a flat pitch.

India scored 626 in the first innings and Pakistan replied with 537. In their second essay, India were 131 for 2 at the end of the fourth day.

"It was very difficult bowling because it was not an easy track to bowl on. It was a flat wicket," he said.

It was a great comeback by the tall pacer, who took four quick wickets to demolish the Pakistan lower order with sharp incoming deliveries.

"Yes, I did try different things. I changed my line and used the crease very well. I tried change of pace also and all these things did help," he said.

Ishant acknowledged bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad's tips and said the former pacer suggested a few changes which helped him a great deal on the batting-friendly wicket.

"He (Prasad) did speak to me on my bowling and spoke to me on my get-up. He told me to change my line and length and to use my height. He discussed a few technical points with regard to my bowling," he said.

Playing in just his second Test, Ishant's inexperience did show somewhat, as he conceded nine no-balls in India's dubious world record of giving away the most extras (76).

"It's not a good thing conceding no-balls and I realise that I must work on it. But, in a match, if you start concentrating on no-balls, then I think you won't be able to concentrate on your bowling," the pacer added.

Ishant was drafted into the team after regular pacers Zaheer Khan [Images], S Sreesanth [Images] , R P Singh and Munaf Patel [Images] were ruled out due to injuries. In the absence of the seniors, he and Irfan Pathan [Images] were entrusted the difficult task of shouldering the burden of India's pace bowling department.

Asked whether he missed the absence of seniors' guidance, Ishant replied: "Everyone was helping me out on the ground. Everyone was telling me that you have to bowl like this or like that. So it is a good thing that everyone is helping you out."

He revealed the secret of his improved showing on Day 4 and said he did not try too many things.

"I think on this wicket, it will help you if you are patient with the ball. So I was patient and tried to maintain a good line and length and that is why I got five wickets," he said.

Ishant also added that he is not scared of giving away runs since his only aim is picking wickets. He justified conceding 20 boundaries in 33.1 overs for return of five wickets for 118 runs, saying: "On a flat track like this, you will go for boundaries. And if you are scared of boundaries then there is no use playing cricket. That is why you need to be brave while playing."

Ishant's previous Test was against Bangladesh in May this year and then he went for the England [Images] tour but didn't get to play in any of the matches. He then went back to domestic cricket and made his comeback to the Indian team with a few strong performances in this season's Ranji Trophy.

"It feels good when you perform in domestic cricket and then come and perform in international cricket too. When you bowl well, personally, you get a lot of satisfaction that you have performed well," he said.

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