'We have given a certain role to Ishant and he is really helping all the bowlers'
'He is sharing his knowledge with the up and coming fast bowlers'
India veteran Ishant Sharma is putting the hard yards in the nets and has wholeheartedly committed to the extra responsibility of mentoring the Delhi pacers in the Syed Musthaq Ali T20 Trophy beginning on Tuesday, team's new head coach Abhay Sharma said on Monday.
A stalwart of 105 Tests, the 34-year-old will be probably making one last attempt for an India comeback when the domestic season gets underway for the Delhi team with their T20 opener against Manipur in Jaipur on Tuesday.
The build up to the new season has not been ideal for Delhi who appointed former India U-19 and India A coach Sharma as head coach only 10 days ago.
The squad for the premier T20 domestic event was announced on October 5 with IPL star Nitish Rana replacing Pradeep Sangwan as captain after a forgettable season in which seven time Ranji champions could not past the league stage of all three domestic tournaments.
Head coach Sharma is aware of the challenges at hand and the 53-year-old said that he and the players are up for it.
"The preparation time was less but somehow we have created a very good environment. I have had one on ones with all the players and they are looking forward to make an impact right from the word go."
"We had a team bonding session yesterday and everyone participated including the senior players (Ishant, Nitish, Navdeep Saini). As professionals, they know their game and bodies better than anyone. We have created an environment where we have put ownership on the shoulders of the experienced players."
Talking about the mistakes made in the last season, the coach said: "It is early days. We will be tested but we are ready. This is my first season, I don't want to talk about the past, we can learn from that. If we take ownership of our respective roles and control tempo of the game we will be in a better position."
On leader of the pace attack Ishant, the head coach said the seniormost bowler in the squad is relishing the additional role assigned to him.
"We have given a certain role to Ishant and he is really helping all the bowlers. After Kapil Dev he is the only Indian pacer to play in 100 Tests."
"He can read the conditions better than anyone and understands what lengths to bowl. He is sharing his knowledge with the up and coming fast bowlers which is a very good sign for the team."
"He is also working hard on his fitness and his bowling."
World Cup winning India U-19 captain Yash Dhull made a successful debut last season. He is set to make his T20 and List A debut this year.
"He is a very energetic player, we have identified his role as well. He plays as per the tempo of the game. The way he bats, it doesn't better the format he is playing. I have no doubt he will succeed in the shorter formats also," said the coach.
Sharma concluded by saying that there is a robust plan in place for workload and injury management of the the players, especially the inexperienced ones.
" I have had discussions with the DDCA officials and senior players on the road ahead which also includes aspects like return to play (after break), load management, recovery and injury management."
"The experienced players already know all about this but it is important for the junior players, especially the fast bowlers."
On new skipper Nitish Rana and whether he can help in bringing back the glory days to Delhi cricket, Sharma added: "Nitish he has done well in domestic cricket as well as IPL. He is someone who is really keen to take Delhi cricket to the next level."