With new ball i support Bhuvi: Ishant
In the absence of Zaheer Khan the onus of leading India’s pace attack has fallen on the lanky shoulders of Ishant Sharma. However, unlike the senior pro, Ishant hasn’t quite led from the front when it comes to taking wickets. In the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy, he has picked up four wickets in three Tests, having gone wicketless in the first match. Three of those wickets came in the first innings of the Mohali Test, when he bowled 30 overs – the most he’s bowled in the series.
"In the first two matches, the spinners got almost all the wickets and I didn't bowl much,” Ishant said ahead of the fourth Test, in Delhi. “It was only in Mohali that I got to bowl 30 overs. Before that my job was to contain the batsmen and let the spinners attack.”
Ishant said that his role in the side is to contain runs and let his younger pace partner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, exploit his ability to swing the new ball.
"My bowling is different from Bhuvi,” Ishant said. “He is more effective with the new ball as he can get a lot of swing. I don't get a lot of swing with the new ball in Indian conditions. So I need to wait for the ball to get old so that I can get some reverse swing.
"Till the time the ball gets old, I have to play the defensive role of trying to contain the batsmen. Everyone has been assigned a specific role and we perform our roles accordingly.
"If you watch a Test match in India, during the initial stages, it's not favourable for swing bowling and you need to play a defensive game. Once the ball starts reversing, you can then set attacking fields. But it's more important to know when to attack on subcontinental tracks."
When asked about getting fewer wickets than Bhuvneshwar, Ishant said that it is important to bowl well in pairs rather than just thinking about your own wicket tally.
"Bowling is also like batting. You hunt as a pack. Just like you need a good partnership while batting, it's the same with bowling. If you are bowling well, even if you don't get a wicket, it might help your bowling partner get wickets from the other end."
The team effort that Ishant spoke of has played a crucial role in India going into the fourth Test with an unassailable 3-0 scoreline. The pacer said that winning has brightened the atmosphere in the Indian dressing room. "The dressing room is really upbeat and we are taking a lot of confidence from the 3-0 lead that we have so far.”