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BCCI Staff in Mumbai 14 February 2014 - 03:22pm IST

Ishant proves a point

Pacer is pleased he now has wickets to show for his hard work

Ishant Sharma has regained his mojo and how. After claiming 6 for 134 in the second innings of the first Test, he has registered his best Test figures on Day-one at Wellington. Ishant’s 6 for 51 pummeled New Zealand to 192 all-out.

Ishant, has copped much criticism in the last few years for not living up to the promise he showed during India’s tour of Australia in 2007-08. Every time he fails to be effective, memories go to the scintillating spell he bowled to Ricky Ponting in Perth.

After his recent exploit, he put his head up and said, “I am the same bowler who bowled against (Ricky) Ponting in 2007-08 and the same bowler who was man-of-the-series in 2011. I am the same bowler.”

New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson said that the Indian bowlers started from where they left in Auckland, and Ishant agreed that the conditions at both venues are very similar. “This pitch is the same as last match. I don't analyze my bowling a lot, because at this stage, ahead of the game it is only about mental thinking," Ishant said.

Ishant took the opportunity to reveal what he thinks about his bowling performance in the last few months. "I have been bowling well since South Africa. It is just that people are recognizing more now, because I am taking more wickets. I didn't do anything different. Just looked to bowl in the right areas, in fact we all did, we all bowled very well. Only (Mohammad) Shami and I got the rewards. Zaheer (Khan) was very unlucky to not take any wickets," he said.

Ishant was grateful to his captain for calling it right at what proved to be a very crucial toss. "It was obviously good to win the toss. The wicket had a spongy bounce and it was a juicy wicket in the morning. We were disciplined in our bowling today. In the first innings at Auckland, we got a bit carried away looking at the fresh pitch. But we learnt from the second innings there that if we bowl with discipline, we will get more rewards. And that's what we did today, looking to bowl in the right areas, rather than take wickets," said Ishant.

Since Zaheer Khan is back and Shami has shown his ability to get the ball to nip, Ishant has been thrust with the role of a first-change bowler. He has no problem with it. "I will do whatever the team needs me to do. This is a team sport. If they see me fit as a one-change bowler or any other role, wherever they can see that I fit in their plans, I will do that," he said.

On the first day at Basin Reserve, Ishant’s role was not restricted with the ball. After Cheteshwar Pujara got out, he came in to bat as a nightwatchman and is unbeaten with Shikhar Dhawan. Ishant opined that the wicket has eased down a bit and that India should look for a big total.

"The wicket is a bit better now. The ball is coming on to the bat. The ball isn't moving around a lot, at least not as long as I batted. But obviously the Kookaburra ball moves a lot when it is new. "We are very happy with how Shikhar (Dhawan) batted today. Even (Cheteshwar) Pujara, even if he didn't get too many runs, he hung in there. Tomorrow, we will try to get as many runs as possible," he said.