New Delhi: Indian paceman Ishant Sharma, who has made a superb comeback in the West Indies, said he lost his rhythm in bowling after trying to copy the bowling action of his senior teammate Zaheer Khan.
“I was trying to copy Zaheer Khan`s action. No doubt he is a great bowler, but I guess I shouldn`t have tried to copy his action,” Ishant told a leading cricket website in an interview.
“When South Africa came to play in India, I started to copy him. I wanted to be a swing bowler. I was forgetting my natural strength of bounce and hitting the deck. When I bowl with my natural style, the ball automatically starts to inswing. That was my strong point, and I should have just stuck to that. That was my greatest mistake.”
“I wanted to swing it from a fuller length and in trying to do that I was copying his action. I thought I could copy his action release, just to get my length fuller. The way I ran, the action, the whole thing was affected.”
Ishant, who had a tremendous series in Australia in 2008 where he posed severe problems for Ricky Ponting with his vicious in-swingers, started losing venom in his bowling after just a year and was subsequently dropped from the Indian squad.
After cooling his heels outside the vicinity of the national team, he finally made a successful return to the Indian team in West Indies. He got back his rhythm, speed and swing which resulted in a 10-wicket haul in Barbados Test.
“The rhythm is back. The important thing is, I am now enjoying my bowling. I visualise every ball and what I need to do. I focus on my strengths. I believe in my strengths more now - the pace and bounce. The last one and a half years have been up and down. I struggled a lot. I would just like this form to continue,”’ said the lanky fast bowler from Delhi.
Ishant, who made his international debut at the tender age of 19, also conceded that the pressure to perform at the highest level had taken a toll on him in the early stages of his career. “When I started, I was just looking to enjoy and bowl fast. Slowly the expectations grew, my responsibility in the team grew, and I didn`t know how to handle that pressure,” he added.