“I have only one motive that I want to win matches for India with my performances," said Sharma in an interview to bcci.tv before the second Test at Lord’s. "Whichever ground I play (in), my purpose is to win matches for the team with my performances.
“My motivation has completely shifted and now my focus is on how I can help my team win with my performances. It has also helped me bowl long spells. The only thing that matters to me is that I help my team win.”
With 83 caps, Ishant is the most experienced player in the current Indian squad that has come to England for the five-Test series. Having debuted back in 2007 as a 19-year-old, the lanky fast bowler started off in grand fashion and was touted the next big thing in Indian cricket.
However, as the numbers suggest, Ishant despite being the perennial workhorse for India in Tests, has not always been amongst the wickets. In the 83 games, he has picked up 244 scalps at an unimpressive average of 35.05.
That finally seems to be changing for the 29-year-old. In the last six Tests that he has been a part of, Ishant has picked up 26 wickets at 19.30. Sharma though insisted there was no massive change that he brought about in his game plan.
“The process always remains the same. You have to focus on where you have to bowl and how to execute your plans," he said. "At the end of the day, when it works out, then you feel satisfied and happy. It is important to take up responsibility when you are a senior bowler.
“You have to be performance oriented. I have not done anything special. It’s just the mindset, which is totally different for me. You start believing in yourself and you hit the right lengths. If you bowl at a particular length consistently and play with the batsman’s patience, you will eventually get success.”
India seem to have unearthed an excellent crop of pacers in recent times and that seems to be showing in the results. With the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah in the setup, Sharma says that there is a lot of healthy competition in the side.
"The current lot is a competitive fast-bowling unit. We have a healthy competition amongst ourselves, which is a good sign for the team.”
“Everyone knows if they don’t perform they can be out of the playing XI. Because of this, players are always on their toes. Things are quite simple in this team, if you perform you will be in the team and if you don’t you will sit out.”
First Published: August 10, 2018, 7:43 PM IST