Will the sun rise for Ishant?

"I have rediscovered my rhythm and really enjoying bowling now," says Ishant.-V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM.

“It is hard to predict what will be the prospects for Sunrisers. But as far as I am concerned, my first priority is to help the team’s cause and make it improve upon its last year’s fourth position,” Ishant Sharma tells V. V. Subrahmanyam.

He is the tallest in the Sunrisers Hyderabad team. And, he is keen to grow in stature in the high-profile Indian Premier League 2014.

Ishant Sharma, the gangling fast bowler who missed the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, believes that a decent showing in the IPL for his franchise should do him a world of good.

He is still remembered for his amazing spell to the former Australian captain Ricky Ponting in the 2008 Test series Down Under, and Ishant retains the boyish enthusiasm to keep improving. “Or else, you will get stuck in your career,” he says with a big smile.

“Honestly, I thought I really bowled well both in South Africa and New Zealand. I have rediscovered my rhythm and really enjoying bowling now,” says Ishant.

“Definitely, when you are not picked for the national team, you tend to be disappointed. Well, I apparently did not fit into the selectors’ game-plan. But, more importantly I wish to look as to where I stand and it is imperative for me to look ahead,” explains the 25-year-old fast bowler, who has played 55 Tests and 72 ODIs so far.

Reflecting on the last South African and the New Zealand tours, Ishant says it was a great challenge to bowl in those conditions. “The wicket in Johannesburg was good for fast bowlers, but in Durban it was comparatively slower,” he points out.

“And, in New Zealand, you needed to bowl in the right areas, especially when initially the wickets favoured the bowlers. But, unfortunately, as the games progressed, they turned flat and it was never easy to bowl on such wickets. Patience is the key and that’s what I tried,” Ishant remarks.

“Having played so much of international cricket I have the experience to assess any given situation and more importantly know my strengths and bowl accordingly,” Ishant says.

And his eyes light up when the question of his partnering South African speedster Dale Steyn in the IPL comes up. “He is a terrific character. Always affable, his greatest characteristic being a helpful nature. Often he comes up with new plans and we set the field accordingly. A truly remarkable fast bowler indeed,” Ishant remarks. “With Steyn, it is always a continuous learning process,” he adds.

On Irfan Pathan joining Sunrisers this year, Ishant is pretty pleased. “He has done really with the Indian team and is a great asset after coming back from an injury. He looks confident by the way he is bowling in the nets. It should be great to bowl alongside players like Steyn and Irfan,” Ishant points out.

Ishant seems to love the company of the West Indian, Darren Sammy, too. “He is a real good friend of mine. He has played so much of international cricket that his experience is invaluable on any given day. He is a wonderful character to play with,” he says. “And, it is not just laughing around when I share his company. We discuss a lot of cricket too,” Ishant adds.

Ishant also believes that the presence of the Australian hard-hitting opener, David Warner, will be another major plus. He not only boosts the batting line-up, he is also a crack fielder.

“It is hard to predict what will be the prospects for Sunrisers. But as far as I am concerned, my first priority is to help the team’s cause and make it improve upon its last year’s fourth position. It was only the debut season last year, but look at how well we performed. There’s no reason why we should not do better this time around,” concludes a confident Ishant.