‘The next 18 months are very crucial and exciting for the Indian team’, says Ishant Sharma

Image courtesy of: CNN IBN

Sharma has been making the most of his two-month break

India pace bowler Ishant Sharma is looking forward to the next 18 months as the national team have some “crucial and exciting” series coming up, which include tours to New Zealand, England and Australia.

Sharma, who has been excelling in the limited overs format, attributes his recent success to the use of two new white balls from both ends.

“Obviously, there has been a big change since the harder seam helps fast bowlers a lot,” Sharma told PTI. “So now instead of one (white) ball getting old in 25 overs like it used to happen earlier, we have a lot more time to work on new balls. This is very beneficial for fast bowlers as you can hit the deck hard with a newer ball and also it swings a lot more.”

Since making his debut in 2007, Sharma had traded in his 140 km/h pace for a better line and length, but the lanky pace bowler believes it was the best decision he ever made.

“Yes, I am happy (with my pace) as I feel that I have matured a lot as a bowler over the past few years,” he said. “I feel that I am more consistent now and is able to attack the batsmen with all that’s there in my skill set. Whether it’s swing or line and length.”

The 25-year-old also explained why “rhythm” was the most important thing to him when bowling.

“Finding rhythm is very important for every bowler and getting things right prior to any important series or tournament makes it all the more easier for me to back my abilities,” he said.

Sharma admitted that he also feels a lot “stronger”, both physically and mentally, and cannot wait to show his worth in all the upcoming series.

“I hope to carry the good form ahead and the focus is on training hard for the upcoming season,” he said. “The next 18 months are very crucial and exciting for the Indian team. I believe the South African pitches shall have a lot to offer for the pace bowlers, the conditions in New Zealand and England have been ideal for swing bowling.

“While I am focussed on performing to the best of my potential at the same time, I would like to keep things simple.”

While some of the Indian players have been enjoying their two-month break, Sharma has been sweating it out everyday at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

“My fitness program is a mix of bowling and strength training to keep me in shape for the season,” he added. “I alternate every day between bowling work-outs at the nets or strength training in the gym. I focus on balance, strength and explosiveness during my training to build up the stamina and power that I need to play all match formats.”

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