The life and career of Ishant Sharma has changed, it has changed for good and the pace spearhead is no longer the holding bowler in India's attack, he has the ball and he goes for wickets and he gets wickets. After bagging a 5-wicket haul in India for the first time since 2007, the fast-bowler confessed that he has adopted a new way of approaching life and this has yielded dividends.
It has been 12 years and he has played in 96 Tests, his career has changed, and he picks up wickets more regularly. He has now stopped fussing over things which are not under his control and instead, is looking to control things which are under his control.
'If you desire to keep playing, you'll do well'
"In some sense [it hurts], yes. But I'm at a stage of my life where I've stopped worrying about these kind of things. I'm 31 now, I can't keep worrying now about which format my name has been picked for." Ishant said at the press conference in Kolkata. "Whether I play for India, whether I play Ranji Trophy - I just want to be playing at this point. It's a simple thing. If you desire to keep playing, you'll do well. Cricket's given us everything. If we keep cribbing about small things like these, we will never improve."
Ishant needs to play four more Tests and he will become the first fast bowler since Kapil Dev to play 100 Test for India. He has been playing cricket for 12 years, but is enjoying his best phase now.
"I think I'm enjoying my cricket now," Ishant said. "Earlier I used to put pressure on myself about performing - that I need to take wickets, that I'm only beating the batsman...a lot of things used to run on my mind. Now I don't think too much about those things, just how to take wickets. Obviously I'm experienced so I can assess conditions and adjust my lengths quickly, that makes it easy."
Ishant has developed a new incoming delivery to the left-handers and this has made him even more effective. He has already trapped the left-handers with this new variation both in Indore and Kolkata. He now reveals how he has been working on this new delivery and how he used it only when had the confidence to bring it out in the match.
"You must have seen that normally I used to swing it away from the left-hander," Ishant said, talking of his new incoming delivery. "So I needed to add a variation. Your game only improves when you bring variety to it, and build confidence to bowl those in the match. So I was trying to bowl more of that in practice. In this match, the first wicket that I got - Imrul Kayes lbw - I got him with that ball. The two bowled wickets I got were also that ball. The ball lands and stays straight, it doesn't go away from the batsman."