Dubai: India’s senior paceman Ishant Sharma has left a lasting impression in Jason Gillespie, the former Australian pace ace and now a guru among fast bowling coaches in the world.
Sharma, who turned out for Sussex under Gillespie'c coaching in 2018 on the eve of India’s tour of England, was apparently on a journey to rediscover himself as a bowler and that stint had certainly helped him to survive the stiff competition from younger fast bowlers and still hold on to his place in the longer format.
Speaking in an interview on Youtube channel ‘Cow Corner Chronicles with Chandresh,’ Gillespie said: “You know what really struck me about Ishant was his thirst for knowledge, his willingness to listen, ask questions, try new things, because sometimes you can get senior players, experienced players who will just go about and do their thing. They know what they need to do and that’s fine. But Ishant was very much...he knew what he needed to do to bowl well. He also knew he wanted to get better,”
Sharma went on to become the highest wicket-taker for India in the five-Test series with 18 wickets, apart from equalling the legendary Kapil Dev’s record of 43 wickets against England - the highest for any Indian bowler.
It was really good for our young bowlers at Sussex to see such an experienced player (Ishant Sharma), who has played so much Test cricket, continually trying to improve and get better
“Knowing that India were going to be playing in England later on, I think he saw it as a very good opportunity, to learn and bowl in English conditions, and test himself. Look he was fantastic with us at Sussex,” Gillespie said.
The Australian, whose alongwith Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee, formed the pace trio of the modern day ‘Invincibles,’ said the Delhi bowler also made an impact on the players in Sussex.
“He is an Indian Test bowler, and he is bowling really hard and working really hard to get better at his game, and he has played about 80 Test matches (at the time). And he is still trying really hard to get better each and every day. So, it was really good for our young bowlers at Sussex to see such an experienced player, who has played so much Test cricket, continually trying to improve and get better,” added Gillespie.
Shifting sights on the great batsmen during his time, Gillespie rated Sachin Tendulkar, alongside Brian Lara, as the toughest batsman to dismiss in his career.
“Two different types of players, two equally difficult to get out. I always felt, Sachin was probably a little bit harder to dislodge, in terms of getting his wicket, but I didn’t feel he would take you apart, in quite the same way as Brian. I always felt I was in with more of a chance to get Brian out because he was a bit more expansive, with his game. But I found Sachin’s defence was very hard to get through.
“Look two fine players, I am just really glad that I don’t have to bowl to them anymore. They were just far too good. It was actually for me personally was quite an honour, for all those names that I just mentioned. It was a wonderful time to be a cricketer, got to bowl against the best in the world. For me that was very satisfying,” said Gillespie.