Senior Indian pacer Ishant Sharma believes fast bowlers will need to get used to the ‘new normal’ if the ICC decides to ban the use of saliva to shin the Cricket ball due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is reportedly thinking on the lines of allowing the bowlers to use artificial substances on the ball instead of saliva in an aftermath to the COVID-19 scenario, effectively legalizing ball-tampering. This idea has invited a mixed response from the cricketing world.
Ishant Sharma during an Instagram live with his IPL franchise, Delhi Capitals, said, “We know there are talks of some changes and adjustments in cricket, but I feel cricketers will have to get used to the new normal, whatever that is”
“The ball may not shine as per your liking if you are not allowed to use saliva, or you may have to go and fetch the ball yourself during nets – but there is no option but to get used to these things.
“But honestly I don’t like to think about these things too much. I feel it is important to stay in the present and not look too far ahead,” said the Delhi pacer.
During the live chat, Ishant also highlighted the point that his coach at the Delhi Capital, Ricky Ponting is the best coach he has played under in his cricketing career and the former Australian captain have made him feel wanted from the word go when he was making a comeback to IPL last year.
Ishant was bought by the Delhi Capitals during the auction in 2019 after he went unsold in the previous auction.
Ishant, a veteran of 97 Tests, admitted that he felt like a debutant on the first day at the Delhi Capital’s camp before the coach Ricky Ponting took him under his wings.
“He’s the best coach I’ve ever met. I was very nervous when I was making a return to the IPL last season. I was almost feeling like a debutante walking into the camp the first day, but he gave me a lot of confidence since the first day I arrived at the camp.
“He just told me, ‘You’re a senior player and you should help the youngsters. Just don’t worry about anything – you’re my first choice.’ And I think that bit of conversation really helped me,” Ishant said.
When he was asked about his time when he got the better of the Australian captain in the 2008 tour of Australia, Ishant said, “People still talk and ask me about the Perth Test, and the spell I bowled to him. Later that year when Australia visited India too, I was in great form.
“Gary (Kirsten) was our coach then, and he told me that the Australians play only to win…That success I had against them in 2008 is easily one of the highlights of my career.”
Ishant firmly believes that he is a completely different bowler now after his county stint at Sussex under the careful supervision of former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie.
“People keep saying Ishant 2.0, which it makes it sound like I am a robot! But the phase before 2017 was one when the pressure to perform was a lot. I gave me sleepless nights, and I hardly found any joy in my bowling.
“My county stint (in 2018) with Sussex was what changed everything. It was a grueling stint for me because I was bowling 22-23 overs in a day, batting as well, and then coming back home to do the chores. It was a tough drill but somehow I enjoyed it a lot,” Ishant added.
“It was kind of a self-realization also…credit also to Jason Gillespie who was my coach there. When I came back to India to play after that, I felt a lot free and focussed only on enjoying the present, which took off a lot of pressure from me,” he further said.
When he was asked about his daily routine during the lockdown, Ishant added, “I’ve started waking up at 5 am and I ensure that I’m putting in a running session in the morning and then working out during the day to stay very fit.
“I think it’s really important to be very disciplined if you keep performing at the highest level, and I think that is what sets the best apart from average,” said Ishant.