Bridgetown, Guyana: Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who grabbed a career-best six-wicket haul in the ongoing second Test against the West Indies, credited his success on the tour to the tips he got from senior pacer Zaheer Khan and his IPL stint.
Ishant took a career-best 6 for 55 in the second Test on Thursday and in the process completed his 100 wickets in Tests at 22 years of age, the third youngest in India and fifth youngest in the world to do so.
"In a small career, I have seen so many ups and downs. When you are down, nobody asks you," said Ishant.
Ishant is thankful to Zaheer and the rigours of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for making him a better bowler.
"I am thankful to Zaheer because he always stressed the importance of fitness. I never took it seriously. Now I realise how important it is for a fast bowler to be fit."
"I also tried to copy someone else and it affected my pace and rhythm. From this IPL onwards, I began realizing why my body tires, how it recovers. With so many matches and travelling around, I learnt how to train and give off my best."
Now that Ishant has learnt the lessons of life and bowling, he wants to put them to good use to revive his flagging one-day career.
"In one-day cricket, batting powerplays and slog overs require clever bowling. I was never that clever. Now I know my bowling and want to make a comeback in the one-day arena," Ishant said.
Ishant has played 33 Tests and picked up 102 wickets at an average of 33.36 with two five-wicket hauls. In 47 ODIs, he has claimed 64 wickets but it is his economy rate of 5.73 runs per over which has hurt his progress.
Ishant termed his spell in this Test as one of the most important of his career.
"This is one of my most important spells. I know now how to work on each batsman, what to bowl, how to accept situations, conditions and opponents.
"I like Test cricket for you could always come back. If you haven't bowled the first spell well then there are second and third spells. I also know there are bound to be ups and downs in a sportsman's career," he said.
Most young Indian fast bowlers tend to lose their pace after a year or two of international cricket but that hasn't been the case with Ishant.
"Pace and bowling is my strength. For the sake of swing, I wouldn't like to lose my pace."