It was the third ball of the fifth over. Sachin Tendulkar was looking good, but a slower one from Ishant Sharma foxed the maestro and disturbed the woodwork. Bowled!
That was the first time Sharma got the better of Tendulkar. “It’s a great feeling to get him out. That’s the one wicket you never want to forget, how you got him out. So obviously, that was quite emotional and a big wicket for me,” the pacer says.
With 12 wickets from 10 games, Sharma has done well in IPL 6. And his team, Sunrisers Hyderabad, have turned out to be the dark horses. “The team and the bunch of guys we have are really good. We are winning matches because of the team and not because of one individual,” he says.
Hyderabad have been punching above their weight and defending small totals time and again. “We have a good bowling attack. We have belief in our batsmen and the batsmen believe us bowlers. That’s why things have been going in our favour,” he adds.
Bowling alongside the likes of Dale Steyn and being mentored by Waqar Younis is an added incentive for the lanky pacer. “I spoke to him (Waqar) a couple of times and he taught me a lot of things. Dale is also there. The good part about these two guys is they don’t want to change anything in your bowling technique because it’s not all about technique. If your basics are right and you believe in your ability, then it’s all about working on tactics,” he says.
From tormenting Ricky Ponting in Perth to getting Tendulkar bowled, Sharma has come a long way. “At that time, I didn’t know anything. I just bowled. Now, I am a mature bowler. I know where I have to bowl. I have plans for every single batsman. I have evolved into a thinking bowler now,” the 24-year-old says.
And he is content with his pace too. “I am still bowling in the 140s. It’s different in Tests; you have to see when you need to push and when you don’t need to. So I am not worried about any drop in pace. I keep working on pace and bounce. I am bowling fast and I am happy with that.”
So does he think he will make the Champions Trophy squad (the selectors meet on Saturday), “It’s not in my hands. I can bowl well, I can take wickets, I can perform, that’s in my hands. I enjoy my cricket and that’s what I am doing at the moment. I don’t think I need to worry about selection. If you are bowling well, you will get selected.”
He is also impressed with the new crop of fast bowlers. “Good fast bowlers are coming up and we have a bright future. Umesh Yadav, Shami Ahmed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar are all good. Mohit Sharma, who’s from Haryana, is also a good prospect. He plays for Chennai Super Kings. So India’s future is in safe hands.”
Back to the IPL and Sharma wants Sunrisers to make it to the top three. “You can’t really predict who will win because there are a lot of big teams. Our motto is to get better as a team, and as individuals,” he concludes.