New Delhi: Coach Wants Ishant to Turn Non-vegetarian

New Delhi, Mar 8:
Wiry pacer Ishant Sharma's coach Sharwan Kumar wants the young lad to try non-vegetarian dishes so that he can put on some weight. On the field, he wants Ishant to work on his no-ball problem.

The Delhi-based Ishant, 19, troubled Australian batsmen so much, despite being so lanky, that it has made Sharwan Kumar think about the next step.

"If there is anything I want him to do after his success in Australia, it will be to ask him to put on some weight," Sharwan told IANS here.

"He can put on weight by two ways: by eating non-vegetarian food or by taking the short cut. And I obviously don"t want him to take the short cut," he said, without elaborating.

Sharwan said Ishant has been a vegetarian since childhood.

"He does not even eat eggs. I have been telling him to gradually start eating eggs and I guess he has once or twice tried it too. But he is apparently finding it difficult to switch to non-vegetarian dishes," he said.

Ishant bagged 14 wickets at an average of 20.35 in nine One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in the Commonwealth Bank Triangular Series. He finished third in the wicket takers" list, behind Australians Nathan Bracken (21) and Brett Lee (16).

Widely acknowledged by experts as the most improved Indian player on the long and tough tour Down Under, Ishant also captured six wickets in three Tests against Australia and troubled their captain Ricky Ponting throughout the Test and ODI series.

After a week's rest, Sharwan would like Ishant to sort out his no-ball problem ahead of the three-Test home series against South Africa, starting March 26 in Chennai.

"That has been a problem since I first saw him bowl. The reason is that he starts his run up at a brisk pace," he said. "I have told him to start his run up slowly and gather speed gradually. If he does that, he can overcome his no-ball problem."

Sharwan does not feel Ishant's long legs, with which he takes a long, last stride before delivering the ball, have been a disadvantage really. Neither is he suggesting that Ishant try to bowl from well behind the line to avoid no-balls.

Ishant bowled four no-balls in seven overs in the first innings of his debut Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka in May last year and was again confronted with the same problem in his second Test.

In the first innings of the third Test against Pakistan in Bangalore, Ishant sent down nine no-balls and the problem was extended to the Test series in Australia. In five Tests so far, Ishant has bowled 33 no-balls and 10 wide balls.

On the positive side, the lanky Ishant's bowling can surprise the best of batsmen with his movement, as Ponting found to his dismay. The right-hander was repeatedly flummoxed by Ishant's pace, bounce and swing. After the tour, Ponting acknowledged Ishant's class.

"Ishant has been the standout young player for India in this tour. Everybody has spoken about him. At different times he has bowled very good spells. The spell he bowled to me in Perth (third Test) on the last day was some of the better bowling I have faced in Test cricket," Ponting had said.

"He's (Ishant) someone who's going to be around for a while and play a lot of cricket."


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