Ishant Sharma has said he's looking forward to the upcoming Test series against West Indies and firmly believes that the longer format of the game is his best suit. While he is India's number one pick in the Test matches, Ishant hasn't been able to nail a permanent place in the shorter formats of the game. However, the lanky pacer admits that no one is to be blamed for his shortcomings in the One Day Internationals (ODIs) as well as the Twenty20s (T20).
Honest in his assessment, Ishant reasoned that switching across different formats is quite a task for bowlers. "If you are playing all formats of the game, it's very difficult to think what's going wrong for you and what's going right for you," he said. "It's very difficult as you have (a) very short time to understand all these things. I know I didn't do well in T20s. I think everybody has their strengths. I always believe in that, and there is no harm to accept that thing."
Ishant enjoyed a fruitful time when India last toured West Indies in 2011. He finished with 22 wickets from three Tests, at an impressive average of 16.86. It also included match figures of 10 for 108 in Barbados, his best ever return in Tests. Having played in West Indies earlier, Ishant now wants to share his experience with the rest of the bowling attack.
"I am sharing my experiences and hoping that what worked for me also works for them," he said. "But then they have to also identify their areas of strength because everybody has their own strengths. Bhuvi's (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) strength is swing, but he can't extract the bounce like I can do. Similarly, I can't get the ball to swing like him."
Speaking about the pitches, Ishant reckoned that hard work awaited the pacers on pitches which he termed as 'lifeless'. "You have to work hard enough even if conditions are not favourable," he pointed out. "It is easy to give up and say there's nothing in the wicket so spinners will do the job and we (pacers) will only try to hit the areas. But you should back yourself and go flat out. I like to go flat out whether it is my second or third spell. If I am playing, I give my 100%. That makes me a different bowler.
"The conditions are very challenging. It's pretty hot out there, so you need to look after yourself properly. And obviously the time difference, it's totally a different time zone and you need to be mindful of that as well, especially when you are playing four Test matches," Ishant concluded.
India are due to play West Indies Cricket Board President's XI in their second warm-up fixture, a three day game, starting on Thursday (July 14) at Warner Park, St. Kitts, as they continue preparations for the first Test, starting on July 21 at Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua.