Sharma: Hitting the deck key
New Delhi - Indian paceman Ishant Sharma on Thursday credited his return to form in the West Indies to him concentrating on bowling fast and not trying to copy the action of teammate Zaheer Khan.
Sharma has so far bagged 16 wickets in the first two Tests of a three-match series in the Caribbean, including a maiden 10-wicket haul in Barbados.
"My bowling suffered because I was trying to copy Zaheer's action. I wanted to be a swing bowler, forgetting that my natural ability was to hit the deck," Sharma told the Indian Express newspaper.
Sharma said it was in 2008 when South Africa toured India that he started copying Zaheer, a key fast bowler with 271 wickets in Tests and 273 in one-day internationals.
"No doubt Zaheer is a great bowler, but I shouldn't have tried to copy him. We have different styles. His length is fuller than mine and so I thought I can copy his action release," said Sharma.
"Just to get my length fuller I ended up making that mistake. That was my greatest mistake. Now I just stick to my basics and my strengths. And I guess it is paying off."
Sharma played a key role in India's 63-run victory in the opening Test against the West Indies in Jamaica, finishing with six wickets, before being named man of the match in the drawn second Test in Barbados.
India currently lead the series 1-0.
"The last one-and-half years have been up-and-down. I struggled a lot. The important thing is now I am enjoying my bowling," said Sharma, who made his Test debut in 2007 against Bangladesh.
"I visualise every ball and I know what I need to do. I believe in my strengths more now, which are the pace and bounce. I would just like to continue my form."
Sharma is one of the five pacemen named in India's full-strength squad for the upcoming tour of England, the others being Zaheer, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel.
India will play four Tests, five one-day internationals and a one-off Twenty20 match on the England tour. The first Test starts at Lord's on July 21.