Australian fast bowling legend Jeff Thomson said on Monday that the one key area where the Indian cricket team was found wanting during its last Test tour to Australia was in the discipline of its bowling attack, spearheaded by Ishant Sharma.
"Indian bowlers were not bad, but they lacked discipline on their last tour to Australia. Their concentration dropped off which made it very hard. If you can't bowl 5-6 balls where you want in an over, you will be punished," said Thomson at his first media conference after taking charge of the Mumbai Cricket Association-IDBI Federal Life Insurance Bowling Foundation on Monday.
India lost the four-match Test series 0-2 after slumping to defeats in the first two matches - at Adelaide and Brisbane - while drawing the other two games held at Melbourne and Sydney.
Thomson, who formed a deadly combination with the other great Australian fast bowler of the 1970s -- Dennis Lillee -- also recalled Sharma's impressive stint in India's earlier tour Down Under in 2007-08, when he took the wicket of the then home-side captain Ricky Ponting in both innings with a fiery spell at Perth in the game that India won.
"I think he [Ishant] lacked a bit of discipline. He bowled a lot of deliveries down the leg side. Eight years ago I thought he will be a world beater, but he lost the plot somewhere. He has got very good skills, but needs a rocket....I hope you understand what I am saying," he said to peals of laughter.
Sharma recently hit the landmark of 200 wickets in his 65th Test during India's tour to Sri Lanka.
The 64-year-old Queenslander, who has been contracted for the project for two years and will spend the next month here guiding a group of 30 Mumbai bowlers - a lot of them between 19-23 years of age - said that the more one bowls the more skillful he becomes.
"I hated gym work as I had done a lot of physical work chasing pigs before my entry into international cricket. There's no replacement for actual bowling. I bowled a lot of balls in my time. There's only one way to improve skills as a bowler - by bowling balls," he said in reply to a query on modern day fast bowlers indulging in a lot of work-outs in the gymnasium.