With his England tour cut short due to injury, paceman Ishant Sharma is back for treatment. He will be heading straight to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
The bowler made a strong return in the West Indies by claiming 22 wickets in three Tests, but managed 11 in four Tests as England swept to a 4-0 series win. Sharma came to meet his mentor and coach, Shravan Kumar, on Sunday and then spoke to HT.
What is the status of your injury?
I have a ligament tear in my left foot, and there is also a bone impingement in my left ankle. Surgery is the only way out. But if I undergo that now, my foot will be in plaster for about three months and the rehabilitation in all could take about 6-8 months.
Surgery could jeopardise your Australia tour…
It is a very important tour and nobody wants to miss it. So I'll get the surgery done only after the Australian tour. I am going to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, where I'll stay for a week or 10 days to undergo rehab and seek a proper schedule. At the moment, I've been told to do strengthening exercises.
How was the tour to England?
Bowling in different venues in different conditions teaches you a lot.
In India, you know that after the initial burst, you have to wait for the third or fourth day to get something i.e. reverse swing. In England, if the sun is out and there is no moisture on the track, it gets really very flat and that makes it tough to bowl on.
Did Zaheer's injury affect the team's morale?
No, you can't say our morale went down. We were always in the game.
But yeah, if a bowler with 10 years of experience isn't there, it affects the performance. We had England on the ropes in the second innings at Lord's, and if Zaheer was there and had taken a couple of wickets, the result could have been different.
There was criticism that Indian bowlers weren't pitching the ball up…
Pitching the ball up isn't always the solution. I beat Kevin Pietersen (with a snorter dropped short of a length) and had him caught behind to have England reeling in 2nd innings at Lord's. It was a wicket I cherish a lot.
Your form has been up and down…
That happens to every cricketer. You can't always have good times and good form. I was struggling then but now that I am back, I want to make the best use of it.