Fanie de Villiers, a former Protea fast bowler, would look frustrated whenever Ishant Sharma would run in to ball during India's tour to South Africa, prior to the World Cup.
“How could he not bowl fast enough after running in so hard,” he would wonder aloud. When he couldn't watch anymore, he asked around for the number of Manoj Prabhakar, the Delhi Ranji coach and an old friend. “Manoj, this lad looks good, but he needs to do lot of gym to build up muscle and strength. He runs in so hard, but the ball isn't reaching the batsman,” he said.
After being ignored for the World Cup, the pacer spent a lot of time in the gym, and the rewards are there to see. While he was bowling in the mid-130s during the South Africa tour, he is clocking high-140s in the IPL.
“He worked extremely hard when he missed the World Cup. He bowled in the nets for close to two hours everyday and spent a lot of time in the gym as well," said coach, Sanjay Bharadwaj, at whose academy Ishant worked out after returning from South Africa.
Besides, a technical flaw too was troubling the paceman. "His body was falling on his delivery stride. This was making it difficult to maintain line and length. We did quite a few drills and asked him to speak to (India) bowling coach, Eric Simons, about it. Thankfully, he's sorted it out," said Bharadwaj.