Mohit Sharma talks about supporting Shami and Yadav in crucial middle overs ahead of India's clash against Ireland
Hamilton: From being nowhere in India's playing XI a week before the start of the World Cup, to being an integral part of Mahendra Singh Dhoni's strategy of defending the title, Mohit Sharma has come a long way in a relatively short span of time.
Pacer Mohit Sharma bowls during India's World Cup match against South Africa at Melbourne last month. Pic/AFP
Sharma was retained by the Indian team management as a possible replacement for an injury-prone pace department and right enough when pace spearhead Ishant Sharma was declared unfit just before the tournament kicked off, Sharma was roped in. He has grabbed the opportunity with both hands and now takes pride in being the 'pressure' bowler for Team India.
"My role is very simple. After (Mohammed) Shami and Umesh (Yadav) create pressure early on, I have to maintain that pressure, so that our spinners (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja benefit from it. And the way Shami and Umesh are bowling it has helped me a lot," Sharma said at yesterday's pre-match press conference for the India vs Ireland Group 'B' match at Seddon Park here.
The 26-year-old Haryanvi, who has accounted for six wickets in four World Cup matches so far, also gave credit to Ishant who helped him earlier on the tour.
"During the initial part of the Australia tour, Ishant helped me a lot. During our practice session, he helped with a lot of inputs on what should be the length with the new ball and old ball.
Ishant has visited Australia twice, so he's experienced and well aware of the conditions here. Not just myself, but he discussed a lot with all of us (pacers) and we all shared our experiences and that has helped us all," added Sharma.
'Enjoy bowling bouncers'
The bouncer is something that Sharma has enjoyed bowling Down Under, and Ireland can expect a few more today. "There is a lot of pace and bounce in the wickets here, but more importantly, my bouncer comes on a little faster because it skids a bit too. That tends to catch batsmen off-guard and as a result, they end up getting beaten or getting a top-edge."
Speaking of today's match, Sharma said that the pacers were ready to change their length on the smaller ground. "Having played in the big grounds (in Australia) for so long now, there will be a difference in the thinking as we play on a small ground. You have to change your line, but we can't keep thinking too much about the size of the ground.
"Ireland are a good team and in with a chance to qualify for the quarter-finals, so we'll have to play well to beat them."
Number of wickets taken by Mohit Sharma in 4 matches. He has given away 117 runs at an economy rate of 3.90
MS Dhoni India
> Opener Rohit Sharma does not fail
> In-form batsman Ed Joyce goes cheaply
> Indian pacers do not leak runs
> More runs for India are scored in death overs
William Porterfield Ireland
> Andrew Balbirnie continues his good form
> Virat Kohli is dismissed early
> Provide a good start with Paul Stirling
> Spinner R Ashwin goes for runs