Ishant Sharma came under intense criticism for going over the top with his aggression during the recent Test series in Sri Lanka.
Jeff Thomson during the media conference. Pic/Suresh KK
However, former Australian pace ace Jeff Thomson believes Ishant lacks discipline in line and length, and that is why the lanky Indian pacer has not lived up to the expectations he raised when he burst on the international scene in 2007.
Ishant recently become the fourth Indian pacer to reach the 200-wicket landmark in Test cricket. "Ishant lacks a bit of discipline. The whole lot (of current Indian bowlers) lacks a bit of discipline. Where did he go after 2007? He's playing for India for a long time. In between, he lost the plot a bit. I thought he would be a world-beater, but that has not happened. He looked injured to me last summer in Australia.
Set to be mentor
"He is not where he should have been. He should have got more bounce and bowled well with the height he has. He has good skills, but he needs to be reminded of what he has to do. He needs a rocket," Thomson said during an interaction yesterday.
Thomson will have a month-long session with select bowlers in the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA)-IDBI Federal Life Insurance Bowling Foundation scheme at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground. Thomson was presented an MCA tie by former India skipper and MCA vice-president Dilip Vengsarkar.
Ishant Sharma during the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo last month. Pic/Solaris Images
Thomson felt the problem was not just with Ishant. "Indian bowlers lack the skill and discipline. That was the biggest thing I saw when the Indian team toured Australia last time. If you can't bowl five to six balls where you want in an over, you will be punished. They dropped their concentration after tearing away initially. It eventually made it very hard for them," said the erstwhile pace terror.
Thomson (65) admitted that his role at the Mumbai-based foundation is challenging. "It's a challenge, but I am that sort of a person who will never say I can't do it. I love imparting knowledge," he said.
Thomson insisted that aggression is the key to a fast bowler's success. "Aggression is important. You can't be a nice guy and applaud a good shot. You have to come harder and harder at the batsman and try to get him out. You have to be aggressive. You may fall short, but desire is important. If you don't have that (desire) then you are wasting your time," said Thomson, who claimed 255 international wickets from 51 Tests and 50 ODIs.
'I hated the gym'
While many modern-day pacers believe in spending more time at the gym, Thomson believes they would be better off utilising that time bowling in the nets. "When I was becoming Jeff Thomson, I hated the gym.
"But I did a lot of other jobs to work on my fitness. I chased pigs… I still do it sometimes (laughs). Cricket is all about skills. A dart player spends most of his time on the dartboard and not anywhere else. The more you do it, the better you get. There is no replacement for actual bowling. I bowled a lot of balls in my time," said Thomson.