Playing county cricket helped me a lot: Ishant

Ishant Sharma has perhaps never turned into the attack-leading strike bowler he once promised to be but he has been, over the years, an important asset to his captains.

His five-wicket haul on Friday helped India sniff victory in the first Test at Edgbaston. “I was tired of bowling well and seeing my wickets column empty. I have been playing so many Tests like this. It feels good now,” he said.

Ishant denied that he was a defensive bowler. “I don’t know where these labels come from. I don’t really think about all this. I just go with my gut feel and situation of the game. At times you have to bowl defensively at times attack.”

Ishant played four matches for Sussex in the County Championship Division Two, taking 15 wickets and even scoring a half-century.

“Playing county cricket helped me a lot. I was disappointed in some ways but everything happens for the best. I enjoyed myself with Sussex.

“It was a good experience. I got bowl with the Dukes ball. I got some overs in my legs.”

The tall seamer was confident India would triumph on Saturday.

“Losing five wickets is not a big deal. With one partnership a small target is easily chased down. The wicket is not very helpful (for bowlers).

“If the sun god comes out then there’s not much of a problem. If there are clouds then the ball starts swinging. The crucial period is when the seam is hard, the first 40 overs. The fewer wickets you lose in that period, the better it is.”

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