Zaheer Khan influenced my game, the way he used to hide his reverse swing was impressive: Ishant Sharma
Both Zaheer and Ishant have 311 wickets to their name in Test cricket.
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Former India international Zaheer Khan is arguably one of the greatest pacers India have ever produced. He has represented the national team in 92 Test matches, picking up 311 wickets in the process, while in ODI cricket, the left-arm pacer has 282 wickets to his name in 200 matches. He played a critical role in helping India win the ODI World Cup 2011 and, overall, has been a force to reckon with in international and domestic circuits.
Ishant Sharma, who has played 105 Test matches in his career, mentioned that Zaheer has influenced him a lot during his playing days. Towards the start of his career, Ishant struggled a bit when the 44-year-old advised him how to hold the ball using the tip of his two fingers. That changed Ishant’s bowling style and played a part in him picking 311 Test wickets - the same as that of Zaheer. Hence, he lauded the former cricketer and briefly talked about Zaheer’s deadly reverse swing.
“Zak (Zaheer Khan) pa (influenced my game the most). I used to go and chew his ears off. When I didn’t play on the England tour after my debut, I held the ball very tightly. So, I kept bowling a little shorter than I needed to. That’s where he made me change my grip. ‘Use the tip of the two fingers and hold it loose because you have big hands and the ball will go farther and faster automatically’, he suggested.
“In 2007, I saw the incident between Zak pa and Kevin Pietersen in Nottingham and how Zak pa made his fingers dance. The way he used to hide his reverse swing while running in to bowl was impressive,” said Sharma in Part 4 of his interview on Home of Heroes on JioCinema.
Meanwhile, Ishant is currently out of contention in the Indian Test side. He plays for Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League and also represents Delhi in domestic cricket. Zaheer Khan, on the other hand, is serving Mumbai Indians as their Global Head of Cricket Development.