Former Australian fast-bowling legend Glenn McGrath has said that there's a need for Ishant Sharma to define his role in the Indian Cricket Team. McGrath believes that Ishant has been more a workhorse of the bowling attack than the wicket-taking option and he needs to bowl more spells like he did in the second innings at Edgbaston, where he picked 5/51.
Ishant has also admitted that he has "got tired of the defensive bowler's tag" and is in a constant strive to transition into a wicket-taking bowler by basically bowling more wicket-taking lengths.
“When Ishant started off, he took the world by storm bowling good pace. He is probably not bowling at the same pace. But he is much more experienced now with good control. The Edgbaston Test showed that Ishant has started adapting a bit more," McGrath was quoted telling PTI, “I guess a lot of pitches in India are tough to play on. Probably, he didn’t bowl that many spells. Maybe, he has been used more as a workhorse rather than an attacking bowler. I think he needs to find in what role he fits in,”
McGrath knows having bowled a lot in the subcontinent has given a very modest look to Ishant's 244 wickets in 83 Tests and said, “You have got to hit the seam and maybe a bit of movement off the pitch will help. My weapon was bounce and occasionally bit of seam movement. In my case, there was Warnie, Lee and Gillespie bowling from other end to build pressure. I liked bowling long spells and that helped. If you are only bowling short of length always, you are looking at stopping runs but you need to take wickets.”
“If you are bowling same lengths in India, Australia and England, you can’t be successful. In England, where the ball swings, you have got to be a bit fuller, so his stint at Sussex did him a world of good. My good mate Jason Gillespie has done incredible work as a coach. I played county in 2000 and 2004 and learnt a lot to bowl in English conditions.”
While McGrath is impressed with India's bowling, it is the batting, either side of Virat Kohli, that disappointed him in Birmingham.
He said, “I was a bit disappointed in the manner India batted as they have a quality line-up. But if you take out Virat, they have struggled. Maybe it’s not as settled as the bowling. I would have enjoyed the challenge (of bowling to Kohli) no doubt. It’s just about getting enough balls in the right area. You don’t see any obvious weakness there and it’s just about building pressure."
“I loved bowling to guys like Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Rahul Dravid because as a bowler, you want to step up and enjoy that challenge. By the end of his career, Kohli will be up there with guys like Sachin and Rahul.”