Ishant happy to be "leader"

Kolkata, India -- India’s Ishant Sharma is relishing the task of leading his team’s pace attack against West Indies in the upcoming second Test match against West Indies in the absence of the injured Zaheer Khan.

The 23-year-old Ishant said: “It’s an honour when you see yourselves as the senior-most bowler in the team and leading the attack. It’s difficult to express this kind of feeling actually.”

Frontline seamer Zaheer needed surgery for ankle and hamstring problems and has yet to make a comeback since his tour of England was cut short due to injury. The lanky Sharma, with 39 Tests under his belt, has Umesh Yadav, who debuted in Delhi last week, and Varun Aaron, uncapped in Tests, as his fellow pacers.

Sharma himself suffered an ankle ligament injury in the third Test against England in Birmingham in August, which ruled him out of the ODI series that followed. He said he had recovered well.

“I don’t need any surgery now. I have been having treatment at the National Cricket Academy and I have been training a lot when I was not playing,” he said.

“I’ve been working a lot on my ankle and everything. I am fit now and I am ready to play in Australia, and I don’t think even after the Australia tour I will need surgery.”

India will play four Tests in Australia in December and January, followed by two Twenty20 internationals and a tri-series also featuring Sri Lanka.

The inclusion of the young fast bowlers has significantly increased the average speed at which the Indian pace attack bowls and Sharma said it was pleasing for the team.

“Earlier everyone was saying that India can’t produce a fast bowler. Now you can see that all the three fast bowlers are bowling consistently in the 90 miles per hour (range),” he said. “Obviously it’s a great feeling for any fast bowler in the team.”

Sun, 11/13/2011 - 13:20