By Ishant Sharma
Dear friends, this is the first time I am writing something on my own website, so let me start by wishing you all a very Happy New Year! Right now, I am all geared up for the two Test matches in Bangladesh. This short tour holds great importance for me.
In fact, Bangladesh holds a very special place in my heart. In May 2007, I made my Test debut for India at Mirpur. I won’t say that playing for India was my childhood dream or that I always wanted to be a cricketer. But once I stepped into this arena, my aim was to give the best shot for my country. My serious cricket started at the age of 15 and after that, things moved very quickly for me. In less than four years time, I completed my journey to play for India and was lucky enough to get the right opportunities at the right time. By the grace of almighty, it didn’t take me very long to wear the Indian cap. Anil Bhai (Anil Kumble), one of the legends of the game, gave me the prestigious cap and that moment will always be etched in my memory.
In the last two and a half years, life has taken a full circle for me. At such a young age, I have seen the highs and the lows of cricket, as well as, life. In 2007, I was in Bangladesh as a youngster trying to make a mark and now I am going back to the same place to restore my place in the game.
I would like to use this tour as a stepping stone to prove my form and ability all over again. I would not shy away from saying that comebacks are rather difficult than debuts. That’s because once one comes back, one has to live up to ones past standards and set a new benchmark. Also, people have certain expectations which have to be lived up to as well. As modern cricketers, our life is constantly on the move and that gives us hardly any time to figure out where our game could have gone wrong.
However, this break was very fruitful in the regard that I got a lot of time with myself. I watched my old videos and realized that there isn’t a big problem with my bowling. It’s just a matter of getting my rhythm back. My seniors, especially Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath, have been constant pillars of support for me. They keep me updated with their regular doses of calls and advice. Zaheer’s golden lines are still fresh in my memory - “When you start as a youngster, you have no pressure and not much is expected from you. But, once you get some performance and reputation, people expect a lot from you and that brings pressure. You need to learn how to react in that pressure and deal with it.”
Another advantage of this small break was that after a very long time I could enjoy the chill of Delhi. I got some time with my family. The best part was the food cooked by my mother. I must tell you that I am a big rajmah chawal fan and my mother ensured that there is no shortage of that.
Before embarking on this very important assignment I would need the wishes of all my fans and friends. I hope, like always, you would support and stand by me through the thick and thin.