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Ishant Sharma issues 'bouncer' warning to West Indies batsmen

India Today logo India Today 29-07-2016
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There was a time from the late 1970s to the early 1990s when West Indies fast bowlers wrecked havoc all around the world and against every team that stood in their way. The pace quartet of Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Collin Croft and Andy Roberts terrorised batsmen for close to two decades with their hostile pace and bounce.

Twenty years down the line, the West Indies no longer possess the kind of fearsome bowlers they boasted of. The tables have turned on them and now the visiting teams are giving them a taste of their own medicine.

India, who are touring the Caribbean for a four Test series, completely outclassed the hosts in all the three departments in the first Test at Antigua. Virat Kohil and his boys batted just once in the match, declaring their first innings after amassing 500 runs, and then bowled out the West Indies within four days to clinch the match by an innings and 92 runs.

The Indian pacers - Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, along with spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra bowled terrific line and lengths and exploited the conditions in Antigua better than the home team.

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PACE BY FIRE

Ishant, who is the leader of the Indian pace attack, heaped praise on his fellow pacers and said that the planning and execution from Shami, Umesh and himself was the main reason behind their success in the first game.

"We bowled really well and in good areas in Antigua, that's the most important aspect for a bowler in Test cricket. That's what we talked about in the team meetings that we have to be consistent in our line and lengths. We bowled according to our plans and that gave us the wickets," the lanky fast bowler told bcci.tv.

"There wasn't much on offer for the fast bowlers in Antigua, the pitch wasn't doing much. That's why we decided to pepper the batsmen with short balls and mixed it up with the full length deliveries. West Indies batsmen were struggling against the short ball which was our plan and we stuck with it. This will be followed in the next match as well," Ishant said ahead of the second Test which begins in Kingston on July 30.

The Indian bowlers took 168 overs to bundle out the Windies twice on a pitch that did not afford much assistance to bowlers. Fast bowlers in particular need supreme levels of fitness to bowl these many overs in a Test match. Ishant says they were all ready to come out and bowl once captain Kohli decided to enforce the follow-on.

EMPHASIS ON FITNESS

"It all depends on your fitness, whether you are enforcing the follow-on or not. Once it was decided (to enforce follow-on) we were all ready and mentally prepared to go out and bowl again. We never had second thoughts about it. We cannot give excuses about being tired or anything."

Kohli's aggression on the field seems to be rubbing on to his other teammates as well. Ishant also emphasized on the importance of being ruthless on the field and playing with passion.

"It's important to play cricket with a positive approach, there is no point in thinking about what's going to happen. If we stay positive and keep executing our plans according to the situations the results will follow."

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