Srinath, Gillespie in awe of Ishant

Ishant Sharma's fan club has become just bigger with former fast bowlers Javagal Srinath and Jason Gillespie being the latest members.

updated: October 26, 2008 13:53 IST
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There is no stopping heaping praise on young Ishant Sharma, the tormentor of the Australians, and his fan club has become just bigger with former fast bowlers Javagal Srinath and Jason Gillespie being the latest members.

Ishant's extravagant mane of dark hair made Gillespie a little jealous, but the former Australian fast bowler says the lanky Delhi bowler reminds him of himself.

"He has got me well-covered," Gillespie said. "He is tall and skinny with a ridiculous hair cut. Seriously, though, I have really enjoyed his bowling.

"He reminds me of myself. He is tall and has long hair. He is sharp and nips the ball in, which was quite like me. But he is more talented than I was. He is a revelation for India and I think they should look after him."

There are shades of Srinath in Ishant's high arm action and his ability to shape the ball into right-handed batsmen, which has bothered Ricky Ponting most, but the retired Indian pacer feels the gangling 20-year-old was much better at his age.

"There are a lot of comparisons, but if you compare me at the beginning of my career I think this guy is far, far better. He is a couple of notches above me at the same age," said Srinath.

"He has a superb attitude to bowling in Indian conditions. On Indian wickets you have got to bring the ball back in and he has done that. I would expect him to gain a couple of yards in pace over the next few years, up around 150-155 kmh. Most importantly, he is very keen to play Test cricket, which means he will be successful in all forms of the game," he was quoted as saying by 'Sydney Morning Herald'.

Srinath is happy that stardom has not got into his Ishant's head and he has his priorities right.

"Understanding the new life you acquire, for any young cricketer who has success in this country, is going to be a big thing. He is still 20, and there will be distractions here and there, but right now he seems to have his priorities right," Srinath said.

"He has blossomed under pressure and I think the thing for him will be physiological rather than psychological -- to stay fit for the long haul."

Gillespie believes the biggest challenge for Ishant will be to save himself from burning out.

"For him to succeed as an international bowler, especially in India where they just play so much cricket the calendar is insane, I think the BCCI has to look after their asset, which is Ishant Sharma," said Gillespie.