Basseterre (St. Kitts), July 12: The most experienced member of the Indian Test squad in the West Indies, Ishant Sharma has urged his colleagues to put team first and not to be "selfish" in the 4-match series in the Caribbean.
Ishant has played 68 Tests for India, the most in the current 17-man squad that is in the Caribbean. With 201 wickets to show in the five-day format, he is obviously the leader of the pack. And head coach Anil Kumble too had anointed him as one during the preparatory camp in Bengaluru.
The 27-year-old Delhi lad will bank on his experience of the last tour of the West Indies. In 2011, he won the Man-of-the-series award and India won the series 1-0. Ishant took 22 wickets. Ishant, captain Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay and Amit Mishra are the only 4 players in the present squad who have previously played Tests in the Caribbean.
This time around, Ishant is ready to use his experience and guide the youngsters in the team. However, he believes each bowler should stick to his strength.
Ahead of the 2nd warm-up game against the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President's XI on Thursday (July 14), Ishant spoke to the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) official website about the Test rubber.
Ishant emphasised it was always the team first and individual glories later. "First of all it is very important to have a team-goal. Win as many games as you can then only individual matters. If you put your individual goal first and then the team, then there is a problem. So put your team first, win matches. Don't be selfish. If you win games for the team, obviously you will do wonders by yourself," Ishant told bcci.tv.
Going "flat out" is what Ishant expects from the Indian bowlers even if the conditions in the Caribbean are not favourable for the quicks.
"If you have enough overs under your belt it will be easy for you. You work hard enough and you can bowl well. You should back yourself. You should go flat out (even if the conditions are not favourable to fast bowlers). I always go flat out (in bowling). It doesn't matter whether I am in my 2nd or 3rd spell. If I am playing I always give my 100 per cent. That makes me a different bowler," he explained.
The first Test between India and West Indies starts in Antigua on July 21.
India squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Stuart Binny.
West Indies squad: West Indies Test squad: Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite (vice-captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Rajendra Chandrika, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich (wicketkeeper), Shannon Gabriel, Leon Johnson, Marlon Samuels.