Behind every great cricketer, there’s at least one story of an extraordinary mentor. In Ishant’s case, the mentor is his cricket coach from school days — Shravan Kumar.
Ishant revealed how his coach changed his life in a half-hour webisode of Cricbuzz’s new show, Spicy Pitch.
When Sharma passed out of Class 10, no school in Delhi was willing to give him admission. They only wanted to take cricketers who were already playing at the state level. That’s when Sharma met coach Shravan Kumar.
Ishant reached for a meeting with Shravan Kumar, not kitted to play cricket. Kumar still insisted that he bowl a few deliveries (in his rubber chappals no less!). And in those 2-3 deliveries, Sharma’s fate was sealed. Kumar got him admission into Ganga International School (where he was then the head coach).
From there on, Sharma’s game took off — he was practising like his life depended on it, playing extremely competitive inter-school tournaments, and, most importantly, training with Kumar every single day.
Sharma recalled: “Sir would give me the ball at 1 pm every day, and I would have to keep bowling till it got dark. It’s how I got the stamina for long spells. Bowling’s muscles are unique — and no matter how much you run or go to the gym, the best thing you can do to become a good bowler is just to bowl more and more.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Within 3.5 years of meeting Kumar, Ishant Sharma made it to the Indian team. What’s more, Sharma says that fear he had for his coach played a big part in him becoming the cricketer he is today.
His coach added: “Fear is important— because it instils discipline. It’s important in life for any person aspiring to become great to be afraid of someone— whether it’s a parent, a coach, or a mentor.”
Having said that, Kumar is all humility. He refuses to take much credit for Sharma’s success. “I didn’t make him who he is today, no one can do that for anyone else. That was completely his mehnat (hard work) and his kismet (fate),” Kumar concluded.