Jason Gillespie has revealed Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma‘s work ethic impressed him while he was working closely with India’s Test specialists during their County stints with Yorkshire and Sussex respectively. Also Read - Don't Think Indian Pacers Will be As Effective as Neil Wagner: Matthew Wade on Short-Ball Tactics
Pujara has played 10 matches for Yorkshire across two seasons – 2015 and 2018. During his first stint in 2015, Pujara played four matches scoring 264 runs at an average of 52.8 with a highest of 133 not out against Hampshire at Headingley. Three seasons later, he returned to the club, but his second tenure was slightly underwhelming scoring 172 runs from six matches. Also Read - India vs Australia: Brett Lee Heaps Praise on Indian Pacers, Says They're Capable of Knocking Over Any Top Order
Gillespie, the former Australia pacer who was the head coach of Yorkshire in 2015, revealed how Pujara showed the will to prepare against the moving Duke’s ball. Also Read - Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav Resume Training Amid COVID-19 Pandemic | WATCH VIDEO
“We had Cheteshwar Pujara at Yorkshire a few years ago, when I was head coach there. We needed a batsman in the top three who could do a job for us in sometimes challenging conditions, Someone with a very good temperament, someone who could absorb some very good bowling,” Gillespie told about Pujara’s first stint in 2015 on Cow Corner Chronicles.
“Pujara fitted that bill perfectly. I think he found it a challenge, the early season in county cricket with the dukes cricket ball moving around in English conditions. He found that a challenge. I think that was really a good test for him as a player, a good learning curve for Cheteshwar.”
In 2018, Ishant, on the other hand, signed up with Sussex after being ignored during the IPL auction and emerged as the most successful bowler picking up 15 wickets from four matches. He claimed a five-wicket-haul against Warwickshire, including wickets of former England internationals Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell. Besides good figures, Ishant played a crucial role with the bat, scoring 66 off 141 balls against Leicestershire.
“You know what really struck me about Ishant was his thirst for knowledge, his willingness to listen, ask questions, try new things, because sometimes you can get senior players, experienced players who will just go about and do their thing. They know what they need to do and that’s fine. But Ishant was very much… he knew what he needed to do to bowl well. He also knew he wanted to get better,” Gillespie recalled.
Gillespie lauded Ishant for the positive effect he had on his teammates. Luke Wright, the former England allrounder had once tweeted, “Massive thank you to @ImIshant for your amazing efforts for the team. We could not ask for a more dedicated overseas player and a lovely funny man off the pitch. Good luck and see you over here soon mate,” a testament to how he shared his experience of playing near 100 Tests for India.
“The Sussex players were really impressed with Ishant’s work ethic. They loved his personality. He fitted in really well in the dressing room. But his capacity to learn, ask questions, try things. His work ethic in the nets, or on the track was phenomenal. It was really good for our young seam bowlers at Sussex to see, that this is what it takes for a Test bowler,” Gillespie explained.
“He is an Indian Test bowler, and he is bowling really hard and working really hard to get better at his game, and he has played about 80 Test matches (at the time). And he is still trying really hard to get better each and every day. So, it was really good for our young bowlers at Sussex to see such an experienced player, who has played so much Test cricket, continually trying to improve and get better.”