New Delhi: Describing the time away from cricket as the "worst phase of my life", pacer Ishant Sharma says he is now mentally stronger to make a comeback into the Indian team. "I think I am mentally and physically much stronger now after having gone through the worst phase of my life," Ishant said after helping North Zone to the semi-final of the Duleep Trophy against West Zone on Tuesday.
"Nobody asked me where I was. In a way, it's good that it [injury] happened to me. But my family and friends have been very supportive," he added. Since returning to competitive cricket after a long layoff due to an ankle surgery, Ishant has shown sparks of brilliance in the domestic matches.
The Delhi pacer started the domestic season with three wickets for Rest of India in the Irani Cup, and followed it up with hauls of 4 for 29 in the Challenger Trophy and Duleep Trophy quarter-finals. Ishant last played for India in the Australia Tests but had to skip the IPL this year for the sake of the surgery.
"I think I am mentally and physically much stronger now after having gone through the worst phase of my life."
He said he had no regrets over missing the IPL for surgery. "I gave it a lot of thought before going ahead with it [surgery]. Missing the IPL was my decision and I don't have any complaints," Ishant said.
As for his bowling, he said, "I still continue to bowl with the same kind of intensity. Bowling a lot in the nets has helped. I have also learnt to bowl the outswinger."