Ishant Sharma will be playing his 100th Test when India take on England in the third Test at the Motera Stadium from Wednesday. Ishant’s teammates congratulated him for reaching the milestone and reminisced the memories they have shared with the premier pacer. If India skipper Virat Kohli recalled the early memories of Ishant and their friendship, opening batsman Rohit Sharma termed the pacer as the one on whom the team banks on during tough times. “I remember a tall lanky guy coming to the nets and trials. He pitched the ball in right areas and caused a lot of trouble to the batsmen and the selectors were immediately impressed,” said Kohli in the video posted on BCCI’s official website.
“He then started playing for the state team from that season onwards and we have been room partners since then. And we have been close friends ever since we started playing together. So Ishant playing 100 Tests is equally a happy moment for me. I wish him all the best,” he added.
“Big big congratulations on making it to the 100 Test match. It’s never easy for any cricketer. He has seen some tough times as well on the field but he has never given up. The Hall Mark of his entire career put into one shell this what is Ishant Sharma all about. He has reached a stage that we rely on him,” said Rohit.
Cheteshwar Pujara recalled a time when Ishant was left frustrated, after Pujara was given not out on the pacer’s bowling in a match.
“Whenever Ishant is around, the dressing room atmosphere is always lively. He likes to talk with people around him. I have played against him many times and he has got me out once or twice. There were times when I wasn’t given out and he was frustrated,” said Pujara.
Ishant had made his Test debut under the leadership of Rahul Dravid, and he has bowled some memorable spells like the one against England at Lord’s in 2014, as he finished with figures of 7-74. During his first Australia tour in 2007-08, Ishant bowled a famous spell to Ricky Ponting.
Seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said Ishant deserved to play 100 Tests, while recalling the times when the pacer troubled the former Australia skipper.
“My first memory of Ishant has been the dismissal of Ricky Ponting. The way he was running with the big inswingers. All those fast bowlers who are watching must realise that Ishant is one of the most hard-working cricketers, and has made himself eligible to get to this point in the era of T20Is. If there is one person who deserves this feat, he is Ishant Sharma,” Ashwin said.
Pacer Umesh Yadav said Ishant has always been a senior bowler for him.
“As a fast bowler, he has always been a senior bowler for me. The way he has worked on his fitness is a huge achievement as a fast bowler. I congratulate him for his 100th Test,” said Umesh.
Although it will be his 100th Test, Ishant’s focus remains on helping the team win when both India and England face off in the pink-ball game on Wednesday.
“If your career is 14 years long and you are still playing, you cannot name just one highlight. It is difficult to pinpoint just one highlight, every sportsperson has the graph going up and down,” said Ishant during a virtual press conference on Monday.
“I cannot say about that one thing that took my graph or brought it down. Obviously, it feels great to be playing 100 Tests, I learn a lot from Zaheer Khan, I learnt from his work ethic. I have told everyone playing in the team that if you keep on working on your fitness, the rewards will come,” he added.
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