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'I'Il give back if provoked by Ponting'

Though they have become friends after playing for the Kolkata IPL team, Ishant Sharma says he would still be aggressive against Ponting while playing for India. Special: IPL 2008

cricket Updated: Apr 23, 2008 20:34 IST

They may have become friends after sharing the same dressing room for Kolkata team, but pace sensation Ishant Sharma on Wednesday said he would not shy away from showing his aggression against Australian captain Ricky Ponting when playing in national colours.

Ishant and Ponting had set up a great rivalry during India's recent tour of Australia but playing for one team in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition has provided them with a chance to become friendly.

"It is a privilege to share dressing room with a great player like Ponting. We discussed cricket and joked at each other at the dressing room, we are just like friends now. But it is not that I won't show aggression at him while playing for India against Australia," Ishant said at a promotional programme in New Delhi.

"No colour comes before you when you are donning your national colours. I will give back if I am provoked and the same thing had happened in the Australia series," he added.

Ishant said the bad blood with the Australians in the recent India's tour Down Under was past and he would want to forget it and move on.

"The bad blood during the Australian series is past. We are professionals, we are friends off the field and don't think of the past," said the 19-year-old gangling Delhi bowler.

Asked what Ponting told him before he started bowling during Knight Rider's match against Hyderabad in Kolkata, Ishant said, "he (Ponting) told me the first over was very important in any game. You had done well in the past and you should be doing that now."

Ishant said he did not share the view of Ponting, Brett Lee and some others that the cash-rich Indian Premier League would mend the bad blood between the Indian and Australian cricketers.

"I don't see that way. We are professionals and playing as a unit, so we have to interact, discuss cricket and other things. But, once you are face to face playing for your country it is different," he said.

Ishant refused to pick a favourite team in the IPL though rated Kolkata as very strong with a right mix of stars and youngsters in it.

"It is very early to predict who would win the IPL. Moreover in Twenty20 any team which play better on that particular day wins," he said.

Ishant also did not agree that the shortest format of the game was heavily loaded in favour of batsman.

"If you are a good bowler, you are a good bowler in any form of the game. A good ball bowled in the right area is a good ball whether ODI or Twenty20. So, it is not that bowlers are always whacked in Twenty20.

"I am concentrating on bowling in the right areas. If I do that I think I will do well in the IPL," said Ishant, who had taken two wickets from six overs while conceding 16 runs.

On his Delhi team mate Virender Sehwag's swashbuckling innings of 41-ball unbeaten 94, Ishant said it was nothing new for the Delhi captain.

"Everybody knows what Sehwag can do. I have nothing to add more, he is a great player," he said.