‘I had to kick him off the bed to say that’: How Kohli informed Ishant about his first-ever selection into Team India
Pacer Ishant Sharma is one step away from reaching a unique milestone in the longest format of the game. If he finds himself in India’s XI for the pink-ball Test against England at Motera on Wednesday, he would complete a century of Test matches. It will be a great achievement for Ishant as he is set to become only the second Indian pacer after the legendary Kapil Dev to play in 100 Tests.
Meanwhile, skipper Virat Kohli lauded his teammates’ commitment towards the longest format of the game. During the pre-match press conference on Tuesday, the Indian captain said that Ishant could have prioritised white-ball cricket to prolong his career but chose to focus on the longest format instead.
“It's a great achievement in modern-day cricket. To maintain your body and play 100 Tests, it's rare to see a pacer have such longevity these days. He could have easily prioritised white-ball cricket but full credit to him that he didn't,” Kohli said.
“A lot of people even lose their motivation. He has the skills, if he wanted he could have improved his four-over, 10 over cricket and played in the IPL regularly, or presented himself in T20 and ODIs. But he gave his full commitment to Test cricket,” he added.
Kohli shared an interesting anecdote about the time when Ishant was first selected in the Indian team.
“I have known Ishant for many years now. He started playing state cricket with me. From his first season onwards, we've been roommates for many years in state cricket and Ranji Trophy cricket. When he got selected for India, he was fast asleep in the afternoon and I had to kick him off the bed to say that you have been selected and he wouldn’t believe me. So, that's how far we go back.
“And I couldn't be happier for him, to play in 100 Test matches as a fast bowler is no mean feat. And especially playing in our conditions where things can get so difficult. But he persevered. He kept working hard,” said Kohli.
Ishant last played in an ODI in 2016 and a T20 International match in 2013.
(With PTI Inputs)
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