I jokingly told him that you won't get a bowl: R Ashwin reveals Ishant Sharma's 'biggest plus'
It was a day of records for two veteran Indian bowlers. Ishant Sharma and R Ashwin were the chief tormentors for England when they came out to bat on Day 4. Ishant became the third Indian pacer to pick up 300 Test wickets. On the other hand, Ashwin picked up his 28th five-wicket haul in Test cricket. Both led India to an impressive bowling performance as they dismissed England to just 178 runs.
Ishant is now only behind Kapil Dev (434 wickets) and Zaheer Khan (311) in the list of most wickets by an Indian pacer while being the most capped player in the current Indian team. And his efforts for Team India has been lauded by Ashwin on Monday.
Sharma's work ethic has been exemplary over the last 14 years, feels Ashwin, who wishes to see his India teammate enter the 400-wicket club and set a benchmark for the emerging quicks of this country.
"Look, Ishant has been one of the most hard-working cricketers, that I have seen in that Indian team dressing room.
"He has worked extremely hard, for more than just one reason, because being that tall (6 ft 4 inch) itself requires a lot of facets to be managed through a career which is spanned out through almost 14 years now," said Ashwin, who himself, is 14 wickets short of the 400-mark.
Ishant is only two short of 100 Test appearances and will only be the second pace bowler from India to achieve that coveted landmark.
For Ashwin, that itself is a measure of his achievement.
"Ishant, who went to Australia and got Ricky Ponting out (in 2007-08), and then has gone through so many other tours, had his fair share of injuries, for a fast bowler to get close to 100 Tests in India is not a joke and it is a fantastic achievement," said the wily off-spinner.
"I can keep going on and keep complimenting Ishant, but I really wish to see him get to 400 and probably 500 wickets, which should be sort of road map for a lot of Indian quicks going forward."
So what's it that makes Ishant Sharma special as a person? "If I have to say something about Ishant, his biggest plus is the smile. He is ever smiling. Even if he is very tired, he is smiling.
"Today, I jokingly told him that you won't get a bowl. He (Ishant) said that's ok because he was really tired. He is a man with a funny streak," added Ashwin.
(with PTI inputs)