India vs England: 'I learnt a lot from Zaheer Khan and his work ethics,' Ishant Sharma ahead of his 100th Test
India pacer Ishant Sharma is expected to play his 100th Test at Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad against England starting from Thursday. The right-arm pacer made his debut for India 14 years ago in Australia, but the tall and lanky pacer has really hit his stride in the past few years under Virat Kohli's captaincy.
The 32-year-old has become an integral part of India's Test team over the years, and he will be expected to be one of the key figures for the Indian team in the upcoming pink-ball Test where the fast bowlers are likely to get assistance from the surface. Speaking ahead of the encounter, Ishant was asked to mention a few highlights from his stellar career, and the pacer said that he has learnt a lot from former India bowler Zaheer Khan.
"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," Ishant told reporters at a virtual press conference ahead of news agency ANI.
"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.
"When I went to Australia in 2007-08 in Australia, I was just a youngster and I was just focusing on bowling. I did not think much, as we bowl in domestic cricket, I just followed the same.
"Over the years, I learnt by being in different situations. I have always had this motive in making the team win, till the day I play, I will play with the same motive. Personal milestones can be there, when you are about to leave your career you can see these milestones. But these are just numbers for me, I do not play for numbers, I just play to win," he added.
The speedster was further asked if the lack of white-ball cricket has increased the lifespan of his Test career. In his response, the pacer said that he enjoys playing white-ball cricket as well.
"I love to play white-ball cricket, sportsperson have their job to play, this is the least they can do. If I am not playing white-ball cricket, it should not affect my Test cricket. I should be grateful for how many matches I have played in Tests. I think like this only.
"I do not think that if I played all three formats, I wouldn't have played 100 Tests. I would have achieved the feat a bit late, but I would have played 100 Tests," he added.
"I think about one game at a time, I do not think about the future. I understand my body and what type of training I need to do. Right now, I have understood that as you grow older, you need to think about the recovery process as well.
"I am looking after myself, everything has paid off for me nicely. It is tough to say which captain understood me the best. It is not about the captain understanding me but it is the other way around. It is important to know what the captain wants from me, when this communication is done, it makes things a lot easier," he signed off.
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