Ishant Sharma on Monday attributed his remarkable longevity to understanding what the “captain wants from him” and not the other way around, as he is on the verge of becoming only the second Indian pacemaker after Kapil Dev to play 100 Tests. Ishant made his Test debut as a lanky 18-year-old in Bangladesh when Rahul Dravid was the captain, then led by Anil Kumble, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane for the last year and a half.
So which captain understood him best in all these years?
“It is difficult to say who understood me the most, as they all understood me very well. But more than the captain who understood me, it was always important how I understood the captain,” said Ishant during the virtual conference prior to the third. test against England, which starts in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
“That’s very important. What specifically does the captain want from me. When those things are clear, communication becomes easier,” said the man who has 302 wickets from 99 Tests.
Does he think the fact that he was dropped from white ball teams and also went wrong for a few seasons of IPL helped him hit the milestone faster than many others?
“I normally treat this as a blessing in disguise. It’s not that I don’t want to play white ball, because that’s the job of a sportsman, but if he’s not playing, what is he doing? At best, he can train. “
“I didn’t want my Test cricket to be affected by my non-selection in ODIs. I should at least be grateful to play at least one format,” he said.
It was important to him that he forgets what is not there and is grateful for what he has.
“So if you don’t think too much, be thankful and try to focus on the format you are playing, it will only help you. Maybe it helped me complete 100 tests.
That said, I don’t think if I had played three formats, I wouldn’t have been able to play 100 tests. Maybe it would have taken a little longer. I’m only 32 and not 42. “
So does he cross the crossing of Kapil Dev’s 131 Tests?
“131 will take a long time. I just want to think about qualifying for the WTC Final. This is my World Cup where, if I win, I can have the same feeling that others had when winning the ODI World Cup.”
Ask him how Jimmy Anderson played at 38 and if he could play until that age, he laughs.
“38? I’m going race after race. You never know what will come next. Yes, I’m more professional in my recovery now. I used to train hard but didn’t focus on my recovery. As you get older, you have to recover well. to cast long spells, take care of your body. “
He doesn’t have a cumbersome way to speak and when an experienced journalist asked him what’s changed since 2018, when he took 76 wickets in the last 20 matches with an average of less than 20, his disarming response would turn everyone off.
“I’ve played more outside of India, so I have those wickets. If you don’t bowl in India, how would you get wickets? To be honest, it was just the overseas conditions.”
Ishant Jasprit Bumrah chooses who will be the leader of the pack once he leaves the scene.
“I don’t think I want to take one name. You’re good and that’s why you play for India. But I think after me it is Jasprit Bumrah who will play most of the games for India.
“I think he has to lead the way and it will also depend on how he talks to young people, takes them under his wing, takes care of them.”
In order for fast bowlers to thrive, one must understand their skills and plan accordingly.
“Saini has pace, Siraj has control. You have to understand the strength of people. Skill sets are different and if you tell Saini to bowl one area and Siraj to hit 140k, you don’t do justice to their strengths.”
As a farewell shot, Ishant added, “As long as I can maintain the intensity in my game, I will play for India.”
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