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Matured Ishant Ready to 'Go for the Kill' in Tests Against Australia

PTI | Updated: November 15, 2018, 8:08 PM IST
Matured Ishant Ready to 'Go for the Kill' in Tests Against Australia

(AFP)

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New Delhi: It's a case of now or never for India's senior most pacer Ishant Sharma, who wants to "go for the kill" in what could well be his fourth and final tour of Australia. The most capped Test player (87 games) in the current team, Ishant had been a part of Indian sides during tours of 2007-08, 2011-2012 and 2014-2015.

"I always go for the kill because when you play for your country, you can't think of a second chance. I am 30 right now. I don't know if I will be there for the next tour (of Australia in 2022-23) as I will be 34 by then. I will give my level best on this tour," Ishant said during an interaction after playing his first competitive game in two months since the tour of England.

Ishant, who got 18 wickets in five Tests in England, bowled far better than the figure suggests. The 30-year-old feels that he has matured as a bowler and it's the mental state that at times dictates on-field performances.

"I am matured right now and I know my field settings and bowl according to situations. As you grow old, there is a lot of wear and tear in your body. It's all about the mental state. If you are fit and in good mind space, you can say you are bowling well," said Ishant, who has 256 wickets from 87 Tests.

As someone, who has played more Tests than skipper Kohli (73), Ishant's aim is to mentor the next line of pacers in a manner that they can also share their expertise with others in a few years time. "I share my experience, I mean whatever experience I have. I can set the field and tell them which lengths to bowl on particular tracks. Once the younger lot becomes senior, they should also then guide the juniors.

Ishant feels that a senior shouldn't walk with a chip on his shoulders. "They should joke around with their juniors. I am not that kind of senior who says negative things to juniors like 'why have you done that' etc. I am a senior who should set a different benchmark for my juniors," he said.

The hero of India's 2013 Champions Trophy victory in England, Ishant doesn't hide the fact that it "hurts" to be out of limited overs set-up having played 80 ODIs. "It does rankle that I don't play ODIs. Yes, I feel bad about it. I want to play all three formats for the country. But there are a few things which you can't control and I don't want to think about too many negative things," he replied to a query from PTI.

Overthinking can also affect his performance in the format which is his forte."If I start thinking, why I am not playing ODIs, then that can affect my Test performance also. My aim is to concentrate on the format that I am playing."

Ishant did admit that Australia not having Steve Smith and David Warner will be an advantage."You can say that (advantage India). Statistics reveal that in recent years, 60 per cent of their runs have been scored by Smith and Warner," he said.

But he was cautious and respectful about the opposition who will be playing in its own den. "But whoever plays for Australia must have some quality and have been a performer at their first-class level. So you can't take them lightly. Australia, in general, is a tough side, the crowd can make it even tougher. But it can also make you a tough player and I never had any issues with that," said Ishant.

Always considered as a workhorse, Ishant doesn't mind bowling long spells even in hot and humid Australian conditions."I don't like to think about how many overs spell I am bowling and in what conditions. If I am bowling well and if the team needs me to bowl at a particular time, I will bowl. If you think so much as a fast bowler, then I think you shouldn't be playing cricket."

When asked if India are ready to shed their "poor travellers" tag, he wasn't amused one bit."We are not concerned about tags because as a team we know we gave our 100 per cent. We shouldn't really care what others are talking about. Because in the field, we are the ones who are going through hard times. You only have the support of the whole bunch of players. So we don't really care what people talk about us.

"No one is hurt more than us when we don't win matches because we are the ones playing on the field," said Ishant referring to the recent 1-4 defeat against England.
First Published: November 15, 2018, 8:08 PM IST
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