Ishant Sharma (second left) will be touring Australia for a Test series for the fifth time this year-end. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Ishant Sharma, the elder statesman in India’s fast bowling unit, wants to ‘enjoy’ his game and reach the cricketing landmarks that beckon him during India’s scheduled tour of Australia at the end of the year. Now 31, Sharma has played 97 Tests so far and is three wickets shy of the 300-wickets mark.

“At this point in time, I want to enjoy my cricket by taking wickets and contributing to the side. I will focus on this only, unless and until you guys don’t provoke me to do something mischievous.” he told young teammate and opener Mayank Agarwal on BCCI.tv.

India will begin the defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Brisbane, which will host the first Test of the four-match series scheduled to be played later in the year in December-January.

India, under Virat Kohli in the 2018-19 series, became the first Asian side to beat Australia in a Test series in their own den. The series featured stellar performances from batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant and Kohli and the fast bowling battery featuring Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma.


“First time winning a Test series in Australia is obviously a very big thing for any cricketer. It was big for me as I had toured Australia four times and I know how tough it is. The team had the motivation to create history in Australia,” Ishant said.

Australia were without the services of Steve Smith and David Warner in the last series as both were serving their bans handed by Cricket Australia for their involvement in the Sandpaper Gate controversy. However, the duo would be in the squad barring any injuries, thus providing strength to the batting unit of Australia.

Ishant also talked about his famous reaction against Smith during the Bengaluru Test match in 2017, when his animated reaction against Smith had left his teammates and fans in splits. The lanky pacer said he was just trying to unsettle the Australia batsman, but his approach has changed over the last three years. The owner of 297 Test wickets, Ishant still cherished a half-century which came against the West Indies in Kingston in 2019. He had scored 57 runs and was the second-highest run-scorer for India after Hanuma Vihari. K.L. Rahul and Mayank Agarwal had scored 13 and 55 runs, respectively in that innings.

Recalling his half century, the Delhi pacer said he had fun time with Rahul after scoring his maiden Test fifty.

“Leave everyone’s reaction. ask KL Rahul about his reaction. KL Rahul said if I would have scored 100 then he would have jumped from the balcony. KL scored some 25-26 runs and he said ‘son if you scored more than me, I will do this and that for you’.”

“My batting gloves got wet for the 1st time. It was KL Rahul’s gloves and he gave me pair of new gloves as well. He was like ‘I should have batted with these gloves and then I could also have scored a fifty’,” he added.

Ishant is currently spending time with his family in New Delhi during the forced break amid the COVID-19 pandemic.