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Ishant Sharma becomes fourth bowler to enter India’s elite 100-Test club

Sports Lounge Staff

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ishant sharma

Ahmedabad: Only three bowlers in the history of Indian cricket have played 100 Test matches. Ishant Sharma made that four in the third Test against England.

For over a decade Sharma has been the spearhead of India’s fast-bowling attack, producing a level of quality that will only be fully appreciated when he’s no longer around to lead the line.

The 32-year-old has already achieved one milestone during the ongoing England series, passing 300 Test wickets. And on Wednesday he will reach another significant moment in his career, playing in his 100th Test for India, becoming only the second Indian quick to do so, following in the footsteps of the legendary Kapil Dev.

Bowlers with 100 Test appearances for India

Anil Kumble (132)
Kapil Dev (131)
Harbhajan Singh (103)

Sharma burst onto the scene as a teenager with an ability to bowl extremely fast from an awkward height. But, impressively, his record in Test cricket has steadily improved as he has grown older, even when he began to lose that particularly eye-catching pace. And since the start of 2018, Sharma is averaging well under 20 with the ball.

So, what is the secret to his longevity as a Test bowler?

Sharma says it is the pressure he puts on himself to make an impact in every single spell.

“Everyone tells me I am a senior player,” he said in an interview in 2019. “But how do you become a senior? Not by the amount of years you have played. Seniority should be by the amount of wickets you take.

“People will call me senior when I take wickets at a crucial time. That is why I feel every match I play is crucial for me. That is my mindset.”

India’s captain Virat Kohli sung the praises of his friend ahead of the third Test in Ahmedabad, revealing he was in fact the person to inform a sleepy Sharma about his first India call-up.

“I have known Ishant for many years now,” Kohli said. “He started playing state cricket with me from his first season onwards. We have been roommates for many years in state cricket, in Ranji Trophy cricket. When he first got selected for India, he was fast asleep in the afternoon, and I had to kick him off the bed and say you have been selected. And he wouldn’t believe me. That’s how far we go back.

“I couldn’t be happier for him. Playing 100 Test matches as a fast bowler is no mean feat. Especially in our conditions where things get so difficult. But he persevered, he kept working hard. That’s been his essence from day one.”

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