Being Old Friends, We Trust Each Other: Kohli On Ishant Sharma

Ahmedabad:  India pace bowler Ishant Sharma, who is due to play his 100th Test at the Motera Stadium on Wednesday has produced his best as a Test bowler under the captaincy of his Delhi teammate Virat Kohli.

India captain Kohli, 32, believes it is the trust factor that has worked for the two who have been playing cricket together since mid-2000s.

The two had made their first-class debut together, against Tamil Nadu in November 2006 at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

Kohli has led Sharma in 38 Test matches and MS Dhoni was India captain in 47 Tests featuring Sharma. But over the past few years, since Kohli took over the reins of the Indian team, Sharma has turned into a lethal bowler. He has taken 112 wickets at an average of 25.32 under Kohli whereas his 152 wickets under Dhoni have come at an average of 36.65.

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

“Playing 100 Tests as a fast bowler is no mean feat and playing especially in our conditions, things can get is so difficult. But he kept working hard. He is very hard working and is very honest about his abilities, about what he can do and what he can bring to the table,” the India skipper added.

Kohli said that Sharma needs to be lauded for preferring Test cricket over ODI and T20I cricket.

“Hard to see [such longevity to play 100 Tests], especially for fast bowlers in today’s age and time. People lose motivation. If he would have wanted, he would have bowled 4 overs, 10 overs etc, would have improved and played regular cricket in ODIs and T20Is as a first choice player. But he kept his focus only on Test cricket. In today’s day and age, playing 100 Tests is a big thing,” added the India skipper.

Kohli said that the two trust each other.

“I was very excited to work with him and bring the best out of him as an attacking fast bowler. Something clicked, because he knew I knew him inside out, there is big trust factor. I know he will respond to advice. I know he knows that I will listen to his plans as well. I think it is working really well for not just both of us but also for me as a captain to have him as a fast bowler — his experience, consistency with attacking lines and lengths he bowls.”

(IANS)