Ishant Sharma is now out of the Indian team. But at one time India’s pace attack in Test cricket was developed by his hands. But Ishant was serious about batting. Virender Sehwag told that story. Sehwag said that Ishant had a chance to score more runs in a match but he could not.
India went to Sri Lanka to play a Test in 2008. Sehwag told an incident of the second match of that series. He scored 201 runs in that match. None of the other batters could score runs like that. India won the match on the strength of Sehwag. Sehwag said that Ishant was serious about batting in that match, that’s why India’s runs were less.
“Ishant came to me and said, ‘Bhaiya, I will play”, rewinds Sehwag
Sehwag said in an interview,
“Let me tell you a story. I was batting on 199. Ishant Sharma was my partner. I knew Ishant couldn’t play out Muralitharan and (Ajantha) Mendis. I could’ve been selfish that time, I could’ve taken a single to reach my 200 and give Ishant the strike. But I played out five deliveries against Muralitharan and took a single off the last ball.
“Ishant came to me and said, ‘Bhaiya, I will play. You’re getting scared for no reason’. I said okay, I scored 200, took a single, reached 201 and gave him the strike. Ishant couldn’t survive two balls. Then I asked him, ‘So you played them out? Are you done?”
Sehwag was angry with Ishant. He wanted to increase the team’s runs. Sehwag said,
“Here, I was thinking that I can add more runs to the scoreboard and he said he will play them out. It wasn’t important for me to score 200. All I wanted was to be at the strike and score as many runs as possible for the team. So, I didn’t have that selfishness.”
India had set a target of 307 runs in front of Sri Lanka in that match. Chasing that run, Sri Lanka were all out for 136 runs. Harbhajan Singh took four wickets. Ishant took three wickets with the ball in that innings.
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