Perth Test: ‘Big brother’ Ishant Sharma happy to lead India in tough situations
Ishant Sharma claimed his best Test figures in Australia on Saturday. © BCCI

Having claimed career-best figures of 4/41 in Australia, during which he snuffed out Australia’s last two wickets to put himself on a hat-trick when the hosts bat again in the Perth Test, fast bowler Ishant Sharma has admitted that his desire to grab the ball and change matches is a big difference in his approach.

The 30-year-old, in his 12th year as an international cricketer, is the most-capped member of India’s Test squad and with 263 wickets he is four short of surpassing Bishan Singh Bedi to move to six on India’s all-time list. In 2018, Ishant has claimed 37 wickets at an average of  20.75 while striking every 47.2 deliveries.

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Speaking to reporters after stumps on Saturday, Ishant said that being like the big brother of the current Indian pace attack was as special feeling.

“There’s an added responsibility,” he said. “When there’s a tough situation, I like to take responsibility and take wickets. Before this, I’ve seen my seniors in situations where someone or the other stood up for the the team. Back then I wasn’t so aware. But now, when a tough situation presents itself, I want to stand up for the team and change the game. On these kinds of wickets if you bowl well, you have a chance to do well.

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Ishant has had no-ball problems in Adelaide and Perth, which former Australian cricketers and the Australian media have been quick to pick up. In Adelaide, Ishant deprived India of Aaron Finch’s scalp in the second innings by over-stepping, and subsequent analysis has revealed that the umpires missed calling 16 no-balls by him across two innings.

Asked if he had been effected by it, Ishant’s reply came quick. “I think maybe the Australian media should answer that more than me because it doesn’t effect me, to be very honest, because I know that I’ve been playing cricket for so long,” he said. “These things happen. You’re human, bound to make mistakes. I’ve not at all been worried about these things.”

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India trail Australia by 157 runs, with skipper Virat Kohli batting on 82 and Ajinkya Rahane on 51. Their stand of 90 has put India in a good space, and Ishant was hopeful that the pair continue on Sunday.

“We feel pretty confident whenever he [Kohli] is batting,” he said. “We finished the day in a strong position. It’s equal right now, hopefully we’ll win the first session tomorrow and turn the game in our favour. “The runs that Rahane scored when he walked out were very important. How he attacked was very good. If he had gotten into a defensive shell maybe the Australians would have been able to exert control with their plans. That counter-attack was very good for Jinx [Rahane] and that’s what forced Australia to change their plans.”