'I had to kick him and wake him up' - Virat Kohli on Ishant Sharma's maiden India call-up

‘I had to kick him and wake him up’ – Virat Kohli on Ishant Sharma’s maiden India call-up

Ishant Sharma and Virat Kohli had made their first-class debuts together in 2006.

Ishant Sharma and Virat Kohli. (Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP) (Photo credit should read RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)

India pace spearhead Ishant Sharma is all set to achieve a major milestone in his career. The right-arm fast-bowler will become just the 10th Indian to play 100 or more Tests when he takes the field for the third Test against England, starting on Wednesday (February 24) at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad.

No player in the current team is in the 100-Test club. After Ishant, captain Virat Kohli is the most experienced Test player with 89 Tests to his name. And as Ishant gears up for the special game, Kohli opened up about his relationship with his state and national teammate. Kohli and Ishant had made their first-class debuts together in 2006 against Tamil Nadu. In the following year, Ishant went on to play his first Test while Kohli had to wait for four more years for the same.

Virat Kohli on his relationship with Ishant Sharma

Speaking to the media ahead of the third Test, Virat Kohli started by revealing that he and Ishant started playing state cricket together. The India batting star also revealed that he and Ishant used to be roommates for a long time while playing for Delhi. Kohli then went on to narrate an incident from when the bowler got his first-ever call-up for the national team.

“Ishant started playing state cricket with me. We used to be roommates for a long time for state cricket, Ranji cricket. When he got selected for India, he was fast asleep in the afternoon and I had to kick him and wake him up to give him the news. That’s how far we go. We have great trust between us. I’ve been very happy to see him enjoy his bowling over the years,” Kohli said during a virtual press conference.

Speaking further, Kohli lavished praise on Ishant for his incredible achievement. The 32-year-old highlighted how rare it is for a fast bowler to maintain fitness and show the kind of longevity that Ishant has shown. Kohli also said that Ishant could have prioritized limited-overs cricket, but he has given his full focus to Test cricket.

“Great achievement in modern-day cricket to maintain your body like he has and play 100 Tests, it is rare especially among fast bowlers,” Kohli said.

Talking about Ishant’s career, he has picked up 302 wickets in Tests so far. The India star breached the 300-wicket mark during the second Test in Chennai. Ishant has also played 80 ODIs and 14 T20Is so far, taking a total of 123 wickets.