'At this phase of my career, I am enjoying my cricket'

At this phase of my career, I am enjoying my cricket: Ishant Sharma

He has been phenomenal in the last few years and India pacer Ishant Sharma simply believes that it has to do with him "enjoying his cricket".

The 31-year-old, who is India's senior-most cricketer in the current set-up with 97 Tests, said that he wouldn't probably like to sledge Steve Smith during the next tour of Australia, unlike the 2017 home series game in Bengaluru where his facial expression became a meme.

"I am in that phase of my career where I am enjoying my cricket and more I enjoy, better it is. I will take more wickets and win matches for the team unless you guys want to provoke me and get me banned," Ishant, known for his dry sense of humour, said.

He was speaking to teammate Mayank Agarwal during a podcast, 'Open Nets with Mayank', and aired by bcci.tv.

When Agarwal asked about his now-famous facial gesture to the former Australian captain, the senior speedster said that the sole aim was to upset Smith's rhythm.

"I was trying to upset Steve Smith's rhythm. We knew if we could get that wicket, we would have a better chance of winning. Virat doesn't mind aggression. He is an aggressive captain and only thing he will tell is 'just get me the wicket but make sure you don't get banned'."

Ishant, who was a part of the pace quartet during the 2018-19 historic series win in Australia, still cherishes the feat.

"I have been on for tours to Australia (since 2007-08) and I know how tough it is. Having heard all these years that we don't win in Australia, you have that eagerness and urge to win."

A dogged tail-ender, Ishant got his maiden Test fifty in Kingston last year and by his own admission, he never let opener KL Rahul forget his feat.

Agarwal cheekily asked him, "You have taken batting seriously?" Pat came the reply, "Because of you guys. You guys poke me so much that I thought I would rather commit suicide than listen to you people."

As Agarwal burst out laughing, the senior India pacer went on, "Ask KL (Rahul) how he felt (about his half-century). He must have thought that if I score a hundred, he (KL) might have to jump off the balcony."

"KL scored some 25-odd (13) and was telling me 'Son, if you score more than me, I will do this and that and I said 'abe ruk jaa yaar' (please hold on). And then I came back (scoring 57) and told him about what should have been his back-lift and technique and he would tell me 'now stop it'.

"It was the first time while batting my gloves were soaked in sweat," he said, leading to another round of laughter. 

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