India pacer Ishant Sharma on Monday said that the World Test Championship (WTC) is like a World Cup for him and he wants his side to play the finals scheduled for later this year.
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The four-match series between India and England currently stands level at 1-1 and now both teams will lock horns in a pink-ball Test, beginning Wednesday at the Motera Stadium. India had achieved an emphatic 317-run win against England in the second Test of the ongoing four-match series. As a result, the series stands level at 1-1 and the Virat Kohli-led side has also reached the second spot in World Test Championship (WTC) standings.
The upcoming third Test against England will also be Ishant's 100th in the longest format of the game. Earlier in the series, Ishant Sharma had become the third Indian pacer to take 300 wickets in Test cricket. Overall, he became the sixth Indian to do so.
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"I would have loved to go to Australia to achieve the 100 Tests milestone. But, some things do not go as per plan. I couldn't go to Australia, as soon as you move over certain things, life can become simpler. I have learnt that you cannot stay stuck regarding one thing in your career, it is important to move ahead. 131 Tests landmark of Kapil Dev is too far away, I am just focusing on the upcoming Test," said Ishant during a virtual press conference on Monday.
"I am just focused on how to win this series and qualify for the finals of the WTC. I just play one format, WTC is like a World Cup for me, if we play the finals and then we go on to win, the feeling would be the same as winning the World Cup or the Champions Trophy," he added.
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When asked about the memories from his debut Test, Ishant replied: "When I made my debut, Ravi sir was the manager and he is our coach now. He only told me then that I would play. I was really nervous during my debut match. As a youngster, when you enter the dressing room and then you see the stars that you would play with. 100 Tests is just a number to me, I am taking it one game at a time, as long as the intent and aggression shows in my bowling, I would like to continue."
India remains in contention to make the final of the ICC World Test Championship. The victory in Chennai on Tuesday has lifted India to the second position with 69.7 percentage points on the points table but they cannot afford to lose another match as they need to win 2-1 or 3-1 to qualify for the final of the maiden edition of the championship.
England, who led the table after winning the opening Test, has slipped to the fourth spot with 67.0 percentage points. They can still qualify, but for that, they must win both remaining matches of the series against India.