Cricket : Ishant says he will continue to play till the time his body allows

The Arjuna Award has come his way after 13 years of toil in international cricket and motivated by the recognition, veteran India pacer Ishant Sharma plans to continue in top flight till the time his “body allows”.

Ishant, 31, made his international debut in both Tests and ODIs in 2007 and played his first T20I the following year.

He remains a vital player in Test cricket.

“I realised my passion for cricket at a very young age and since then I have been striving to give my 100 per cent effort day in and day out. Every step I took to improve my game was aimed at taking India’s name to a higher level,” he said in a statement.

“Till the time my body allows, I will continue to do so, and by God’s grace after that as well,” the pacer added in the statement that he shared on his official Twitter handle.

The 31-year-old, who has played 97 Tests, 80 ODIs and 14 T20Is for India, is one of the 27 sportspersons who have been honoured with the Arjuna Award this year. He, however, could not attend the online ceremony due to his IPL commitments here.

“I sincerely thank the (sports) ministry for this recognition.

“Lastly, a huge shout out to BCCI for giving monumental support in this journey and the journey going forward. Not to forget, congratulations to all the fellow Arjuna Awardees,” he added.

Ishant is here with his Delhi Capitals teammates for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is slated to start from September 19.

Besides Ishant, limited-overs teams vice-captain Rohit Sharma was conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sporting honour, while women’s team all-rounder Deepti Sharma won the Arjuna.

Ishant also congratulated the fellow award winners.

“Extremely grateful and honoured to receive the #ArjunaAward! Congratulations to fellow awardees for the same! Thanks for constant support and love from all of you,” he tweeted.