New Delhi:The 54 balls that he bowled to the world's highest-ranked Test batsman Ricky Ponting was the "turning point" of his life, says India's pace sensation Ishant Sharma.
The gangling 6'4" Delhi speedster, hailed as the find of the just-concluded Australian tour, has cool head despite being thrust into limelight suddenly.
The 19-year-old cricketer told PTI in an interview here "the nine overs during which I bowled Ponting out (in Perth Test) are very important for me. That was the turning point of my life. This tour was very crucial for me. It has changed my whole life".
Big bucks, hysterical fans and media adulation that comes with cricket stardom have not gone to his head.
"Everyone tells me don't forget from where you've come. Never forget your roots," said Ishant, son of an air conditioner mechanic.
While Ponting lavished praise on Ishant for producing "outstanding" spells, his predecessor Steve Waugh described the Delhiite as "next best thing in Indian cricket".
"It is a good sign that every one has words of praise for me. To get a compliment from a great batsman like Ricky Ponting motivates me," said the bowler, who emerged as India's highest wicket-taker with 14 scalps from nine matches in the tri-series.
Asked if all this praise also put pressure on him, Ishant said it had only a positive influence on him.
"Sometimes it can motivate you, sometime it can put pressure on you. It all depends on whether you take it in positive way or negatively. I take it positively so I derive motivation from all these and it is certainly going to help me if I am ever down," he said.
He, however, acknowledged that it was a good feeling to be recognised by every one.
"Earlier, hardly anyone knew me but now every one knows me. Everyone recognises who is Ishant, so it is a good feeling," he said.
Ishant, who consistently bowled around 140 kmph and also sometimes touched close to 150 kmph, is not trying to be in the league of speedsters like Australia's Brett Lee and Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan in terms of pace.
"I am not thinking about pace, but hitting right lengths and to my strengths. I want to do that consistently. My deliveries also have good bounce. I am not concentrating about pace at all," he said.
On the tough competition in the fast bowling department in India, Ishant said he would not lose heart if he was made to sit out of the team.
"If I'm struggling to find place in the team I am not going to be disheartened by that because I would know that if someone is selected ahead of me he is doing a better job," he said.