The tallest Indian to have ever represented Indian cricket at the international level, Ishant Vijay Sharma uses his height to the maximum advantage. Standing at 6 ft 4 in, he is a right-arm fast-medium bowler who plays as a right-handed batsman.
He crossed the 100 wicket mark in just 70 matches and the crossed 150 wickets in tests in 53 tests, becoming the 11th Indian bowler to do so. He went on to win the Man of the Series on two occasions with one coming in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test Series in 2008/09 and the other in India in West Indies Test Series in 2011.
At the age of 18, he was called to join the Indian squad for the tour of South Africa in 2006–07. However, after receiving the call and organizing travel arrangements, it was decided not to send him on the tour.
In May 2007, Ishant was selected in the test team for the Bangladesh tour and played as a replacement for the fast bowler Munaf Patel. He played in the second test where he bowled just three overs including one maiden and conceded five runs without taking a wicket.
He made his test Debut against Bangladesh at Shere Bangla National Stadium on May 25, 2007, on which he picked up a wicket. He made his ODI debut against South Africa at Civil Service Cricket Club, June 29, 2007, on which he was scalpless.
Rise to glory
A lot has been discussed Ishant Sharma’s now famous spell against Australia’s Ricky Ponting in that Test at Perth on India’s tour to Australia in late 2007. It was a career-turning bowling spell where Ishant, a 19-year-old, gave Ponting a tough time in the middle by bowling outside off-stump and finally had him caught at slip.
In the ODI series that followed, Ishant showed his prowess in the shorter format as well. In one match he even delivered a ball that clocked 153 km/h. With 14 wickets in that series, Ishant was India’s leading wicket-taker and one of the reasons for their triumphant campaign.
He would deliver a great spell here and a ripper of a delivery there, but the consistency that was not to be seen. After a good 2008, where he picked up 38 wickets in 13 Tests, his form dipped as he could only manage 43 wickets from 15 Tests in the next two years.
He made a return in 2011, picking up 43 wickets in 12 Tests with two five-wicket hauls – both coming on India’s tour to the West Indies. In fact, with 22 wickets in 3 matches, he was the highest wicket-taker of the series and it appeared then that Ishant was back in the flow.
In limited overs cricket, his form dipped dramatically. He became a liability who bowled too many hit-me balls that were carted all around the park.
Perhaps his worst performance in this period was being hit for 30 runs in an over by James Faulkner towards the tail end of an ODI against Australia, at Mohali in 2013, when India had almost clinched the game.
He has represented a wide range of well reputed teams in all the domestic tournaments conducted in India like Kolkata Knight Riders, India Red, Delhi, Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab, Rest of India, India A, North Zone, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rising Pune Supergiant and India Blue and was not playing for a same team for 3 continuous seasons for most of the teams.
He is the fifth youngest player to take 100 Test wickets when he reached the milestone in 2011. In 2013, Ishant Sharma became the fifth quickest Indian to grab 100 ODI wickets when playing against South Africa.
His bowling during the CB series in 2008 is regarded as one of his finest performances and during that series, he clocked 150 kmph frequently.
Against Australia at Adelaide, he bowled at 152.6 Km/H to become a leading pace bowler in India which is the second fastest ball clocked by any Indian just behind Javagal Srinath.