Ishant Vijay Sharma, a tall, lanky pace bowler with a thin frame and a head full of hair flinging all over the place, steaming into bowl to arguably Australia’s one of the finest batsman Ricky Ponting and continuously bouncing him out on the pacy wickets of Australia is possibly the most vivid memory the cricket lovers have of Ishant Sharma when he burst onto the scene.
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.
Ishant Sharma made his Ranji Trophy debut for Delhi at the age of 18 and rapidly climbed the stairs of success. Ishant toured England with the India Under-19s in 2006 and Pakistan in 2006–07. He played three youth tests and six youth One Day Internationals for India and instantly grabbed the attention of Indian selectors and went on to play for India’s senior team. Ishant whilst playing for Delhi has taken 451 wickets in 138 first-class games so far.
Ishant Sharma has donned jersey’s of several IPL franchises in his 13-year long career. From Kolkata Knight Riders to Deccan Chargers to Sunrisers Hyderabad to Rising Pune Supergiant to Kings XI Punjab to now his home state Delhi Capitals, Ishant arguably has seen every nook and cranny of IPL.
The constant changing of the teams also depicts that Ishant never truly aced the format of IPL. However, with Ishant starting to pitch the ball further up in Tests and seeing a considerable improvement in performance, the year 2020 could be a breakout year for him in IPL.
At the age of 18, Ishant Sharma 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.
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. He got Ponting out 6 times in 7 innings.
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 would deliver a great spell here and a ripper of a delivery there, but the consistency that was not to be seen.
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.
However, an ankle injury surfaced and Ishant Sharma’s resurgence was cut short. But lately Ishant Sharma 2.0 has surprised everybody with his performance.
Between 2015 and 2017, Ishant took a wicket once every 64 full-length deliveries. But since 2018, he has been striking once every 26 times he pitches it up.
Ishant's average in this period is better than that of Kagiso Rabada, James Anderson, Trent Boult, Stuart Broad and Josh Hazlewood.
Ishant Sharma made his ODI debut against South Africa on 29 June 2007 and had a rather sedate start to his limited-overs career.
In the ODI series that followed Ishant’s breakout Test series, the Delhi-pacer showed his true prowess in the shorter format. 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 (CB series).
However, the wrist positioning problems, injuries and dwindling pace caused him to lose his spot in the team. 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.
Ishant last played an ODI for India in 2016 and due to the strong competition has not been able to break into the team.
Despite having all the ingredients to be a gun T20 bowler, Ishant Sharma never really got going in the international T20 arena. With over a 13 year-long international career, Ishant Sharma has only played 14 T20Is and taken 8 wickets at an average of 50.
Ishant Sharma nicknamed Lambu was born in Delhi on 2 September 1988 to Vijay Sharma and Grisha Sharma. He is married to former India women basketball player Pratima Singh. The Delhi-pacer received the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2020 for his contribution to Indian cricket over the last 13 years.