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Hailed as the next big thing in Indian cricket, Ishant Sharma shot into the limelight by bowling a dream spell to Ricky Ponting in the Perth Test when India toured Australia in 2008. Ishant, who hails from Delhi, is nicknamed Lambu (meaning Tall Guy), which is in reference to his lean and tall build, measuring 193cm. Ishant started playing serious cricket at the age of 14 and soon made his Ranji Trophy debut for Delhi at the age of 18. He was first selected for India in May 2007 when India toured Bangladesh and made his Test debut in that same series. His big break came when he prised out the Pakistani side on a flat Chinnaswamy deck en route to taking 5/140 in December 2007. That bowling effort won him a place on India's tour to Australia and from then on there was no looking back for the lanky lad. Ishant, has a lovely high-arm action and is able to bowl consistently close to the 140 kph mark, which troubled the Aussies no end in that 2008 tour. The Aussie captain Ponting was Ishant's bunny as he dismissed him six times in seven Test matches. Ishant also had the distinction of having delivered the fastest ball ever bowled by an Indian, when he clocked 152.6 km/h (94.8mph) at Adelaide Oval against Australia on February 17, 2008. In the process, he also became the first Indian to bowl over 150 km/h, beating teammate Ashish Nehra's 149.7 kph delivery. After all the exploits in the ensuing CB series, which finished with Ishant ending up as the highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 14 wickets to his name, Ishant had well and truly arrived on the international scene. Often compared to Javagal Srinath for a similarly lean build and high-arm action, Ishant, continued to shine and during the inaugural auction of the IPL was picked up for a whooping $950,000 by Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan for his franchise Kolkata - making him one of the highest paid players - and instantly catapulting him into the big league at the tender age of 20. When the Australians came to India to play a four-match Test series later that year, Ishant along with Zaheer Khan mastered the art of reverse-swing and used it expertly to leave them dumbstruck. He gained appreciable movement both off the seam and in the air as he further enhanced his reputation with some fine spells of fast bowling on some placid wickets. He was named Man of the Series for his 15 wickets as he helped India to a 2-0 series victory. The year 2009 turned out to be a rough one for the Delhi lad as he got to experience the vagaries of international cricket. It all started to go wrong during the second edition of the IPL when he looked a pale shadow of the bowler he is as he was smashed to all corners of the ground. With his performance plummeting, his side, Kolkata, had a horrid season finishing last. The downward slide continued in the T20 World Cup as well and the wheel came full circle when he was dropped from the side mid-way during the India - Australia ODI series in October 2009 after another disappointing show with the ball. In 2012, Ishant underwent an ankle surgery and was out of action for the months that followed. After a string of poor performances, the selectors started to view Ishant as a Test specialist. However, his performances in Tests never got any better and he was very poor in the Tests in England and Australia, and again when Australia toured India. where he picked only 16 wickets from eight Tests. Ishant did not have a good year in 2013. After performing listlessly in Tests, he was thrashed in IPL 6. Against Chennai, playing for Hyderabad, he conceded 66 runs in his spell of four overs - the most runs for any bowler in IPL history. When Australia toured India in October/November 2013, Ishant equaled the record for the most expensive over by an Indian bowler, conceding 30 runs in the third ODI. He was, hence, dropped from both the Test and ODI squads for the West Indies tour that followed. However, Ishant was named in both the teams for the South Africa tour in December 2013. Ever since his return to the Test squad, Ishant has performed very well. In the ODI format though, he was expensive in New Zealand and was again left out of the side for the 2014 Asia Cup. In the IPL auctions for the 2014 edition, Ishant was bought back by the Hyderabad franchise, for whom he played in 2013. Ishant played three Test matches on the tour to England in 2014, where he bagged the Man of the Match award with a match-winning performance in the second innings of the Lord's Test, with figures of 7/74. His personal-best performance helped MS Dhoni bag a rare overseas Test victory as India made history at the Home of Cricket. Ishant did not feature in the ODI series that followed and was not preferred for the West Indies series as well. However, he returned to ODI cricket with a bang, bagging career-best figures of 4/34 against Sri Lanka in the third ODI in Cuttack. Ishant spearheaded the Indian attack in the 2014-15 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in three Test matches, before being sidelined for the final Test with an injury. Keeping in mind his height and the ability to generate extra bounce, the selectors named him in the squad for the 2015 World Cup. However, as Ishant failed to recover from a knee injury, he was ruled out of the showpiece event. Mohit Sharma replaced Ishant in the squad. Pigeonholed as India's lead pacer, Ishant has finally come of age and has been consistent in recent times. The Sri Lankan tour in 2015 was a big tipping point, especially his eight wickets in the deciding Test in Colombo - which swung the match India's way. His returns at home weren't as expected, then an injury, a marriage-enforced break and he ended up missing most of the home season in 2016. Since 2016, Ishant has clearly stepped down in the pecking order of Indian fast bowlers. The return to fitness of Mohammed Shami and the resurgence of Umesh Yadav has left the lanky Delhi pacer warming the benches for most of the season. Ishant did get to show his wares in a few Tests during the long 13-Test Indian home season in 2016-17, but on pitches that were unresponsive for his style of bowling, he barely managed decent figures. It wasn't that he was lacking in effort, in Bengaluru, his impressive and untiring efforts kept the visiting Australians at bay and his long spells was one of the reason for the spinners reaping the benefits later on. He wasn't needed in Sri Lanka as the Virat Kohli-led team ran out thumping victors, but with tough overseas tours on the anvil, the onus will be on India's most experienced pacer to deliver the goods.