The tall and lanky fast bowler captured the imagination of cricket-lovers in India with his incisive bowling on India’s tour of Australia in 2007-08. He started playing competitive cricket in Delhi, his home-city, at the relatively late age of fourteen, but so rapid was his progress that he made his first-class debut in four years. Unlike some pacemen who prefer to go flat out in short bursts, Ishant is comfortable bowling long spells. Those who watched the Perth Test of that 2007-08 series against Australia will never forget his duel with Ricky Ponting, one of the greatest batsmen of all time, which ended in victory for the Indian. Ishant was India’s highest wicket-taker in the tri-series that followed the Tests. His propensity to hit the 150 kph mark on a regular basis won him many fans.
The next season, Ishant bagged fifteen wickets in a four-Test ‘home’ series against Australia. While he produced some match-winning spells in ODIs in the season that followed, he reserved his best for the traditional format. His 7-74 against England at Lord’s in 2014 took India to their first Test win at cricket’s HQ since 1986. The next year, he bowled India to a famous series win in Sri Lanka with match figures of 8-86 in the final, deciding Test played at Colombo. His dismissal of Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lankan captain, in the second innings of the same game made Ishant only the fourth Indian paceman, after Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan to take 200 wickets in Tests.