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NEW DELHI, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Ishant Sharma has not been much of a handful for Australia's batsmen but the superstitious Indian paceman will at least become a real mouthful after tweaking his name in a bid to change his bowling fortunes.
The lanky 23-year-old is battling indifferent form and a fragile ankle but was diligently practising a new signature after a graphologist advised him to change the spelling of his name to 'Isshannt', local media reported on Wednesday.
Graphology is the study of hand-writing as expression of the writer's character.
"I do not know how and why, but I'm more at peace now since the signature change," the bowler was quoted as saying in a report that appeared in Hindustan Times newspaper.
However, there was little evidence in the first test to suggest the tactic had worked as Sharma toiled without success in Australia's first innings but did claim a single victim in the home team's ongoing second innings in Melbourne.
Despite generating plenty of speed, Sharma's problem could be the amount of time he is devoting to perfecting his new signature.
"Instinctively I still end up writing my old signature as it is hard to give up. But I'm working on it. I have so far exhausted about 20 notebooks practising.
"I haven't changed them in my bank account or official papers as that is a long drawn-out process," the bowler added.
His father, however, was unaware of his son's actions.
"I'm not sure about it. He remains Ishant on paper and I'm not aware if he has changed his autograph," Vijay Sharma told Reuters.
Even if he has, Sharma junior can hardly claim to be a trend-setter.
Former India captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth, head of the selection panel that picked Sharma for the four-test series, is also believed to have added an extra lucky 'k' to his surname, although he would not confirm the switch.
The same recipe for success prompted former all-rounder Sanjay Bangar to spell his name 'Sunjoy' but his international career stalled after he played 12 tests and 15 one-dayers between 2001-04.
The trend is much stronger in Bollywood, India's movie-churning machine, where Rakesh Roshan is known for directing films with titles beginning with 'K'.
Some other directors have thrown an additional letter into film titles while quite a few A-list actors have inserted an extra 'a' in their names in the hope that the extra vowel will result in extra income.
(Editing by John O'Brien; To comment on this story: email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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