After Praveen Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, legspinner Karn Sharma became the third cricketer to hit the headlines from the small western Uttar Pradesh town of Meerut when he bagged a Rs 3.75 crore from Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2014 IPL auction. It was the highest amount earned by a domestic uncapped player in the auction and was reward for a solid season with Sunrisers in 2013 when he grabbed 11 wickets in 13 matches at an economy rate of 6.60. He formed a potent combination with India legspinner Amit Mishra as Sunrisers beat expectations to reach the semi-finals in their first season.
He has been around in the domestic circuit since 2007 representing Railways, but it was only during the 2012-13 season that he really made heads turn. He won the BCCI award for the Best Under-25 cricketer after taking 21 wickets at 19.04 in three Ranji matches that season. It included an eight-wicket innings haul against defending champions Rajasthan, which remains a highlight of his first-class career.
He repeated his solid IPL showing in 2014, with 15 wickets at 25.06, before showing a glimpse of his batting skills against South Africa A when India A toured Australia - given limited opportunities there, he got India A across the line in a nail-biting chase with 39 off 16 at No. 9. Not long after, he was rewarded with an India call-up, making the limited-overs squad for the tour to England and debuting for the country in a T20 international. Later in the year, after consistently claiming wickets against touring teams for India A, he got a maiden Test call-up: for the tour to Australia.