Not anymore, it seems. Thanks to the IPL, a robust domestic cricket system, a slew of India A tours and a friendly, supportive environment in the dressing room, Team India has discovered as many as 10 players over the last four months who have sizzled on their debut across various formats.
TOI takes a look at Team India players who have sizzled on debut over the past few months…
T NATARAJAN (Debut in all 3 formats)
After an impressive IPL, Thangarasu Natarajan came to Australia as a net bowler, but ended up becoming the first Indian cricketer to make his international debut across all three formats on the same tour. The left-arm pacer, known as ‘yorker Natarajan’ because of his ability to fire in yorkers at will, took 2/70 on his ODI debut in Canberra, 3/30 on his T20I debut in the same city, and then grabbed 3/78 in the first innings on his Test debut in Brisbane.
SHUBMAN GILL (Test Debut) 45 & 35* vs Australia (2nd Test, MCG, December 2020)
Replacing the out-of-form Prithvi Shaw, Gill suddenly provided the dressing room with calmness with his assured backfoot game and the ability to play the quicks with ease. His 91 in the second innings at Gabba set up the platform for the others to go for the seemingly improbable.
MOHAMMED SIRAJ (Test Debut) Match figures of 5/77 vs Australia (2nd Test, MCG, December 2020)
India were down 0-1, having been shot out for 36 in the first Test against Australia in Adelaide. To make matters worse, they lost ace bowler Mohammed Shami to injury. However, replacing Shami in the second Test in the Boxing Day Test at MCG, Mohammed Siraj took five for 77 (2-40 & 3-37) to help India score a stunning victory. Creditably, he overcame the loss of his father to stay on in Australia and make a huge difference to the side with a five-for in the Gabba Test win.
SHARDUL THAKUR (Technically 2nd Test; was injured on debut) Match figures of 7-155 & 67 with the bat vs Australia (4th Test, Brisbane), January 2021
Along with Ashwin, pacer Jasprit Bumrah too was ruled out of the Brisbane Test. In stepped Shardul Thakur, the Mumbai pacer, who had limped off with a groin injury after just 10 balls on debut against the West Indies in Hyderabad in 2018. He had an instant impact, taking 3/94 & 4/61, besides scoring 67 while sharing a decisive stand with Sundar. He know is India’s go-to man in white-ball cricket.
WASHINGTON SUNDAR (Test Debut) 3-89 & 1-80; 62 & 22 vs Australia (4th Test, Brisbane, January 2021)
On Test eve, off-spinner R Ashwin was ruled out. A 21-year-old Sundar, retained as a net bowler, stepped up. He got Steve Smith and two others before getting David Warner’s scalp in the second dig. With the bat, he scored 62, adding 123 crucial runs for the seventh wicket with Shardul Thakur, before chipping in with a 29-ball 22 in the second innings as India chased down 328. He played a crucial role in the Test series victory against England too, especially at Motera.
AXAR PATEL (Test Debut) Match figures of 7-100 vs England (2nd Test; Chennai, February 2021)
With Jadeja out injured, in came Axar, till then known as a white-ball specialist. Generating dangerous bounce and slight turn on a rank turner in Chennai, the left-arm spinner from Gujarat wreaked havoc, taking 2/40 and 5/60 to enable India to come back in the series. He eventually finished his maiden Test series with 27 wickets in three Tests at a stunning average of 10.59.
SURYAKUMAR YADAV (T20I Debut) 57 off 31 balls vs England (4th T20I; March 2021)
After a long wait, he finally wore the India Blue in the second T20I against England but didn’t get a chance to bat. He was inexplicably dropped in the third game. However, an injury to Ishan Kishan enabled him to bat at No. 3 and he tore into England hitting six fours and three sixes. Surya’s poise prompted Kohli to open in the decider, allowing him to bat at 3.
ISHAN KISHAN (T20I Debut) 56 off 32 balls vs England; 2nd T20I; March 2021)
The aggressive left-hander was always in contention after smashing a record 30 sixes for Mumbai Indians in the IPL last year. Finally when he did get his chance, the Jharkhand lad was ready: opening the innings with Rohit Sharma, Kishan roared out of the blocks, studding his knock with five fours and four sixes, to help India chase down 165.
KRUNAL PANDYA (ODI Debut) 58 off 31 balls vs England (first ODI, Pune, March 2021)
Having played 18 T20Is before being dropped, Krunal Pandya looked fired up to make an impression in his maiden ODI. Krunal’s whirlwind knock, in which he cracked the fastest half-century by a debutant and helped India add an unbeaten 112 for the sixth wicket in just 57 balls with KL Rahul, set up India’s big win. Seven fours and two sixes showed his hitting prowess and may have given India another potential destructive finisher.
PRASIDH KRISHNA (ODI Debut) 4-54 vs England (first ODI, Pune, March 2021)
The team management wanted to have a look at this exciting prospect for quite some time and when he finally got his opportunity, Prasidh didn’t disappoint. The tall, wiry 25-yearold Karnataka pacer showed resolve and quick thinking in coming back strong after being carted for a few by Jonny Bairstow. He broke England’s back with the wickets of Jason Roy and Ben Stokes and almost dismissed Morgan first ball.
(ALL PICS CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)