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2013 Yearender: Memorable debuts

Year 2013 had its fair share of debutants who soared to heavenly heights in their very first match © IANS & PTI
Year 2013 had its fair share of debutants who soared to heavenly heights in their very first match © IANS, PTI, Getty Images

By Devarchit Varma

 

The year 2013 was a memorable one for the cricket fraternity. While there were new highs and lows on the field, many new records being made and the old ones being broken, legends of the game such as Sachin Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis retiring, there were a couple of stars who announced their arrival in spectacular manner across the formats. Let’s take a look at the cricketers who made memorable debuts in the year 2013:

 

Shikhar Dhawan — 187 vs Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali

 

 

The poor run of their batting star Virender Sehwag forced Indian think-tank to take the harsh step of dropping him after the first Two Tests of the four-match series against Australia at home. Shikhar Dhawan, who replaced the Delhi dasher for the third Test at Mohali, made one of the stunning debuts in the history of the sport. After Australia had piled on a huge first innings total of 408, India needed a strong start, and Dhawan gave his side more than what they could have imagined. The left-handed batsman smashed a century off just 85 balls, thus becoming the quickest to reach the three-figure mark on Test debut, and the 13th Indian to score a ton in his first match. He smashed as many as 21 boundaries to complete his century, effectively 84 runs in fours. Dhawan ended the day at 185 not out, and the world anticipated that he would get to his double century soon. But he fell after adding just two more runs to his overnight total. Dhawan faced 174 balls to score 187, hitting 33 boundaries and two sixes. Nevertheless, a stunning innings that marked the arrival of yet another Indian star, who went on to dazzle with his batting firepower in the months to come.

 

Ashton Agar — 98 vs England, 1st Ashes 2013 Test, Trent Bridge

 

 

The Australians had a surprise package for the English in their touring party for the Ashes 2013 in form of the 19-year-old Ashton Agar. But for the first Test at Trent Bridge, not many would have backed Michael Clarke to play the untested youngster, who had by then played only 10 First-Class matches. But sometimes, numbers do not tell the exact story. While most of the Australians would have spent the entire first day pondering what prompted Clarke to make such a decision, Agar surprised one-and-all with a superb innings of 98 — registering the highest score by a No 11 batsman in the history of the game. Walking in to bat with Australia reeling at 117 for nine, Agar added 163 runs for the 10th wicket with Phil Hughes. Agar played strokes as fluently as a top-order batsman, and took everyone by surprise. Even though he missed out on a golden opportunity to score the first-ever Test ton by a No 11 batsman as he was dismissed for 98, he walked back with a huge smile on his face. He faced 101 balls to score those 98, and hit 12 boundaries and two sixes.

 

Mohammed Shami — 9 for 118 vs West Indies, 1st Test, Kolkata

 

shami
Mohammed Shami made a truly remarkable Test debut against the West Indies © IANS

 

India were expected to dominate the West Indies in the two-match Test series that marked the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar. While the hosts maintained supremacy over the Caribbean side in the two Tests at Kolkata and Mumbai, there were a few standout performances for the hosts. Mohammed Shami, included in the side in absence of pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma being out-of-favour, made most of the opportunity. He not only registered a five-wicket haul in the first innings of the opening Test at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, but also bagged four more wickets in the second essay to take the wicket count in the game to nine for 118 — thus becoming the second Indian bowler after Narendra Hirwani to register best figures on a Test debut. Shami was impressive in swinging the ball, as five out of the nine wickets he took in the game were bowleds.

 

Rohit Sharma — 177 vs West Indies, 1st Test, Kolkata

 

After a long, long wait, Rohit Sharma finally broke into the Indian side and celebrated his arrival in the Test arena with a splendid innings of 177 against the West Indies in the first Test at Kolkata. Rohit faced 301 balls to score 177, which was studded with 23 boundaries and a six. Rohit walked into bat with India four down for 82, still trailing by 152 runs in the first innings. But when he got out, India were 202 runs ahead. Along with Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit blunted the West Indies attack and put India in a commanding position. The two Indian batsmen added as many as 280 runs for the seventh wicket to set up a huge win for India.

 

Kyle Abbott — 9 for 68 vs Pakistan, 3dr Test, Centurion

 

In February this year, Kyle Abbott walked into a bowling attack which is considered to be the best in the world. South Africa, in a way, silenced the critics who for long claimed that they do not have good bench strength in absence of the likes of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel — thanks to an impressive debut by Kyle Abbott, who registered the figures of nine for 68 against Pakistan at Centurion. Drafted into the side after the veteran Jacques Kallis was ruled out, Abbott grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he ran through Pakistan batting line-up to fold them for a modest 156, recording the figures of 11.4-4.29-7. There was no respite for the Pakistan side in the second innings as well, as Abbott claimed two more wickets in the second innings and helped his side to register a comprehensive win by an innings and 18 runs. Abbott was named Man of the Match for his performance.

 

Moises Henriques — 68 and 81 vs India, 1ts Test, Chennai

 

While Australia had a forgettable tour of India in 2013, there were a couple of positives that they could take back home after a 4-0 drubbing. Moises Henriques’s impressive debut at Chennai was one of those. With their side in trouble with five down for 153, Henriques teamed up with captain Clarke to bail their side out of trouble and did a good job. The two added 153 runs for the sixth wicket to help Australia post a huge first innings total. Henriques batted in a matured way and scored 68 in the first innings. In the second essay, wherein Australia were folded for just 241, Henriques emerged as a bright spot with a fluent 81.

 

James Faulkner — 6 for 98 vs England, 5th Ashes Test, The Oval

 

On a disappointing England tour in 2013, Australia handed the Test cap to the 23-year-old James Faulkner, who did not disappoint. Faulkner claimed four wickets in the first innings to help Australia dismiss England for 377 and take a crucial 115-run lead, and in the second innings, he took two key wickets of Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott. With the bat, Faulkner scored a rapid 23 in the first essay and fell for 22 in the second, when he was promoted at No 3 in order to score quick runs for his side.

 

Hamish Rutherford — 171 vs England, 1st Test, Dunedin

 

 

Hamish Rutherford too made an impressive debut in 2013, completing his maiden Test century in the first Test match against England at Dunedin. England, known for being slow starters in overseas Test series, were folded for mere 167 in the first innings, and New Zealand made most of the opportunity by piling up 460 on their turn. Riding high on confidence, New Zealand put tremendous pressure on the English side, which was tipped as ‘favourites’ going into the series. Rutherford was the architect of New Zealand’s domination, as he notched up his maiden Test ton. The left-handed batsman scored 171 off 217 balls, hitting 22 boundaries and three sixes.

 

Phil Hughes — 112 vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Melbourne

 

On January 11, 2013, Phil Hughes became the first Australian cricketer to score a century on debut in One-Day Internationals (ODIs). Australian captain George Bailey deemed it fit to bat first after winning the toss at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), and Hughes proved his decision right by notching up his first ton in the 50-over format. Hughes scored a fluent 112 off 129 balls, which included 14 boundaries. Hughes’s ton helped Australia post a big total of 305, and the bowlers did the rest by bowling out Sri Lanka for 198, registering a win by 107 runs. Hughes was named Manof-the-Match for his effort.

 

Mitchell McClenaghan — 10-2-4-20 vs South Africa, 1st ODI, Paarl

 

Mitchell McClenaghan played a crucial role in New Zealand’s shocking win over the South Africans in their own backyard — at Paarl on January 19. New Zealand opted to field after winning the toss and the decision was a correct one, as the South Africans failed to find momentum and were eventually folded for 208. McClenaghan, making his debut for the Kiwis, was impressive as he took four wickets in his debut game, and two of them being the priced scalps of opposition skipper Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers. New Zealand won the game by one wicket.

 

Bilawal Bhatti — 39 and 7.1-0-37-3 vs South Africa, 1st ODI, Cape Town

 

Bilawal Bhatti made a sparkling debut for Pakistan with an impressive all-round show at Cape Town. The South Africans were facing Pakistan for a short bilateral ODI series and there wasn’t much anticipation around the contest considering the fact that they had beaten the Asian side 4-1 couple of weeks back in the United Arab Emirates. However, Bhatti spiced things up with an all-round show in the first game of the three-match series by setting up a 23-run win for his side. Bhatti scored a quickfire 39 off 25 balls, clobbering three boundaries and two sixes, and claimed three wickets to help his side win the contest.

 

Ashan Priyanjan — 74 vs Pakistan, 4th ODI, Abu Dhabi

 

Even though Sri Lanka lost the tie by eight wickets, they had some positives to take in form of an impressive debut made by Ashan Priyanjan. The 24-year-old right-handed batsman top-scored with 74 off 93 balls, hitting 10 boundaries, to help his side reach a respectable first innings total against a rampaging Pakistan side.

 

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

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