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By Shiamak Unwalla
Jun 12, 2014
Pulled out of the wilderness and thrust into international cricket, Mark Craig was relatively unheard-of as he made his debut against West Indies. He soon etched a name for himself in the history books as he recorded the best figures on debut for a New Zealand bowler in the first Test at Jamaica, which his side won by 186 runs.
When a frontline bowler averages nearly 40 in First-Class cricket with a strike rate of over 70 — with the ball that is, not the bat — the bowler is rarely thought of as someone who can handle the pressures of international cricket.
And yet, the New Zealand management thought it wise to call upon the services of one such spinner. Craig, whom hardly anyone knows outside of New Zealand — and perhaps even in New Zealand — was heard of. Craig responded in a way that would make New Zealand cricket proud: by getting the Man of the Match award in his very first international appearance.
When Craig grabbed two wickets early on in his spell, West Indies were moving along quite well at 60 for no loss. He soon reduced them to 60 for two, getting rid of Kieran Powell and Kirk Edwards. He later added Kemar Roach and Suleiman Benn’s wickets to his kitty to end with four for 91 in his debut innings.
If this was not good enough, Craig returned in the second innings with the wickets of Edwards, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels (who got a pair in the match) and Roach to complete a dream debut. Craig now has the best figures for a New Zealand bowler on Test debut. Below is the list of highest wicket-takers in their debut match for New Zealand.
|Mark Craig||188||8||23.5||29.2||West Indies||Kingston||June 8, 2014|
|Paul Wiseman||143||7||20.42||57.2||Sri Lanka||Colombo (RPS)||May 27, 1998|
|Frank Cameron||92||6||15.33||42.3||South Africa||Durban||December 8, 1961|
|Andre Adams||105||6||17.5||31.6||England||Auckland||March 30, 2002|
|Doug Bracewell||136||6||22.66||48||Zimbabwe||Bulawayo||November 1, 2011|
|Alex Moir||155||6||25.83||56.5||England||Christchurch||March 17, 1951|
|Jack Cowie||167||6||27.83||56||England||Lord’s||June 26, 1937|
|Fen Cresswell||168||6||28||41.3||England||The Oval||August 13, 1949|
|Roger Blunt||34||5||6.8||21.8||England||Christchurch||January 10, 1930|
|Jacob Oram||67||5||13.4||32.4||India||Wellington||December 12, 2002|
(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)
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