Mark Craig (center) made a memorable debut for the Kiwis. Photo courtesy: Blackcaps on Twitter
Mark Craig (center) made a memorable debut for the Kiwis. Photo courtesy: BLACKCAPS on Twitter


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.



Player R W Avg SR  Opposition Venue Date
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)