Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rohit Sharma's debut 100

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What is common between Venkatapathi Raju, Sunil Joshi, Vijay Dahiya, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Vijay Bharadwaj and Rohit Sharma?

These batsmen along with 12 others are the entire set of batsmen who have made their debuts for India in the middle order; numbers 3 through 6; since Sachin Tendulkar's debut Test for India in November 1989.

India has traditionally has had very strong middle orders, so I was half expecting this list to be quite elite but its not quite. I was also expecting this list to be much shorter than 18. Sachin's career has spanned 18 new batsmen tried by India in the middle order. 

As expected however, the period between 2001 and 2010 saw only 2 debuts handed out in the middle order. Virendra Sehwag and Vuvraj Singh

For a while I had resigned myself to the possibility that the seniors carrying on for far too long and Rohit's ODI struggles would unnecessarily derail a promising Test career. Thankfully, Rohit Sharma waited patiently and when the opportunity arose, played one of the more memorable debut innings by a middle order batsman.

The best debut innings, certainly given the match situation, since Sachin Tendulkar's debut.

V Raju, who obviously was not selected to play the middle order appears in this list only because he was sent as a night watchman (presumably). This surely must be an exclusive club. To go out for your debut innings as a night watchman. If I am not mistaken, Mohammed Azharuddin was also making his debut as captain and that surely must be a unique occurrence. A rookie captain, sending a rookie as a nightwatchman! V Raju scored 31 in the match and none of the batsmen he was protecting reached double figures. This included Sachin who was out for a duck

This list has only 3 Bombay batsmen. Praveen Amre, Vinod Kambli and Rohit Sharma. Praveen Amre of course scored a 100 on debut and Vinod Kambli's debut knock was followed by a half century and a double hundred batting with Sachin Tendulkar as India humiliated Graham Gooch's team in 1993.

Notable debuts in the middle order since the emergence of Sachin Tendulkar, that can seriously challenge Rohit Sharma's innings includes only two in my opinion...

Virendra Sehwag's 105, coming in at number 6 with India at 68 for 4 at Bloemfontein in South Africa. Sachin Tendulkar also scored a 100 batting along with Sehwag

Cheteshwar Pujara's 72 in the second innings of the Mohali Test in 2010 as India beat Australia comfortably, chasing a tricky 207 in the 4th innings. In fact I would say it was one of the rarest feats by Pujara to score a half century on debut in a successful chase on the last day.

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