Pune: India's decision to hand out debuts paid dividends once again on Tuesday when all-rounder Krunal Pandya returned with the fastest-ever half-century on ODI debut, against England, here.
Pandya's fearless attack and him catching the English bowlers by surprise in the first ODI at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium comes after India found fruitful returns from other debutants over the last few months. In Tuesday's first ODI against England, Krunal scored a half-century while pace bowler M Prasidh Krishna was among wickets, picking the first two of English wickets.
Washington Sundar was handed debut in the fourth and final Test in Australia in Brisbane and he responded with four wickets besides scoring 62 and 22. Sundar’s knock of 62 made in the first innings of the fourth Test came in a match-turning partnership with Shardul Thakur, who was playing only his second Test -- first after 2018 -- and made 67 while also picking seven wickets.
T Natarajan, who made his international debut across all formats in Australia -- T20I, ODI and Test, also played his first Test in Brisbane and picked three wickets in the first innings.
India had earlier on that Australia series handed India caps to pace bowler Mohammed Siraj, opener Shubman Gill and pacer Navdeep Saini. All of them had played limited overs cricket before. Siraj and Gill played key roles in helping India win the Test series. Siraj bowled the most number of overs by an Indian in that series and returned as their highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps. Gill got 259 runs at an average of 51.8 with two half-centuries.
On return home, India began their Test series against England with a loss. But they brought in Axar Patel, handing him a Test cap. Patel clicked, picking 27 wickets in three wickets to play the lead role in India winning the four match Test series 3-1.
However, so many debutants making such an early impression in their careers has rarely happened in Indian cricket before. A part of the reason is the confidence and preparation provided by the IPL in handling high-pressure situations against world class players. So, when players are handed India caps, they show no nerve and take on opposition with confidence.