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Ind vs Eng: New Faces, Going Places – How India’s 5 Debutants Fared vs England

Ind vs Eng: India handed five debuts in the Test series against England. Almost all of them rose to the occasion.

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Albeit India won their maiden Test series on Australian soil in 2019, the triumph in 2021 had a more pronounced impact. In a first, five players had made their Test debut for India in the same series. More importantly, their collective efforts helped India secure a 2-1 series win, including a transcendental Gabbatoir breach.

A similar accomplishment has been achieved three years later. The recently-concluded five-match Test series between India and England saw the former handing debuts to five cricketers, almost all of whom contributed to the team becoming to first Test side from India to clinch a 4-1 series victory after losing the first match.

Let us now rewind the clock and revisit the performances of the quintet:

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1. Rajat Patidar

Ind vs Eng: India handed five debuts in the Test series against England. Almost all of them rose to the occasion.

India vs England: Rajat Patidar is the only member of the debut quintet who could not meet expectations.

(Photo: BCCI)

In a series featuring debutants aplenty who rose to the occasion, it is slightly disillusioning that the first debutant also happened to be the solitary member of the quintet who could not meet expectations. KL Rahul's injury presented Rajat Patidar with an opportunity in Visakhapatnam, and the first impression was far from underwhelming.

He scored 32 runs in his maiden international innings before an unfortunate dismissal, albeit fortune cannot be held responsible for what transpired ever since. Patidar scored 9 runs in the second innings of the Visakhapatnam Test, before registering scores of 5 and 0 in Rajkot.

The Ranchi Test did not offer a reprieve either, as he scored 17 runs across the two innings combined, before missing the last Test with an injury. A modest total of 63 runs in six innings might not be enough to warrant selection in India’s next Test series, considering the likes of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul will be in the fray as well.

Rajat Patidar’s numbers in this series:

  • Matches – 3

  • Runs – 63

  • Average – 10.5

  • Highest Score – 32

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2. Sarfaraz Khan

Ind vs Eng: India handed five debuts in the Test series against England. Almost all of them rose to the occasion.

India vs England: Sarfaraz Khan scored half-centuries in both innings on his debut.

(Photo: BCCI)

Questions were raised when Rajat Patidar's debut took precedence over that of Sarfaraz Khan – a consistent run-scorer in Ranji Trophy with a first-class average of 68.53 – but when the sun did shine, the latter ensured he had the tools to make hay.

Making his debut in Rajkot amid tumultuous times, with the series hanging in balance at 1-1, and the pre-match discourse focusing more on the Shreyas Iyer saga than cricketing matters, Sarfaraz scored a 62-ball 66 in the first innings. In the second innings, he accumulated 68 runs in 72 deliveries whilst remaining unbeaten, becoming only the fourth Indian batter to score two half-centuries on his Test debut.

The Ranchi Test might not have been memorable, where he scored only 14 runs, but the 27-year-old recorded his third half-century in the last Test, becoming the fifth Indian batter to score 200 or more runs in this series.

Sarfaraz Khan’s numbers in this series:

  • Matches – 3

  • Runs – 200

  • Average – 50

  • Highest Score – 68*

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3. Dhruv Jurel

Ind vs Eng: India handed five debuts in the Test series against England. Almost all of them rose to the occasion.

India vs England: Dhruv Jurel scored a match-defining 90 in Ranchi.

(Photo: BCCI)

Although India’s intention of persisting with KS Bharat seemed bulletproof, they opted to pull the plug after the wicketkeeper-batter scored only 92 runs in the first couple of matches. In tandem with Sarfaraz, Dhruv Jurel made his debut in Rajkot and nearly mirrored the former's achievement by scoring a half-century in his maiden Test innings, before falling four runs short of the mark.

Jurel’s moment under the sun came in Ranchi, where ten Indian batters combined to score only 194 runs whilst chasing England’s 353, but the 23-year-old scored 90 runs. Coming to bat at 120/5 in the second innings, his unbeaten 39 ensured India got over the line.

His only innings in Dharamsala yielded 15 runs, but with 190 runs in four innings, he should find himself being promoted in the Test pecking order, ahead of Bharat.

Dhruv Jurel’s numbers in this series:

  • Matches – 3

  • Runs – 190

  • Average – 63.33

  • Highest Score – 90

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4. Akash Deep

Ind vs Eng: India handed five debuts in the Test series against England. Almost all of them rose to the occasion.

India vs England: Akash Deep took only six overs to take three wickets.

(Photo: BCCI)

Had India not won two consecutive matches after the Hyderabad defeat, Akash Deep might not have made his debut. But India did, and subsequently, Jasprit Bumrah was rested for the fourth Test in Ranchi.

Akash Deep did not require time to leave a lasting impression, as only twelve overs into the match, he had three wickets to his name – dismissing Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope.

Though he did not get an opportunity to bowl in the second innings, those three wickets might be enough to edge past his Bengal teammate, Mukesh Kumar, before India’s next red-ball adventure.

Akash Deep’s numbers in this series:

  • Matches – 1

  • Wickets – 3

  • Runs Conceded – 83

  • Average – 27.66

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5. Devdutt Padikkal

Ind vs Eng: India handed five debuts in the Test series against England. Almost all of them rose to the occasion.

India vs England: Devdutt Padikkal scored 65 runs in the Dharamsala Test.

(Photo: BCCI)

Devdutt Padikkal’s debut was opportune. Despite modest returns in three Test matches, a fourth opportunity seemed destined for Rajat Patidar. However, fate took a different turn as Patidar sustained an ankle injury during a training session a day prior to the match.

Padikkal was the only option India had, and it turned out to be a perfectly reliable option. The 23-year-old Southpaw from Karnataka made the most of his chance by scoring 65 runs in 103 deliveries, stitching a 97-run fourth-wicket stand with Sarfaraz Khan.

Devdutt Padikkal’s numbers in this series:

  • Matches – 1

  • Runs – 65

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