5 Indians who made their ODI debuts against Australia but faded away too soon
Over the past decade, plenty of promising young cricketers have made their debuts for India in one-day internationals, but the transition to the highest level has often proven to be a bit too much to handle for most of them. It is not really surprising that a large chunk of cricketers have faded away from the horizon following a short career at the highest level, and due to the intense competition for places.
However, a cricketer who is picked to play his very first game against Australia must have done something right to be considered good enough to debut against, historically, one of the best cricket teams.
Some Indian cricketers took the opportunity and shone on their debuts against Australia, while others flattered to deceive and eventually faded away. Here is a look at five Indian cricketers who faded away after making their ODI debuts against Australia.
#5 Kirti Azad
All-rounder Kirti Azad was selected for India's tour to Australia in 1980-81 and even at the time, it was thought to be a rather left-field choice from the selectors. He debuted in the third ODI of the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup against Australia at Melbourne and ended up having a forgettable outing. Azad struggled with the bat, scoring just four runs off 22 balls at No.5. He did not get to bowl.
Later, he was selected for the 1983 World Cup in which he had his finest hour when he cleaned bowled Ian Botham in the semi-final, helping India win the game. However, his career gradually petered out and he played the last of his 25 ODIs in April 1986.
#4 Saurabh Tiwary
Jharkhand all-rounder Saurabh Tiwary's excellent performances in domestic cricket, and more importantly, in the IPL for Mumbai Indians, eventually earned him a place in the Indian team for the 2010 ODI series against Australia at home.
He was handed his ODI debut in the 2nd ODI at Visakhapatnam. Tiwary did not get to bowl as Australia piled up 289 in the first innings. India chased down the target, with Tiwary coming in to bat in the 45th over, and closing out the game with a 17-ball 12 in the company of a well set Suresh Raina.
He played only two more ODIs for India, the last of which was against New Zealand in the same year. He has never been selected again and with other middle-order options right now, Tiwary's chances of ODI comeback look bleak.
#3 Rohan Gavaskar
Rohan Gavaskar has always had to be contend with high expectations from cricket fans due to the cricketing exploits of his illustrious father. When he was eventually selected for the three-nation ODI series in Australia in 2004, it seemed that he had finally made it to the big stage.
A month shy of his 28th birthday when he made his debut against Australia at Melbourne, he only got to bat five deliveries towards the end of the innings, but made it up with his bowling that was instrumental in India's win in that game.
Gavaskar's accurate left-arm orthodox spin proved to be a tough ask for the star-studded Australian batting lineup as he ended with 1-56 in his 9 overs. He also took a brilliant catch off his own bowling to dismiss the dangerous Andrew Symonds. However, his batting never really took off from there and he played the last of his 11 ODIs the same year.
#2 Manoj Tiwary
He was handed his ODI debut in 2008 against Australia at Brisbane and in a rain-affected game that was eventually abandoned. A jet-lagged Tiwary only scored only two runs before Brett Lee ripped through his defences.
He has scored one century and a fifty in ODIs but has only been able to play in 12 games for India. His last game was against Zimbabwe back in 2015.
#1 Raman Lamba
The late Raman Lamba will always be one of the biggest enigmas in Indian cricket because of a sensational debut series he had against Australia and then the steady drop in form he experienced in the following years.
He was an unorthodox batsman who tried things most batsmen in the 1980s wouldn't dream of, even charging down the pitch against fast bowlers. Lamba debuted against Australia in the first game of the 1986 ODI series at Jaipur and scored a superb 53-ball 64 (8 fours, 1 six) to power India's chase of 251 in 47 overs.
He followed it up with another fifty and a century to end up as the man of the series. Yet, Lamba could not use the sensational debut series as a launch pad for a great career and ended his career playing only 32 ODIs, the last of which was in 1989.