Photo Courtesy : Getty images


In the Border- Gavaskar Trophy of 2020-21 we saw many  injury prone Indian players making way for the newcomers to make their debut in Tests.  And the debutants made much headway in winning the Series.

The stand-in players stand-out performances are chronicled here.

Shubman Gill 

Wow ! what  a brilliant hook shot of Pat Cummins in the defining innings at GABBA ground in the series decider.  Gill, the tall and lanky Punjabi who was just 3 tests old showed his batting calibre in the international arena.  The right hander set the tone of high chase of 328 runs in the fourth innings who was just on course to his maiden ton in tests just fall short of 9 runs.  His penchant to play all along the ground was breathtaking.  This hook shot off Cummins, the world’s No.1 Test bowler was shocking to the Aussies.  On his debut at MCG in the 2nd test he made scores of 45 & 35 stamped his authority and proved his credentials as a reliable test opener.And in the next test at SCG he made his first half century.  With his sterling performance in the series Down Under he staked his claim for a permanent berth as an Opener in tests.

Mohamed Siraj

Another debutant Siraj at MCG along with Gill also hit the headlines with 5 wickets in the match.  The Hyderbadi speedster debuted  after Mohamed Shami was ruled out due to injury and made strong claims in the Test side.  Son of an Auto Driver from Hyderbad, who lost his father recently mid of the tour Down Under, could not attend his father’s funeral and stayed in Australia to realise his late father’s dream of playing for the country.

His best bowling performance came in the GABBA test when he scalped 5 wickets in the second innings in the hard and bouncy track.   His rising delivery which caught unawares of the world’s best Test batsman Steve Smith hitting his thumb and the Indian captain took the catch in the gully was a testimony of his growing maturity in just 3 tests.  His 5fer turned out to be a match winning and series winning too performance.

Shardul Thakur

The Mumbaikar though debuted two years back bowled just 10 balls in that Test and was sidelined for 2 years in spite of his good performances in the domestic circuits.  As there were as many as 4 players were injured on the eve of the series decider at GABBA, 4 players available on the tour have to be drafted into the playing XI and thus Thakur made his come back into the Test side.

He immediately announced his arrival at GABBA with 7 wickets including the 4 wicket burst in the second innings.  He along with Siraj bowled out the Aussies for 295 runs in the second innings after the Aussies were making merry in the second innings of scoring nearly 4 runs an over.  In fact Thakur got the initial breakthrough claiming the wicket of Marcus Harris. And his all round abilities came to the fore when he along with another debutant Washington Sundar added a very crucial 123 runs for the 7th wicket and he top scored with 67 runs.

Washington Sundar

When the India’s ace off spinner R. Ashwin, who battled with injury saved the Test at SCG, was ruled out for the GABBA test, this young just 21 years old lad from Tamilnadu, debuted into this Test.  He claimed 3 wickets in the first innings on his debut.  The offie from TN also showed his batting prowess and played some attacking shots in the first innings and sharing an useful 123 runs partnership with Thakur.

T. Natarajan

Hailing from a rural hamlet from Tamilnadu who has started playing Cricket ball only in 2010.  He is famous for Yorkers.  His case is peculiar.  He was asked to join the Indian team to Australian tour in place of injured bowler Varun Chakravarthi for the T20 matches in Australia.  He made his international debut in the last ODI match of the 3 match series at Canberra and made impact with his fine left arm seam bowling.  And then into T20 matches where he did very well.  He travelled with Indian test team as a “net bowler “.   He played in place of India’s match winner, Bumrah, who was also injured  .Natts immediately staked his claim with a wonderful bowling performance in the GABBA Test with 3 wickets in the first innings. 

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