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Indian cricket's test after the debut

Last updated on: September 23, 2010 09:58 IST

Pujara has the patience

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Cheteshwar Pujara is the latest player to make the cut in the India Test team.

Maybe, just reward for the consistency of a batsman often compared to Rahul Dravid.

The Saurashtra lad had a hugely successful stint in domestic cricket in the last few years, having aggregated 3925 runs in 49 matches, at an average of 60.38.

The 22-year-old captained India A on the recent tour of England and Scotland, during which he scored 776 runs in 10 matches

And a Test call was long overdue.

Whether he replicates his form (at domestic level) to the international level remains to be seen. His biggest challenge is proving his mettle in the longer version of the game and cementing his place in the squad.

We at rediff.com take the opportunity to have a look at the players who have received a Test call-up in the last few years and how they fared in Indian colours.

Statistics: Rajneesh Gupta


Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
Photographs: Haresh Pandya
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Two Tests and done... almost

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In domestic cricket, Ramesh Powar is a vital cog for any team he plays.

A key bowler as well as a dependable lower order batsman, Powar was instrumental in many significant wins at the domestic level.

Having made his Test debut against Bangladesh at Chittagong in May 2007, his final Test appearance came in the same tour, at Dhaka.

To give credit where it is due, his record in the two Tests he played is a good six wickets @ 19.66.

However, it will be a miracle if he gets another chance.

 


Image: Ramesh Powar

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Struggling for existence

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In three years, Ishant Sharma has seen everything -- from good to bad to worse.

Having been first drafted to the Test team in May 2007 for the Bangladesh tour as a replacement for Munaf Patel, Ishant played in the second Test, where he bowled only three overs without taking a wicket.

He got a call back in the third Test in Bangalore during Pakistan's tour, in December 2007, due to injuries to Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, and S Sreesanth and impressed by picking five wickets. This also ensured him a place in India's squad for the tour of Australia.

Ishant missed the opening Test, but impressed in the next two, troubling Ricky Ponting in particular.

The Australia captain's problem with the Delhi bowler continued when Australia toured India later that year.

However, it has gone from bad to worse for the youngster ever since. He has lost considerable pace and can no longer take his place in the side for granted, a luxury he could afford a couple of years back.


Image: Ishant Sharma

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So good, so far

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Amit Mishra's is a story of endless wait.

Drafted into the Indian squad for the Test against the West Indies in 2002, he never got a chance to play.

After six years of wait, he finally got his chance. A memorable debut at Mohali against Australia where he picked seven wickets in the match, coupled with an injury to Harbhajan Singh and the retirement of Anil Kumble, ensured he played in the next two Tests.

But a poor show against Sri Lanka at Motera last November saw him get dropped for the subsequent Tests.

He made a good comeback against Bangladesh, scoring 50 and taking seven wickets in the Chittagong Test.

His Test record thus far makes for a decent reading: 32 wickets in nine Tests @ 38.81.


Image: Amit Mishra

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A part of history... eh

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Success in the three editions of the Indian Premier League has ensured Pragyan Ojha enough attention that he could ever have imagined.

The left-arm spinner made his Test debut against Sri Lanka last November 2009, in what tuned out to be India's 100th Test win, and ended up taking four wickets.

He took five wickets in the third Test in another innings win for India.

However, despite taking nine wickets at 28.66 in two Tests, he was dropped for the tour to Bangladesh.

Ojha though claimed his place in Test history, albeit an unwanted one, when he became the 800th and final Test victim of Muttiah Muralitharan, the highest wicket taker in Test history.


Image: Pragyan Ojha

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An interesting prospect

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A huge success at the domestic level, Murali Vijay made his Test debut against Australia in the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, in Nagpur, in November 2008, as a replacement for Gautam Gambhir, who was facing a one-Test ban.

The Tamil Nadu opener scored 33 and 41, while contributing to opening stands of 98 and 116, but couldn't hold on to his place in the side.

However, in December last year, he was given another opportunity when Gambhir withdrew from the third Test against Sri Lanka at Brabourne stadium.

Vijay grabbed the opportunity with both hands, scoring 87 and putting on 221 for the first wicket with Virender Sehwag.

An interesting prospect.


Image: Murali Vijay

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A late debutant

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He might as well have been the best player never to have played Test cricket.

However, after years of wait and consistent performances at the domestic level, Badrinath finally made his debut against South Africa at Nagpur.

He was 29 when he made his debut.

He did decently well, but will still have to struggle to fit into the team.


Image: S Badrinath

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When fortune smiled, and subsequently frowned

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A pure case of lady luck smiling on someone.

Wridhimann Saha, included in the squad as a reserve wicketkeeper in place of Dinesh Karthik for the home series against South Africa, was handed a surprise Test debut at Nagpur.

VVS Laxman's failure to recover from injury and reserve batsman Rohit Sharma's injury during warm-up, ensured Saha had to play the Test as a specialist batsman.

He scored a duck in the first innings and a laboured 36 in the second, having survived a bat-pad appeal as replays clearly indicated an inside edge -- when on his pair.

He was subsequently dropped and it is highly unlikely that he will make a comeback.


Image: Wridhimann Saha

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Four wickets in maiden Test... only if

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Four wickets in a maiden Test is no mean an achievement.

And if it happens on an away tour, it is even better.

Abhimanyu Mithun, playing in his first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle, achieved the feat.

Only if India had won.


Image: Abhimanyu Mithun

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A memorable debut for sure

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When Suresh Raina made his Test debut, against Sri Lanka at the SSC in July, he broke Andrew Symonds's record of having played most ODIs before playing in a Test.

Raina, a member of the Indian team for ODIs since July 2005, had been part of the Indian Test squad at various stages, but was yet to play a Test.

However, an injury to Yuvraj Singh ensured him that opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands, joining the select band of players to have scored a century on debut.

At the SSC, when Sri Lanka declared at 642 for four, it seemed an uphill task for India.

It was only when Raina came in to join Sachin Tendulkar (at 241 for four) that India could breathe a sigh of relief. The duo put on a double century partnership and Raina had done enough to retain his place in the squad.


Image: Suresh Raina

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