India to field 2 debutants in a Test for first time in 7 years

When batsman Shubman Gill and fast bowler Mohammed Siraj will make their Test debut against Australia in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground here on Saturday, it will be the first time in seven years — since November 2013 — that India would field two debutants in the same match.

Interestingly, the last time India handed Test caps to two players, they were also a fast bowler and a batsman. It was in the first of a two-match Test series between India and West Indies when the hosts Rohit Sharma, who was by then a seasoned campaigner in limited overs, and pacer Mohammed Shami made Test debut.

Shami had made his international debut in January that year in an ODI against Pakistan in New Delhi. He has since gone on to become a mainstay in the Indian bowling lineup, picking up 180 wickets in 50 Test matches and the injury that he sustained during the first Test last week in in Adelaide, ruling him out for the rest of the series, led to Siraj being selected for the Boxing Day Test.

Rohit, meanwhile, is expected to take his place at the top of the order for India in the third Test after he is done with self-isolation in Australia. While he is recognized as one of the best batsmen in the world in limited-overs cricket, he had been unable to establish himself in Test matches until India’s 2019 series against South Africa, when he opened for the first time in his career and smashed 529 runs in just four innings.