M.A.CHIDAMBARAM STADIUM DEBUTANTS
At M.A.Chidambaram stadium, Chepauk, Chennai there were 31 players who made their debut in Tests from 1934 to Feb.2021.
Out of these 31, there were 20 Indians and 11 foreign players. Out of these 11 test players, 4 players were from West Indies, England 3, Australia 2 and Pakistan and Newzeland 1 player each.
From Yuvraj of Patiala to Axar Patel, some of the the debutants at M.A.C. served the game with distinction. Let’s see some of the players who left an imprint to the game of Cricket.
Yadavindra Singh:- Yadavindra Singh, Yuvraj of Patiala, Punjab from the Kingdom (who later on became Maharaja of Patiala) who played only one Test. Unlike his father Maharaja of Patiala, who was a philanthropist and donated Ranji Trophy, Yuvraj played cricket. He made his debut in 1934 when Test cricket was played here for the first time here at Madras Cricket Club ground ( later on M.A.C. Ground). He scored 24 & 60 runs in this 3rd Test of the series against the visiting England team, which England won by 202 runs. This was a 4 day Test. He also led India in an Unofficial Test against the visiting Australian team in 1935-36.
Yadavindrasingh served as President of British Indian Olympic Committee from 1938 to 1947, and played a stellar role in triggering the Asian Games. He was named President of BCCI.
Yadavindrasingh also served as Indian Ambassador to Italy in 1965 and 1966, and resigned to participate in the Assembly Elections of 1967. He won by a huge margin. He served as Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1971 to 1974.
Mohinder Amarnath :- Born in a cricketing family, Mohinder Amarnath Bhardwaj served the game with distinction. He played for Delhi team in the domestic circuit. Son of Lala Amarnath, who served the game in various capacities including Indian Test Captain, Selector etc.,
His siblings Surinder and Rajinder Amarnath have played cricket for Indian domestic cricket. In fact Surinder played for India in 10 Tests including a century on debut .
Mohinder is often referred to as Cricket’s Frank Sinatra ( a famous U.S. Pop singer)- “the Master of Comeback”.
He made his debut at this ground in 1969 against Australians in the 5th Test. Incidentally he also played his last Test here in 1988.
He played only oneTest on debut and was dropped after that. In fact he opened the Bowling attack with his gentle medium pace in both innings and took 2 wickets in the second innings and scored 16 runs on this debut test.
Unlike his father Lala and elder brother Surinder, Mohinder did not score a hundred on Test debut. He also sent down his innocuous medium-pacers, often opening bowling in the land of spinners, specialising in holding one end up as the strike bowlers operated from the other.
His roller-coaster career spanned over two decades beginning from 1969. He started his career as a suspect against short pitched bowling but finished it as one of the finest and bravest players of fast bowling.
He made a comeback in1976 after a gap of 7 years in New Zealand at Auckland along with his younger brother Surinder who debuted and scored a century.
He played 69 Test matches and scored 4398 runs and also captured 32 wickets . He scored 11 hundreds including 5 centuries in away series in Pakistan and West Indies. One almost lost count of the number of times he got hit, frequently on the head and with near fatal consequences. Yet, down the line he was hailed, based on one series, as the best player of fast bowling.
He also played 85 ODIs and scored 1924 runs with 2 centuries and captured 46 wickets.
He fearlessly hooked the fastest West Indian bowlers in their backyard, and hit a purple patch scoring nearly 600 runs in five Caribbean Tests at 66.44 in 1982-83. During that phase, Sunil Gavaskar even proclaimed him as the best batsman of the world. And within a year he came back to India to score one solitary run against the same set of bowlers in six innings, averaging 0.17. He rose again like a phoenix, as he had done throughout his career, almost recapturing his full glory. And yet again, in his final series in 1987-88, against the same old West Indian foes, he was little more than an abject embarrassment to himself and his fans.
Amarnath is almost synonymous in Indian cricket with guts and grit, spirit and spunk. He is also the face that appears with Kapil Dev, holding aloft the Prudential Cup — the tournament that changed Indian cricket forever. And he played a pivotal part in that triumph, with Man of the Match awards in both the semi-final and the final.
DILIP DOSHI :- The spectacled left arm orthodox spinner from Bengal made his debut at the age of 32 here and immediately struck with 5fer in the first innings of Australia in 1979, albeit the Test was Drawn. In fact he was the second leading wicket taker in the series with 27 scalps in his kitty.
He was quickest to claim 100 Test wickets in just 28 Tests. In all he played 33 Tests between 1979 & 1983. He took 5fer in 6 innings .
He also played 15 ODIs and took 22 wickets.
Sandeep Madhusudan Patil from Mumbai , a RH batter and seldom bowls right arm medium pace, made his debut here against Pakistan in 1980. He made just 15 runs in the only innings he played in the Test.
Next he toured Australia in 1980-81 and straightaway made his impact hitting a magnificent 174 runs against Dennis Lillee, Len Pascoe in the Adelaide Test, the 2nd Test of the series. In fact in the first Test at SCG he was hit by a searing bouncer from Len Pascoe and had to retire hurt.
He became famous overnight and started acting in commercial ‘ads’ endorsing products. But in his next 14 outings, he crossed 50 runs only twice showing his inconsistency. He made a great comeback( after being dropped) at Old Trafford, England in 1982 hitting a swashbuckling century. During this century knock, he hit 6 fours of a Bob Willis over.
In the 1983 World Cup in the semifinal against England he hit a whirlwind half century helping India to win the match.
His inconsistent form continued. Then he published his autobiography “Sandy Storm”. Then he hit a century against Pakistan at Faisalabad ( his last century). He played his last test at Delhi against England.
He started acting in Bollywood movies. Then he later became the Coach for Indian Men team & Chairman of Selection committee.
In the Test match at M.A.C. against the visiting West Indies team under Viv Richards in the 1987-88 series in the 4th Test of the series, there were 4 debutants including a West Indies player making their debut in Tests.
For India Narendra Hirwani, Ajay Sharma & W.V. Raman and for Windies Phil Simmons made their debut.
Narendra Hirwani, the leg spinner who played for M.P. made a sensational debut claiming 8 wickets in each innings (16 wickets in the match) in his first Test here at M.A.C. But he couldn’t perform consistently thereafter as he could get only 50 wickets in the rest of 16 tests he played. In ODIs he got 23 wickets in 12 matches.
W.V. Raman, who’s the local boy, made his debut in Tests at his home ground. A left handed batter and also bowls left arm spin scored 9 & 83 runs on debut. He toured West Indies, Newzeland and South Africa and in all played 11 tests and scored 448 runs including 5 half centuries with 96 as his HS in tests and also took 2 wickets.
He also played 27 ODIs and hit a Century against South Africa becoming first Indian to hit an ODI century against them. Later on , he coached the TN team and till recently coached Indian Women team.
Sadagopan Ramesh, another local boy, made his debut at his home ground. A flamboyant left hand batter first appeared in a Test in the 1999 series against Pakistan. In his debut test he scored 43 & 5 runs against Pakistan. Pakistan won this Test by just 12 runs in spite of Sachin Tendulkar’s brilliant century.
He went on to open the Innings in 19 Tests scored 1367 runs with 2 centuries and 8 fifties ( 1999-2001). He also played 24 ODIs and scored 646 runs with 5 half centuries.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
India’s search for a reliable wicket keeper for nearly 5 years was over when M.S. Dhoni arrived on the scene. Between 2000 & 2005 India saw 12 wicket keepers from M.S.K.Prasad to M.S. Dhoni.
M.S. Dhoni made his debut in Tests here at M.A.C. against Srilanka in 2005. He scored 30 runs on debut and went on to play 90 Tests creating history in Indian cricket and became an icon.
Dhoni’s rise is a rags-to-riches story and has been one of phenomenal success, punctuated by occasional blips in performance. Dhoni is the ideal icon for modern India. Aggression with decorum, mostly along with stardom and an apparent happy-go-lucky Midas touch. Dhoni is the perfect blend of a role model and pin-up star.
Dhoni took his father’s advice “ Don’t let the success get to your head and keep going”. A rather simple word of caution but not necessarily easy to execute. The Indian youth has grown to mock the word, but Dhoni has taken victories in his stride along with defeat and gave more importance to evaluation at a micro-level as a tool to pave the way forward with relative indifference to the results. Dhoni went on to become quintessential Captain Cool, arguably the world’s best finisher and one of the all time greats of Limited overs cricket.
Dhoni’s unenviable records speak about his qualities as a batsman, wicket keeper, Captain across formats in Indian cricket.
M.S. Dhoni played so many crucial knocks in Test cricket. His best Test innings as a batsman and captain came at Chennai in 2013 when he blasted his Test career best of 224 runs against the visiting Australians in the First Test of the series and also went on to win the series by 4-0 whitewashing the Aussies for the first time. Australia have never been whitewashed like this before.
M.S.Dhoni captained for the first time in tests in the 3rd Test of S.A. series at Kanpur in April 2008 and the Test ended in just 3 days with India winning by 8 wickets and the series 1-1 ( 3 test).
Out of the 60 tests as captain in Tests he won 27 tests a record for India at the time.\
In the 90 tests, he hit 4876 runs with ave 38.09 and SR 59.11 with 6 centuries and 33 fifties with 544 boundaries and 78 sixes and for wicket keeping his stats are : 256 catches and 38 stumpings.
M.S. Dhoni, former skipper showed us that you don’t always have to spoil your sleep by participating in the mad race of the competitive world of modern sports. He, rather, gave the sporting world an alternative model where you can achieve much more by having a philosophical view of sports in particular and life in general. In this alternative method., MSD not only thrived but also left a legacy for the next generation of sportsmen to come. MSD didn’t hanker after captaincy, it came to him as he was destined for it. But when it came, he handled it with utmost maturity and calmness without over fussing about it or without trying to cling on to it by any means. MSD didn’t come from big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata or Chennai but from an obscure town , Ranchi in Jharkhand in Indian cricket map and served the game with distinction.
GREAME SWANN ( 2008-13) an off spinner from Northamptonshire (England) made his Test debut here in 2008 when England was led by Kevin Pieterson. In the Debut test, he took 2 wickets in his first ever over in Tests though England lost the Test as Sachin Tendulkar hit a whirlwind century in a mammoth chase of 387 runs and India cruised home comfortably..
After a successful tour of West Indies (albeit in a losing cause) he played a key role in the 2009 Ashes victories at Lord’s and The Oval. Further incisive spells followed over the years to come: South Africa in Durban, Bangladesh in Chittagong, Pakistan at Edgbaston and Lord’s, Australia in Adelaide, Sri Lanka in Cardiff, India at The Oval, Sri Lanka in Colombo.
During the 2012 home season, Swann’s career hit a blip. And he was dropped from the Test. However, the following winter Swann was back to being a central figure, helping England to an historic series win in India, his alliance with Monty Panesar as they claimed 19 of the 20 wickets to fall representing one of the greatest spin-bowling double acts in England’s Test history.
A recurring elbow problem which has resulted in a surgery in early 2013 cut short his international career. Though he played Ashes series in 2013 he was not at his best and announced his retirement four days before the Boxing Day Test having lost the first 3 Tests in the Ashes series.
In his 60 Test career he took 255 wickets with 5fer 17 times and 10 wickets in a match 3 times. He was no rabbit with the bat as he hit 1370 runs with 5 half centuries. He was also a good fielder in slip position and took 52 catches.
Bhuvnesh Kumar born in Meerut (U.P.) , the right hand swing bowler made his debut here in 2013 against Aussies. Though he didn’t take any wickets, he helped M.S. Dhoni to complete his career best double century by adding 140 runs for the 9th wicket .
His defining moment came in England in 2014 series where in helping conditions at Lord’s he swung the ball both ways and took his career best 6 /82 in the first innings and helped India to win the Test at Lord’s and made his name in the Honours board at Lord’s. In fact he was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise wretched tour of England, taking 19 wickets at 26.63, an Indian record for most wickets against England in a Test series.
He was often plagued by injuries which denied him continuous appearances in International career.
He played 21 Tests so far and still continues to play in Tests besides being a regular member in ODI & T20Is. He took 63 wickets including four 5fers.
AXAR PATEL the tall and lanky left arm spinner from Gujarat rode into success straight away on his debut this year in February against England and as he steamrolled the English batsmen with his accurate tweaks in the second innings as he scalped 5 wickets and he along with R. Ashwin helped India to win the 2nd Test here. And he went on to claim a whopping 27 wickets in the series against England in 3 Tests.