5 Indian cricketers who flopped on their debut
The Indian cricket team has grown in leaps and bounds over the last two decades. A large part of this can be attributed to MS Dhoni, who took over the reins of a team that often looked vulnerable against strong teams like Australia and South Africa.
Under the enigmatic gloveman, the Men in Blue won the T20 World Cup in 2007, the 50-over World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy in 2013.
Understandably, a team as strong as India will require players to push themselves to earn a spot in the squad.
While the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah have cemented their places in the team, things weren't as easy early on in their careers.
With that in mind, let's take a look at five Indian cricketers who flopped on their debut.
#1 MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni is undoubtedly one of the best ever to play the sport. With 10773 runs at a healthy average of 50.57, Dhoni retired as one of the most successful finishers in ODIs.
The former Indian skipper, however, made a forgettable debut in 2004 against Bangladesh as he was dismissed for a golden duck. The right-handed batter came in to bat with the Men in Blue five down for 180 in 41.4 overs.
Dhoni flicked Mohammed Rafique towards square leg and sprinted down the track for a single. As luck would have it, Mohammed Kaif was a bit late in refusing the single, catching the debutant in the middle of nowhere. Dhoni failed to make his way back to the crease and was run out by Khaled Mashud for a duck.
#2 Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli burst onto the scene after he led the India U19 team to glory at the World Cup in 2008. The same year, he also made his ODI debut for the senior team against Sri Lanka in Dambulla.
The right-handed batter opened the innings alongside Gautam Gambhir but managed to score a mere 12 runs off 22 balls. The Delhi cricketer was challenged by Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Kulasekara.
Although he hit one of his trademark flick shots for a boundary, he was trapped leg before by Kulasekara soon after, bringing his innings to an end.
#3 Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly remains one of the most popular names in Indian cricket for his exploits as a skipper. The southpaw was known for his never-give-up attitude and led his side to the finals of the 2003 ODI World Cup.
As impressive as his numbers are in international cricket, Ganguly didn't have an ideal start to his career. He made his debut in 1992 in an ODI against West Indies at the Gabba and was dismissed for a paltry score of three runs.
His next international game came almost four years later in 1996 against England in Manchester.
#4 Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan has been one of the chief reasons behind India's dominance in some of the recent ICC tournaments. The swashbuckler has over 6000 runs under his belt at an average of 45.18 in ODIs, including 17 centuries.
However, his limited-overs debut wasn't as glittery as his current stats. Dhawan made his 50-overs debut in 2010 against Australia in Vishakhapatnam. The southpaw opened the batting alongside Murali Vijay, with a challenging target of 290 runs to chase.
Unfortunately, he failed to make an impression and was cleaned up by Clint McKay for a duck on the second ball of the innings.
#5 Umran Malik
Indian speedster Umran Malik became the talk of the town after his fiery spells in the last season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The youngster impressed everyone with his ability to consistently clock 150 kmph while playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and soon received his T20I cap.
The right-arm fast bowler made his T20I debut against Ireland in June but made no meaningful contribution to the game. He got to bowl just one over and was hit for 14 runs in a match that was curtailed to 12 overs a side after heavy rain.