Zim v Ind 2022: 3 India players who made their debut against Zimbabwe
The Indian Cricket Team will be touring Zimbabwe in August 2022, six years after the last bilateral arrangement between the two international teams. Despite the Men in Blue resting several key names for the upcoming Asia Cup, the squad appears quite competitive due to their recent policy of rest and rotation.
The three-match ODI series, sandwiched between two T20I commitments, will help both teams understand their respective combinations prior to the all-important ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. While Zimbabwe will also play the Cricket World Cup Qualifier prior to the ten-team showpiece event, India qualify automatically as hosts.
Given the composition of the Men in Blue squad, which has just six frontline batters, it is likely that at least one of Ruturaj Gaikwad or Rahul Tripathi will make their debut. Indian touring parties to Zimbabwe have in the past featured several first-time picks, some of whom went on to play consistently for the country.
On that note, here are three currently active Indian players who made their debut against Zimbabwe.
#3 Sanju Samson (T20I debut)
Kerala batter and Rajasthan Royals skipper in the IPL, Sanju Samson has been in and out of the Men in Blue's setup since his debut. The right-handed batter, who is now part of India's limited-overs plans on the back of some consistent performances in the IPL, was one of six players on the tour of Zimbabwe in 2015 to make a T20I debut for the visitors.
Batting at No. 7 in the second of two T20Is, Samson could not finish off the chase as the visitors fell short by 10 runs. The wicket-keeper batter made 19 off 24 balls as the team was dismantled by Graeme Cremer's economical 3-fer.
#2 Yuzvendra Chahal (ODI, T20I debut)
Although he was kept out of the Men in Blue's limited-overs setup for a while by spin-twins Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has become indispensable to the Indian team over the last few years. Picked after some consistent performances for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, Chahal has cemented his place as a limited-overs spinner in all conditions.
Under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, Chahal was one of three Indians to debut in the first ODI against Zimbabwe during the 2016 tour. He also made his T20I debut later in the same tour, notably bowling the last over of the deciding T20I of the series and sealing a win for the visitors.
#1 KL Rahul (ODI, T20I debut)
Having made a successful start to Test cricket for the Men in Blue in 2014, it took Karnataka batter KL Rahul two years to be capped across formats. When Rahul was picked, it was on the basis of a strong domestic record as well as some decent IPL numbers that were yet to become as imposing as they are now.
One of the three Indians to have a century in all three formats of the game, Rahul made a stunning start to ODI cricket with an unbeaten 100 off 115 balls in the first game of the tour. After bagging the Player of the Series award in his first limited-overs appearance, Rahul made his T20I debut on the tour and starred in a 10-wicket rout of the hosts in the second game.