As the famous adage goes, ‘well begun is half done’. Upon toiling long and hard in those formative years, a cricketer’s dream comes true whe he receives his maiden Test cap and steps into the field with the incomparable feeling of representing his country at the highest level of the game. When the debut does not go down well, not only are the emotions shattered but the belief within begins to dissipate too.
Fret not, there have been numerous players who managed to overcome poor Test debuts and went on forge indelible careers. In this segment, we revisit the not-so-memorable starting points of some of England cricket’s exalted names.
#5 – Graeme Swann (Chennai, 2008)
Graeme Swann’s name in this exclusive list could raise a few eyebrows – Did he do enough to be tagged as a ‘legendary cricketer’ and was his debut poor enough to be slotted into the ‘forgettable’ category?
Apart from being the second highest wicket-taker among all England spinners, he also played a key role in helping them secure historic away series victories in challenging places like Australia (2010/11) and India (2012).
Considering the fact he possessed almost ten years of County debut at the time of his Test debut and what was to follow in its aftermath, Swann’s entry was below par by all means. On a rank turner in Chennai, the off-spinner failed to prevent India from hunting down a massive fourth-innings target of 387 which remains the highest ever chase on Asian soil.
Performance on Test debut – 2/42 from 10 overs & 2/103 from 28.3 overs
Overall career – 255 wickets from 60 matches at an average of 29.96 with 17 five-wicket hauls and 3 ten-wicket hauls