It’s a euphoric feat to hit up a hundred on the first appearance in the showpiece event. Some have even set records in their maiden innings. Millions of eyes are focussed on this biggest event in One-day cricket. Every player is on edge to put his best foot forward as he steps into the arena for the first time. Nerves are jangling, there is excitement within no matter how much international cricket one may have played. There have been some experienced players appearing in the World Cup for the first time, while others have made their debut on the world stage.
16 batsmen have scored hundreds on ICC Cricket World Cup debut. New Zealand skipper Glenn Turner scored an unbeaten 171 against minnows East Africa, and England’s opener Dennis Amiss hit 137 off the Indian bowling, on the first day of the tournament, 7th June 1975. Turner’s score remained highest in the mega event until Kapil Dev’s 175 not out in the rescue act against Zimbabwe in 1983. No hundred was scored by any debutant batsman in 1979.
Allan Lamb of England struck the Kiwi bowlers for 102 in 1983. The youngest of the Aussie Chappell brothers, Trevor, scored 110 versus India on his first appearance in the World Cup.
There were lone centuries on World Cup debut in 1987 and 1992. Australian vice-captain Geoff Marsh emulated Trevor Chappell by scoring 110, also against India, in that nail-biting one-run victory in 1987. Zimbabwe made their debut in the 1992 World Cup, and left-handed Andy Flower carved out an undefeated 115 in their first match, a high-scoring thriller against Sri Lanka.
In 1996, New Zealand’s Nathan Astle began his roller-coaster World Cup foray with 101 off the English. Proteas southpaw Gary Kirsten feasted on the amateur United Arab Emirates trundlers, hitting up the top World Cup score, an unbeaten 188, eclipsing the great Vivian Richards’ record set in 1987.
After a lull in 1999, the 2003 tournament saw three hundreds, the joint-highest in any World Cup. Big-hitting Zimbabwean Craig Wishart smashed 172 not out against neighbours Namibia. New Zealand’s Scott Styris hit a brilliant 141 versus Sri Lanka. The maverick Andrew Symonds finally realized his potential with a brutal unbeaten 143 as he rescued Australia after inroads by the Pakistani pacers.
The 2007 and 2011 tournaments saw just one hundred each on debut. Ireland’s Jeremy Bray scored 115 not out against Zimbabwe when the World Cup was hosted for the first time in the Caribbean Islands in 2007. Four years later, current Indian captain Virat Kohli hit an unbeaten 100 in India’s opening encounter with Bangladesh.
There was a spate of World Cup hundreds on debut in 2015. Aaron Finch, now Australian captain, hit 135 against old rivals England. The hard-hitting South African David Miller smashed the Zimbabweans for an unbeaten 138. Lendl Simmons of the West Indies ran up 102 off the Irish.
Here is the complete list of hundreds on World Cup debut
Glenn Turner 171*, New Zealand v East Africa, Birmingham, 1975
Dennis Amiss 137, England v India, Lord’s, 1975
Allan Lamb 102, England v New Zealand, The Oval, 1983
Trevor Chappell 110, Australia v India, Nottingham, 1983
Geoff Marsh 110, Australia v India, Madras, 1987
Andy Flower 115*, Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka, New Plymouth, 1992
Nathan Astle 101, New Zealand v England, Ahmedabad, 1996
Gary Kirsten 188*, South Africa v UAE, Rawalpindi, 1996
Craig Wishart 172*, Zimbabwe v Namibia, Harare, 2003
Scott Styris 141, New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Bloemfontein, 2003
Andrew Symonds 143*, Australia v Pakistan, Johannesburg, 2003
Jeremy Bray 115*, Ireland v Zimbabwe, Kingston, 2007
Virat Kohli 100*, India v Bangladesh, Dhaka, 2011
Aaron Finch 135, Australia v England, Melbourne, 2015
David Miller 138*, South Africa v Zimbabwe, Hamilton, 2015
Lendl Simmons 102, West Indies v Ireland, Nelson, 2015
Also read - World cup hat-tricks