Star cricketers who made their international debuts together

Cronje and Rhodes
Rhodes and Cronje were integral to SA’s success in the 90s

Sachin Tendulkar and Waqar Younis, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid are just two examples of great cricketers who made their Test debuts together. But both pairs didn't make their international debuts together as one of the two had already played in another format before.

While there have been many players who have made their international debuts together, not all of them have been able to remain successful for any length of time. But there have been a few who have beaten the odds and become successful cricketers.

So here are star cricketers who made their international debut together:

5) Hansie Cronje and Jonty Rhodes

Being a revolutionary in a game that is constantly evolving is not easy but that is precisely what Jonty Rhodes did to the art of fielding. Not only did he elevate it to another level but he set standards that even some modern fielders with all the help of sports science can only dream of matching. And it was a career that all started alongside one of South Africa's finest captains, Hansie Cronje.

Although neither Rhodes nor Cronje had much to do with South Africa's upset nine-wicket victory over Australia in the 1992 World Cup game that they debuted in, they would go on to contribute greatly to the Proteas cause in the years that followed.

While Rhodes was busy revolutionizing the art of the fielding, while also being a more than competent middle-order batsman, Cronje was busy masterminding wins, including becoming the first captain since W.G Grace to win a three-match Test series after being one down. Although Cronje's career would end in tears after the match fixing scandal, his career before that shouldn't be forgotten.

4) Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott and Jim Laker

Weekes and Walcott
From Right to Left (Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes and Frank Worrell)

If West Indies cricket is where it is now, it owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Three Ws - Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Everton Weekes. On 21 January 1948, two of three Ws, Weekes and Walcott, made their Test debuts together against England in Bridgetown.

Although neither managed to make an especially noteworthy first impression, they would go on to become the pillars of the West Indian batting line-up. Their numbers are simply ridiculous. Both averaged in excess of 56 and of players who played at least 40 Tests, only nine others can call this among one of their achievements.

Almost forgotten amidst the two Ws is another player, who made his debut in the same game. Jim Laker went on to become the first bowler to take all 10 wickets in an innings in a Test, with only one other bowler, equalling that feat since then. And he showed a glimpse of his talent at the very beginning as he picked up seven wickets in the first innings of his first Test.

While neither Walcott, Weekes or Laker played over 50 Tests, their contribution to cricket will never be forgotten.

3) Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan

Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh

Two of India's most successful cricketers of this millennium made their debut in the same match. When India took on Kenya in the 1st preliminary quarter final of the ICC KnockOut Trophy, Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh were making their international debuts. While Zaheer was the most successful bowler on the day with three wickets, Yuvraj was but a spectator.

For the rest of their respective careers, the roles were largely reversed. While the southpaw was busy decimating bowling attacks, Zaheer went about his work with great precision and almost under the radar. Despite picking up over 600 international wickets across all three formats and coming back from various injuries, he remains one of India's most under-rated bowlers.

Yuvraj's career has been one that is littered with personal and team glory. He has won the ICC Champions Trophy, ICC Cricket World Cup, World T20 and even completed his maiden IPL victory with Sunrisers Hyderabad. On a personal front, he has hit six sixes in an over in a World T20 while also holding the record for fastest T20 fifty.

2) Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge

Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge
Viv Richards (L) and Gordon Greenidge (R)

One half of one of the most prolific opening partnerships of all-time, Gordon Greenidge started his international career along with one of the most destructive batsmen to have ever played the game, Sir Viv Richards. While both batsmen were part of a West Indies side that beat India in the first of the five-match Test series in Bangalore, they had contrasting starts to their career.

While Greenidge began with a 93 in the first innings and a century in the second, Viv finished with 4 and 3 in both innings. But at the end of their respective careers, there can be little doubt as to who finished as the better batsman. Although Greenidge remains one of the best openers to have ever played the game, Richards created doubts in the minds of the bowler unlike any other batsman of his era.

The sheer swagger and the way he carried himself made him one of the greatest batsmen to have played the game and the records reflect that. Nearly 7,000 ODI runs at an average of 47 and strike rate in excess of 90 in the 1970s and 1980s, when bowlers reigned supreme shows his class and so does an average of over 50 and 8,540 runs in 121 Tests.

While Greenidge was technically sublime, Richards could intimidate unlike any other and the pair were part of one of the golden eras of West Indian cricket.

1) Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers

AB and Steyn
AB and Steyn started together in 2004

Ask anyone who South Africa's best batsman and bowler over the last decade have been and the answers would be unanimous. AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn have been the leader of the batting and bowling attack for the Proteas for some time now, but not many realise that their career was one that started together, back in 2004 against England.

Although neither AB nor Steyn had a particular noteworthy debut in the loss against England in Port Elizabeth, since then, both have firmly etched their names into the record books as two of the finest cricketers to have ever played the game.

If AB is Mr. 360, who bowlers dread bowling to, then Steyn is a fast bowling machine who has shown levels of consistency that was unheard of in cricket hitherto. With his ability to hit the ball around the park and over the ropes, AB has tilted the balance towards the bat, while the fast bowler has been fighting a lone hand on pitches that offer little assistance but has still managed to come out on top.

Edited by Staff Editor


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