This article explores in brief, the careers of those bowlers who, on Test debut, claimed Sachin Tendulkar as their maiden wicket. There are 10 such bowlers (not including Hansie Cronje, who claimed Sachin as his first Test wicket, but not on debut) who could exult in joy at claiming the wicket of arguably the best batsman of their generation. However, in what must be an eerie coincidence, only 3 out of these 10 bowlers played more than 13 Tests in their career; of the rest, 5 played less than 10 Tests, with 3 only playing a single Test. While it is debatable if the feat is boon or a curse, let us explore in a bit more detail the story of these 10 men.
#1 Ruwan Kalpage (Sri Lanka)
Ruwan Kalpage, hailed primarily as an ODI specialist, played his first Test match against India in August 1993, at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo. Coming on to bowl as the sixth bowler in the Indian first innings, Kalpage snared Tendulkar on 28, caught by Hashan Tillakaratne. India ensured a solid first innings total of 366, of which 125 runs came from the blade of Vinod Kambli, who was enjoying his brief, but scintillating, Test cricket form at the beginning of his career.
Tendulkar bounced back to score a century in the second innings, and an 8 wicket burst by a young Anil Kumble, including a 5-wicket haul in the first innings, guided India to their only ‘away’ Test victory during the entire decade, and their first series victory over the island nation away from home.
Kalpage could not establish himself as either a specialist batsman or bowler, coming across more as a pseudo all-rounder, very useful in ODIs, but with limited application in Tests. He lost his place in the Test side after 1994, and though he staged a return in 1997, played just 3 more Tests over the next 2 years. Kalpage ended his Test career with 11 matches, in which he scored 774 runs and picked 12 wickets.