You always remember your firsts – be it a car, smartphone or relationship. Playing the first game for your national side is also an occasion you’ll never forget. Most of us can only dream of stepping on to the field to represent our country.
That emotional feeling may be just around the corner for five cricketers during India’s tour of Australia. The four-Test series begins on 17 December.
India will make room for two pacers and a batsman, while the Aussie camp is ready to cap a bowler and an all-rounder. Here are five players we feel are worthy to make their debut in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Mitchell Swepson (Australia)
Queensland leggie Mitchell Swepson made his first-class debut for a Cricket Australia XI against the New Zealanders at Sydney in 2015.
Despite not bowling in the game, the 27-year-old has had a good run with the ball since. He has picked up 140 wickets at an average of 33.95.
The highlights of his first-class career are eight four-wicket hauls, four five-wicket hauls, and one ten-wicket haul (Cricinfo).
Swepson’s dream debut would be at Adelaide, where he got his ten-wicket haul. If he gets his chance, the Queenslander will hope to repeat the magic.
Michael Neser (Australia)
Another experienced Queenslander, the 30-year-old pacer is a seasoned player. Having played 59 first-class games, Michael Neser has picked up 195 wickets at an impressive average of 25.74. He boasts seven four-wicket hauls and four five-wicket hauls.
As an added bonus, Neser has scored 1,936 runs at an average of 25.47, including 11 fifties and one century (Cricinfo). He would be a great addition to the already dominant Aussie pace attack and strengthen their lower batting order.
Shubman Gill (India)
Shubman Gill’s class and flamboyance have become evident in the past couple of years. The 21-year-old has an exciting average of 68.78 in first-class cricket.
Meanwhile, in the IPL he has evolved as a batsman who knows how to score quickly when he needs to. The Punjab talent scored 203 runs in IPL 2018, 296 a year later and topped it off with 496 runs in the 2020 edition (Howstat).
It will be interesting to see the effect India U19 coach Rahul Dravid’s influence will have on Gill in the longest format.
Navdeep Saini (India)
Navdeep Saini is one of the few pacers from India who can consistently bowl at 145km/h. Hence, he will play a crucial role in Australia alongside Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami if he is selected.
The Delhi pacer’s 128 wickets at an average of 28.46 is an impressive feat. The 28-year-old has managed to bag four four-wicket hauls and five five-wicket hauls (Cricinfo). The longest format will test his mental abilities with Australia notorious for their ability to get under a player’s skin.
Mohammed Siraj (India)
If there is an epitome of a cricketing rags to riches story, it has to be Mohammed Siraj. Despite his humble beginnings, Siraj has managed to turn the odds in his favour.
His contributions in first-class cricket bagged him an IPL contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore. Subsequently, he made it to India’s ODI side.
After the 26-year-old sadly lost his father recently, we wish Siraj the best for his expected Test debut.