In no other sport other than cricket is uncertainty such a crucial component. In this article once again, we present some unexpected moments which came from the debutants! No wonder it is called a game of “glorious uncertainties”.
9th October is especially iconic in such a context in the cricket trivia. For, this date has given rise to some spectacular debut performances in cricket. With not much time to spare, let us look back at three of them.
1. Peter Petherick:
Petherick was a former off-spinner who played 6 Tests for New Zealand. He burst into scene, putting his name in record books in his first Test against Pakistan at Lahore (9th October 1976). A glorious 163 from Javed Miandad (a debutant also!) was brought to an end by Petherick. As the applause for the debutant calmed down, spectators were left dumbfounded as Petherick dismissed Wasim Raja and Intikhab Alam (all falling with 336 runs on board), hence completing a wonderful Test hattrick on debut! Only Maurice Allom, an Englishman, was there before; getting a Test hattrick on his debut.
The unfortunate part was that although he played 52 First Class matches (taking 189 wickets in the process) in his career, he played 6 Tests in total before quitting Test cricket (having picked up 16 Test wickets).
2. Javed Miandad:
Both Petherick and Miandad made their debut in the same Test match (Lahore, 1976). Described by Pakistan’s first Test captain Abdul Hafeez Kardar as “the find of the decade”, onus was on Miandad to deliver. Albeit a fine performance in a tour game for the Chief Minister’s XI, Miandad got selected into a heavy batting line up boasting the legendary Zaheer Abbas, Asif Iqbal, Mustaq Mohammad and Wasim Raja among others! Coming in to bat at a perilous situation of 4 wickets down for 55 runs only, with the iconic Abbas returning to the pavilion, Javed made full use of his chance. He played fearlessly, striking a wonderful partnership of 281 runs for the fifth wicket with Asif Iqbal.
In a great turn of events, the debutant centurion Miandad was dismissed by debutant spinner Peter Petherick, who would go on to get a hattrick. However, it was the Pakistani debutant who ended up on the winning side – even getting a wicket to his name bowling in the Kiwi’s second innings.
3. Damien Fleming:
Our third and last name is that of Damien Fleming, the former Australian pacer. Fleming holds an impressive record in both Tests and ODIs, and his beginning at the international level spoke volumes of that also.
In the 1994/95 tour of Pakistan by Australia, Fleming made his debut in the second Test at Rawalpindi. Australia had lost the first test by a very narrow margin at Lahore (Pakistan winning due to the last wicket stand) and so came out all guns blazing in the second Test. Having won the toss, Australia put up a mammoth total of 521 runs for the first innings. Fleming and Craig McDermott bowling in tandem restricted the hapless Pakistanis to a paltry 260 runs in comparison. Enforced to follow on by the Aussie skipper Mark Taylor, Pakistan put on a wonderful rear-guard action which lasted for more than two days to put up 537 runs. The stall being successful, the match ended as a draw; virtually a moral victory for the Pakistan team.
However, Fleming’s moment in record books came in that second innings Pakistani rear guard action only. He picked up Aamer Malik and Inzamam-ul-Haq in the last two deliveries of one of his overs: with Pakistan having 469 runs on board. He returned in his next over to send the defiant Saleem Malik back to the pavilion, whose epic 237 off 328 balls (with Shane Warne dropping him on 9 runs) sealed the draw for Pakistan. Had Fleming not got the hattrick, the woes may have been greater for Australia!
You can watch Fleming’s hat-trick video here.