When the Indian cricket team playing 11 were announced, the list actually included three ‘debutants’. These players were all playing their first Test, in India that is. Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar and Jasprit Bumrah were all playing their first Tests in India. While Shubman Gill and Washington Sundar had made their Test debuts in Australia, with Shubman Gill having made his ODI debut in New Zealand, Jasprit Bumrah was playing his first game in India after 17 Tests. Jasprit Bumrah had made his Test debut overseas and after successful Tests in South Africa, England, West Indies and Australia, Jasprit Bumrah has finally gotten the opportunity to play in India.
However, his debut Test in India could have gotten off to a fairytale start only for Rishabh Pant to spoil it. In his first ball in Tests in India, Jasprit Bumrah bowled a full ball on leg stump as Rory Burns shuffled to the offside and looked to glance it to fine leg. The ball hit the bat and Rishabh Pant dived to his right. However, the ball dipped and it could not stick in the gloves of Rishabh Pant as he put down a rather tough chance. Thus, Jasprit Bumrah missed the chance to take a wicket with his first ball in Tests in India.
Jasprit Bumrah’s 17-Test wait before playing his first Test at home is the longest for an Indian bowler. Javagal Srinath played 12 overseas Tests before playing in his first game at home while RP Singh played 11 Tests away. Sachin Tendulkar and Ashish Nehra played their first 10 Tests away before getting a chance to feature in a match at home.
Finally, a debut on home soil
Jasprit Bumrah impressed in the series in South Africa, Australia, England and the West Indies in which he took a five-wicket haul in all the tours and helped India win Tests. His five-wicket haul in Johannesburg, Trent Bridge, Melbourne and Jamaica all helped India win matches consistently. The match haul of 6/33 in Melbourne in 2018 helped India win a Boxing Day Test for the first time after 37 years. In Jamaica, he took a hat-trick and he became the third Indian bowler after Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan to take a hat-trick in Tests.
However, following the West Indies series, Jasprit Bumrah suffered a stress fracture on the back which ruled him out of the series against South Africa and Bangladesh. Bumrah has been plagued with injuries in the past, with a thumb injury ruling him out for a portion of the England series in 2018. In 2020, Jasprit Bumrah missed the Brisbane Test due to a side strain but he recovered in time to feature in the Chennai Test.
The first Test in Chennai will be played behind closed doors while it is expected that 50 percent attendance will be there for the second Test at the same venue starting on February 13.