After Shubman Gill and fast bowler Mohammed Siraj made Test debut against Australia in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground here on Saturday, it was the first time in seven years — since November 2013 — that India fielded two debutants in the same match. But it was not before both the players were handed their caps by a team member — Gill was given a cap by coach Ravi Shastri while R Ahsiwn presented the cap to Siraj.
Ashwin also gave a little speech motivating the youngster.
He battled personal tragedy, fought adversity and is now rewarded with India's Test no. 298. Congratulations Mohammed Siraj. Go seize the day! #TeamIndia #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/D48TUJ4txp— BCCI (@BCCI) December 25, 2020
The moment when your dreams come true. No better stage than the Boxing Day Test to make your maiden Test appearance. @RealShubmanGill is now the proud holder of India's Test cap No. 297. #TeamIndia #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/G0kdE9TgNU— BCCI (@BCCI) December 25, 2020
Interestingly, the last time India handed Test caps to two players, they were also a fast bowler and a batsman. It was in the first of a two-match Test series between India and West Indies when the hosts Rohit Sharma, who was by then a seasoned campaigner in limited overs, and pacer Mohammed Shami made Test debut.
Shami had made his international debut in January that year in an ODI against Pakistan in New Delhi. He has since gone on to become a mainstay in the Indian bowling lineup, picking up 180 wickets in 50 Test matches and the injury that he sustained during the first Test last week in in Adelaide, ruling him out for the rest of the series, led to Siraj being selected for the Boxing Day Test.
Rohit, meanwhile, is expected to take his place at the top of the order for India in the third Test after he is done with self isolation in Australia. While he is recognised as one of the best batsmen in the world in limited overs cricket, he had been unable to establish himself in Test matches until India’s 2019 series against South Africa, when he opened for the first time in his career and smashed 529 runs in just four innings.