From Amar Singh to K S Bharat: Only cricketer who made debut across all formats on same tour

From Amar Singh to K S Bharat: Only cricketer who made debut across all formats on same tour

Thangarasu Natarajan also had the distinction of being the 300th Test player for the national cricket team

India's cricket tour of Australia during 2020-21 will not just be remembered for the aggressive manner in which the Test matches were played. It will also be recalled fondly by one player as it will be a memorable one for Thangarasu Natarajan, who made his debut across all the three formats of the game in that series, the first Indian player to have done so. He also had the distinction of being the 300th Test player for the national cricket team. India had won the 4- match series 2-1, which was played after the ODIs and the T20 games were completed.

Having entered the game in the era when the T20 format was the most appealing, it was not a surprise that Natarajan had already begun rubbing shoulders with the greats of the game when he was picked up for Kings XI Punjab IPL team in 2017 followed by Sunrisers Hyderabad a year later, where he continues to play even now. He also is credited to have dismissed Virat Kohli for his first wicket in the Premier League matches, after being reputed as a 'yorker master'.

That was during the IPL 2020 series and very interestingly, he received the Test cap from none other than King Kohli himself during the Down Under tour at Canberra. This has been the only match he has played till date, having taken three wickets for 78 runs. It was also the fourth and final of the series, which India won by three wickets.

It is worthwhile to track the pace at which the induction of test cricketers has taken place from the first to the 300th, a fascinating study at best. Of course, the World War which took place from 1939-1945 had impacted the game of cricket too, given that the countries were playing war games then.

Yet for India, it took nearly 30 years, from 1932 to 1961 to move from player number one to 100. The country played 71 matches in this period.

From player number 101 to 200, the journey saw 215 matches being played and it took 20 years from 1961. This was the growth phase of Indian test cricket which saw the rise and rise of its stars like Sunil Gavaskar who are still around in the cricket world, as commentators and domain experts.

By the time, Natarajan came into the scene in Australia, from 1994-2021, 26 years had elapsed and the tally of Test matches for the country moved from 286 to 546, an addition of 260 more matches to its tally.

Quite clearly, the journey had taken a longer time while the number of matches played in that phase was at around 10/year, like the earlier 100. This could be because there were players who were staying the course longer and also that our form of playing Test cricket was attaining a critical level of success, which made team managements hesitant to disturb winning combinations.

Among all these statistical highlights, what has stood out for India as it moves to its centenary year in cricket is that it has freed the game from restricting cliques and caste hierarchies and made it more liberal, egalitarian and spread across its impressive landscape. This goes for everything in the country which was under exclusive preserves in these last seven to eight decades, be it education, entertainment or politics.

In the current year, with an impressive 16th series win on the trot and earning a slot to compete once again in the finals of the second World Test Championship, India has notched up envious records.

It only goes to prove that the long standing format of the gentleman's game still has takers and vociferous support all over. To wind up, India has capped 305 players from Amar Singh to K S Bharat, and has in all played 569 matches as on March 13, 2023.


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