India on Friday fielded five debutants in a One-day International (ODI) for the first time in over 40 years. Sanju Samson, Nitish Rana, Chetan Sakariya, Krishnappa Gowtham and Rahul Chahar got their ODI caps at the R Premadasa Stadium in the inconsequential third ODI against Sri Lanka.
The Indians have already sealed the series by winning the first two ODIs and coach Rahul Dravid decided to experiment in the final match.
While wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson and leg-spinner Rahul Chahar have already represented India in the T20 format, batsman Rana, spin-bowling all-rounder Gowtham and left-arm seamer Sakariya are playing for India for the first time in any format.
The last time the Indian team featured these many first-timers was back in December, 1980 against Australia in Melbourne.
Kirti Azad, Sandeep Patil, Roger Binny, Dilip Doshi and Tirumalai Srinivasan were given their ODI caps on December 6, 1980 against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Since there was no T20 cricket back then, it was the first time all five had donned India colours in international cricket.
Quite unsurprisingly, Indians lost that match by 66 runs after folding for just 142 in response to 208/9 made by Australia.
Despite the massive loss in that match, India took back a few positives.
Sandeep Patil, who was one of the debutants, earned the man-of-the-match award scoring 64 off 70 deliveries.
All-rounders Azad and Binny as well as Patil were part of the squad that lifted the 1983 World Cup trophy.
Left-arm spinner Dilip Doshi too played plenty of cricket for India, representing the country in 33 Tests and 15 ODIs.