If someone asks what it means to win against all the odds, they need to see the incredible performances displayed by the men's Indian cricket team in the last four months. They were absolutely like the phoenix - rising from the ashes. They won the historic Test series in Australia against one of the top sides being the visitors. Following, the Men in Blue came back to defeat the No.1 team English men in all three formats.
There were many new and uniques happenings that took place in both these tours be it the records, performances, or players. However, what stood out were the rising stars who lived up to the expectations in the last 120 days. It is probably the first time that so many debutants marked their presence in the Indian team. It was the never-seen-before scenario in India's cricket history.
The 21-year-old made his debut when India was struggling with both - form and injuries. However, the young lad at MCG had scored a crucial 45 in the first innings facing the world-class trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. Later, smashing a significant half-century and providing a crucial opening partnership for the team's sake made him an unsung hero in the Australia Test series.
Later, he even scored a stedy 91-run knock. In Ind vs Eng, he registered a fifty in the second innings of the series opener against England in Chennai. Being a young kid, he held on to nerves and left a mark to make his place in the playing XI.
From his father's death to facing racial abuse, he was not intimidated to face the challenges posed in Australia Test series. He made his debut in the second Test against Australia. Surprisingly, he went to lead the pace attack by the end of the tour, taking a five-for in Brisbane.
After five Tests, he averages 28.25, taking 16 wickets so far. His consistency with pace was the quality that made him special and fit into any shape when India did not any senior fast bowlers in the team.
This was an absolute surprise! Before the Australia series, he was not even named in the squad but due to an injury of another player, he was able to make his debut in all three formats. His bowling in the death overs and those unbelievable yorkers is what stood out. In the white-ball cricket, he picked eight wickets in four games.
Bio-bubble restrictions and injuries to fast bowlers handed him a Test cap as well, and he delivered with three wickets in the historic win in Brisbane.
The most balanced player who emerged in the Down Under series was Washington Sundar. He was good with both bat and bowl. He was fearless and at the same time, he was a responsible player. He was also one of them who got the chance to play due to injuries and bio-bubble restrictions.
He picked up four wickets and a half-century to play a key role in India ending Australia's 'Gabba' dominance. He then played three Tests against England, scoring an unbeaten 85 on a tricky Chennai surface and then an unbeaten 96 in the final Ahmedabad Test. In six innings, he averages 66.25 with the bat.
No one would have expected such a spectacular show by the Gujarati player in England Test series! With 27 wickets in his first three Tests at an average of 10.59 in his pocket, Patel made one of the best debut by any bowler in the longest format.
Had it not be an injury in the first Test, he would have soared much higher than this performance. However, with two Tests in his hand, he then made full use of his opportunity through Tests two to four. His performance was so good that it will put the selectors in the dilemma of whom to choose Jadeja or Akshar
What most of the Indian fans wanted happening in the T20I series against England - the debut of Ishan Kishan. As R. Sharma and Dhawan were not part of the playing XI in the second T20I against England, he ended up with a Player-of-the-Match performance. He hit five fours and four sixes in a 32-ball 56 runs.
It should e noted that he came onto the crease when India had lost the series opener and his opening partner KL Rahul was out for a duck in the first over. Though further, he was not given a chance, he showed that he is here to stand and deliver. He is also being seen as a potential player. This comes as he is also one of India's X-factors for the upcoming T20 World Cup at home later this year.
On his maiden batting innings, he hammered a 31-ball 57 when the top order - Sharma, Rahul, and Virat Kohli - failed. He even bagged the Player-of-the-Match award. In the series decider, he showed a lot of clarity in his choice of shots while scoring a 17-ball 32.
Prasidh Krishna and Krunal Pandya
India was trying new combinations throughout the England series. So, came the other set debutants - Prasidh and Krunal. On an emotional ODI debut, he came in to bat in the 41st over and went played what was exactly expected from his - smashing an unbeaten 31-ball 58.
Besides, Krishna took 4 for 54 to hand India a come-from-behind victory on his ODI debut. Though he did not start off well, however, when England were at 135 for 0 in the 15th over, the Karnataka player removed Jason Roy to get his maiden scalp. He then dismissed Ben Stokes, Sam Billings, and Tom Curran to derail England's chase and was a contender to bag the Man-of-the-Match award in his first international. Krishna came back after a terrible first three overs, where he had an economy rate of over 12, to finish with the best figures by an India debutant in ODIs.
It has been a roller coaster journey for Team India. One after the other, there has been several rides in which gems were unearthed, who without any fear or nerves have come out and expressed themselves and produced stunning performances in their debut matches/series against two of the best opposition attacks in the world.