Test cricket is the most demanding form of cricket as it tests the skill and character of a player. For a player entering the Test cricket arena as a teenager becomes even more challenging. Invariably, these talented teenagers are drafted into the Test squads of their respective nations without much first-class experience, which throws them into the deep end very early in their career.
There have been few teenage debutants for India as well, and some of them have gone on to make it big at the International stage. These were special talents who were spotted early and were drafted into the Test squad without wasting much time.
Let us take a look at some of these players who went on to earn a lot of accolades for India:
#4 Ishant Sharma (18 years)
Ishant Sharma made his Test debut when he was just 18 years old. He was regarded as a special talent which was evident from the fact that he made his Test debut within a year of making his first-class debut. He took 4 wickets during his first-class debut match against Tamil Nadu, and then made his Test debut against Bangladesh in 2007.
When he appeared on the Test scene he impressed with his impeccable line and length, not to mention the bounce he used to generate because of his height. The way he troubled one of the best batsmen of that era, Ricky Ponting, on his first tour to Australia in 2007-08, is still spoken about a decade on.
He went off the boil after making an impressive start to his Test career. Consistency has been a major issue throughout his Test career, but he has lately found the old rhythm back and he has rejuvenated as a bowler.
Ishant Sharma has taken 256 wickets from the 87 Tests he has played so far.
#3 Ravi Shastri (18 years)
Ravi Shastri started off as a spin bowler but went on to become an opening batsman for India. Shastri batted at almost every position during his career. He made his Test debut within a year or so of making his first-class debut.
Shastri was equally good with both bat and ball, and was a fierce competitor. Shastri played 80 Tests for India and scored 3830 runs with 11 centuries, and took 151 wickets.
Shastri became a high profile cricket commentator after his playing career and then went on to become the head coach of Indian cricket team.
#2 Harbhajan Singh (17 years)
One of the best spinners that India has ever produced, Harbhajan Singh made his Test debut at the tender age of 17. He made his Test debut soon after making his first-class debut, and played his first Test against Australia at Bengaluru in 1998.
Harbhajan was a true match winner. He has put in many match-winning performances for India, with one of his famous being the hat-trick against Australia which helped India to win the match and the series against the world-conquering Australian side.
Harbhajan played 103 Tests for India and took 417 wickets during those Test matches.
#1 Sachin Tendulkar (16 years)
The Master Blaster made his Test debut at the age of 16 years against the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan. Such was his talent that after playing just a few first-class matches he was straightaway drafted into the Indian squad for the tour of Pakistan in 1989.
Sachin impressed everyone with his courage and technique against a fearsome Pakistani pace battery. The kind of pace Pakistani bowlers possessed at that time could have easily intimated any 16-year-old but not Sachin, as he played them with utmost ease and made every expert take notice of the supreme talent he possessed.
Sachin went on to make 51 Test hundreds – the most by any cricketer till date. He made 15921 runs from mammoth 200 Test matches that he played.
Originally Published by Sportskeeda