Bengaluru, June 17: Not many were convinced about his inclusion in India's squad for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Vijay Shankar had not even played international cricket for six months when he pipped a more experienced Ambati Rayudu to the squad. The 28-year-old was dubbed as a "three dimensional" cricketer who would be handy in the tournament.
But a poor form in the Indian Premier League and an injury in the run-up to the World Cup had diminished the expectations from the man.
However, destiny had its own plans for Vijay, a batting all-rounder from Tamil Nadu. He got his chance to play for India for the first time in the World Cup in a marquee match - against arch-rivals Pakistan.
Since opener Shikhar Dhawan broke his thumb in the game against Australia and K L Rahul went up to open the innings, Vijay was picked as the No.4 in the side. Playing in just his 10th ODI, the man came out to bat at No.6 to score an unbeaten 15 off 15 balls. At the interval, it was still an ordinary game for him.
However, his moment came as early as in the fifth over when Pakistan started their chase. Regular pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar went off the ground bowling four balls of his third over with a hamstring pull. Vijay chipped in to complete the over which had two balls remaining. And like a dream coming true, he struck in the very first delivery he bowled at the World Cup, trapping opener Imam-ul-Haq right in front of the wicket.
As the Indians rejoiced Vijay's incredible bowling debut at the marquee tournament, his name got registered in an exclusive club. Only three bowlers in the history of the World Cup achieved the feat before him and they are Malachi Jones of Bermuda, Ian Harvey of Australia and Mohammad Yousuf of Pakistan although the third is a batsman and took only one wicket in international cricket.
In 2007, Jones, a right-arm pacer, got Indian opener Robin Uthappa dismissed in his very first ball as the bulky Dwayne Leverock had taken an earth-shattering catch at the first slip. Bermuda had made their only World Cup appearance that year and one is certain that Malachi could go down in history with a record unmatched by any of his compatriot ever.
Harvey had achieved the same feat, also against Pakistan, in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. Coming in to ball his first over in the innings' 20th over when Pakistan were chasing yet another 300-plus target, the medium-pacer dismissed Saleem Elahi who was caught by Brett Lee. Pakistan had lost on that occasion as well.
Yousuf's moment came in the group match against Zimbabwe also in the 2007 World Cup in Kingston. Pakistan had scored 349 and after Zimbabwe lost their ninth wicket for 94 and the No.11 batsman Chris Mpofu came out to bat, captain Inzamam-ul-Haq threw the ball at Mohammad Yousuf to bowl the last over of the rain-curtailed game. Yousuf bowled his off-break and Mpofu gave a catch to Inzamam himself. It was a moment of great joy for the captain till yesterday when his nephew gifted the same record to India.