Every upcoming cricket star has only one dream, and that is to represent his nation at the highest level. Not everyone is successful in doing so, but when a new player receives his first international cap, he is under immense pressure to deliver the goods.
The entire country expects the debutant to perform well at the big stage. While many legendary batsmen failed to live up to the expectations in their first ODI match, 15 players showed nerves of steel with a century on debut. Five of those players hailed from Asia, and here's a look at those debutants who won the hearts of the fans with a three-figure score in their first ODI game.
#5 Abid Ali
Starting the list with the latest batsman to achieve this feat, Abid Ali from Pakistan shattered the Australian bowling attack in Dubai while playing his first ODI match. The visitors had taken an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the 5-match series as the Pakistani team tried some new players ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
Imad Wasim led the team while Abid Ali and Saad Ali received their maiden ODI caps that day. Pakistan won the toss and invited Australia to bat first. Fifties from Glenn Maxwell, Usman Khawaja, and Alex Carey powered the Aussies to a score of 277/7 in 50 overs.
Abid opened the innings for Pakistan and played a fantastic knock of 112 runs. He stitched a 74-runs partnership with Haris Sohail for the second wicket before adding 144 runs for the third wicket with Mohammad Rizwan.
He hit nine boundaries during his 119-ball stay. Unfortunately, Pakistan lost the match by six runs.
During Sri Lanka's tour of the UAE in 2017, the islanders locked horns with Pakistan in a 5-match ODI series. Sarfaraz Ahmed's men won the first two matches, and then the team management included debutant Imam-ul-Haq in the playing XI for the third game.
Hasan Ali's five-wicket haul ensured that Sri Lanka lost all their wickets for 208 runs in the first innings. Chasing 208, Imam-ul-Haq provided a solid start to Pakistan with a 78-run opening stand with Fakhar Zaman. He stayed in the middle until the 42nd over before Thisara Perera dismissed him.
Haq scored 100 runs off 125 balls in that innings. He slammed five fours and two sixes to give Pakistan an unassailable lead in the series.
#3 KL Rahul
Surprisingly, to date, only one Indian batsman has scored a hundred in his first ODI match, and he is none other than KL Rahul. The right-handed batsman from Karnataka became the first Indian to achieve this record when he registered a century versus Zimbabwe in 2016. MS Dhoni captained the Indian team in that match as the Men in Blue invited the hosts to bat first at Harare.
Some excellent bowling performances from Jasprit Bumrah, Dhawal Kulkarni, and Barinder Sran kept Zimbabwe down to 168 in the first innings. Rahul opened the innings for India along with Karun Nair. Although he lost his partner early, Rahul continued to propel the team forward.
He remained unbeaten on 100 at the culmination of the match, hitting seven boundaries and one maximum. His 162-run partnership with Ambati Rayudu guided India home in the 43rd over.
#2 Mark Chapman
An unlikely name to feature on this list is New Zealand's wicket-keeper batsman, Mark Chapman. Not many fans would know that Chapman played cricket for Hong Kong in the initial stages of his career. He made his ODI debut against UAE in the ICC World Cricket League Championship 2015.
Hong Kong batted first in the match at Dubai, and the Tanwir Afzal-led outfit got off to a splendid start. Chapman came out to bat at number 4, and he remained not out till the end. The left-handed batsman scored 124 runs from 116 deliveries as Hong Kong posted a score of 298 runs on the board. The bowlers defended the target successfully as Hong Kong won the game by 89 runs.
#1 Saleem Elahi
Former Pakistani opener, Saleem Elahi, made history by becoming the first Asian batsman to register a three-figure score in his first ODI match. Elahi made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka at Gujranwala in the first ODI of the 3-match series. Arjuna Ranatunga's hundred helped the islanders score 233 runs in the first innings.
Elahi's 156-run opening stand with Aamer Sohail turned the match in Pakistan's favour, and the right-handed batsman from Punjab went on to complete his hundred, thereby taking Pakistan to a 9-wicket win. The opening batsman hit seven fours and one six in his 133-ball knock and even won the Man-of-the-Match award.