A double hundred in first-class cricket is a remarkable achievement as it requires a multitude of factors like skill, temperament, patience, and perhaps a little bit of luck. It gets all the more impressive if a daddy hundred arrives in a player's maiden first-class game.
Sir Donald Bradman (37), who scored a century on his first-class debut, leads a group of five players to have scored over 17 double centuries in first-class cricket. Perhaps not surprisingly, Bradman's 12 double hundreds in test matches - a sub-set of first-class cricket, are also a record haul.
Even though one of the greatest players ever to have played the game, Sir Donald Bradman did not score a double in his first first-class game, 20 players world-wide have marked their first-class debut with a double hundred. 8 of these players have done so in the Ranji Trophy, Indian cricket's 86-year-old domestic competition. On that note, let us meet the quintet with the 5 best scores on Ranji Trophy debut by any player.
# 5: Mayank Raghav (Manipur vs Nagaland; 2018-19): 228
A relative latecomer on the domestic scene, 31-year-old Mayank Raghav made his mark on the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season by becoming the eighth player to score a double century on his debut in the 86-year-old competition.
Walking into bat at no. 3 for Manipur against Nagaland in a league-stage game in 2018-19 at Sovima, the right-hander hit 25 fours and 10 sixes en route to a memorable double ton before being the last man out for his team.
# 4: Gundappa Vishwanath (Mysore vs Andhra Pradesh; 1967-68): 230
An 18-year-old Gundappa Vishwanath was selected for the Mysore team to take on Andhra Pradesh in the former's last assignment of the 1967-68 season.
With the team's top players like V Subramanya, the captain, EAS Prasanna, BS Chandrasekhar, and Budhi Kunderan sitting out of the last game of the season, Vishwanath was one of 5 debutants selected in the Mysore team to take on Andhra.
On a matting pitch in Vijayawada, Vishwanath was called early into action, walking out to the middle at no. 4. The teenager rode the early butterflies and an incisive spell from the two Andhra quickies Rana Pratap Gupta and Venkata Rao before opening up with his trademark cut shots.
Coming in to bat when the first new ball was in play, Vishwanath ended the day on a stunning 209 not out before getting out to the third new ball the next day. In the process, the youngster became the first to score a double century on Ranji debut. Vishwanath's record of the highest score on first-class debut by an Indian would last for two and a half decades.
# 3: Arslan Khan (Chandigarh vs Arunachal Pradesh; 2019-20): 233
Arslan Khan scored five centuries in the U-23 national one-day championship to warrant a call-up to the Chandigarh team for the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy.
Grabbing the opportunity with both hands, the left-handed opener scored an unbeaten innings of 233 against Arunachal Pradesh in Chandigarh to become the 8th player to score a double century on his debut in the competition.
With Chandigarh declaring their innings at 503-2, Khan failed to add to his total and potentially miss out on the best first-class score by any player on debut. But the 23-year-old expressed no regrets when he told Telegraph-India “I do not have any complaints about the decision taken by the team management. It was decided that we would declare once we reach the 500-run mark. I only came to know about the record after the day’s play”.
# 2: Amol Muzumdar (Bombay vs Haryana; 1993-94): 260
A schoolmate of future international stars Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli at Shardashram Vidyamandir, Amol Muzumdar made a first-class debut to remember when he scored 260 for Bombay (now called Mumbai) in a 1993-94 Ranji Trophy game against Haryana in Faridabad.
In the process, Muzumdar smashed WFE Marx's seven-decade-old record of the best first-class score by a debutant (240) and Gundappa Vishwanath's 27-year-old record (230) for the highest score by a Ranji Trophy debutant.
In a Bombay team teeming with internationals, Muzumdar was overlooked for the group-stage of the campaign but came into the reckoning for the pre-quarterfinal against Haryana when slots opened up after Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, and Sanjay Manjrekar were selected for the Indian team to tour New Zealand.
Intimated by then team captain Ravi Shastri of his place in the XI, Muzumdar walked out to the middle at 47 for 2. At the other end was senior teammate Jatin Paranjpe who had scored a Ranji Trophy hundred on debut. Paranjpe calmed the youngster's fraying nerves as Muzumdar opened his first-class account with a three through the cover.
In the able company of captain Shastri, Muzumdar remained unbeaten on 83 at the close of the day's play. With a certain Clive Lloyd in attendance the next day, Muzumdar completed his century before lunch and reached his double by tea before surpassing Vishwanath and Marx's records as Mumbai plundered over 700 runs and completed an innings victory.
# 1: Ajay Rohera (Madhya Pradesh vs Hyderabad; 2018-19): 267 not out
21-year-old Ajay Rohera wasn't even born when Amol Muzumdar carved out record innings of 260 for the best-ever score by a first-class debutant.
On the 8th of December 2018, Rohera scored an unbeaten knock of 267 for Madhya Pradesh against Hyderabad in a group-stage game at the Holkar Stadium in Indore to create a new record for the highest score by a first-class debutant while lowering Muzumdar's erstwhile mark of 260.
Courtesy an innings laced with 27 fours and five sixes, Rohera went past Muzumdar's record on the third morning to create a new record for the best-ever score by a debutant in first-class cricket. In the process, the right-hander became the second Madhya Pradesh player to score a double century on first-class debut. The other being Anshuman Pandey (209 not out) against Bhilai in 1995-96