Every cricketer's dream is to represent their nation in international cricket. But if the player gets success early in their international career, like a wicket with their first delivery, it is icing on the cake.
There have been 65 instances in international cricket when a bowler has taken a wicket off his first delivery in a format - 20 times in Test cricket, with 26 and 19 occasions in ODI and T20I cricket respectively.
On that note, let us have a look at the 6 Indian cricketers who have taken a wicket off their first delivery in a particular format.
6 Indian cricketers with a wicket off their first delivery in a format
#1 Nilesh Kulkarni
Nilesh Kulkarni was the first Indian to take a wicket with his first delivery in a particular format. He achieved this feat in a Test match between India and Sri Lanka, making him the only Indian to achieve this distinction in the longest version of the game.
India took on Sri Lanka in the 1st Test of their tour to the island nation in August 1997. The Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar won the toss and elected to bat first in a match that saw the debut of Mahela Jayawardene apart from Nilesh Kulkarni.
Batting first, India declared their first innings at a mammoth score of 537 runs for the loss of 8 wickets. The score was built around centuries from Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sachin Tendulkar, and Mohammad Azharuddin.
In reply, Sri Lanka had reached a score of 39 for no loss when Nilesh Kulkarni was introduced into the attack. The left-arm spinner struck with his very first delivery, having Marvan Atapattu caught behind by Nayan Mongia for an individual score of 26 runs.
But this was a lull before the storm as Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama ground down the Indian attack by stitching together a record 576-run second-wicket partnership. Jayasuriya scored a monumental 340 runs while Mahanama amassed 225 runs, as Sri Lanka finished with a world-record score of 952 for 6 declared.
— ICC (@ICC) August 6, 2017
After an auspicious start to his Test career, Nilesh Kulkarni went wicket-less for the remainder of the innings with his final analysis reading 1/195 in 70 overs. He went on to play just 2 more Test matches for India, bagging a total of just 2 wickets in his short three-Test career.
#2 Sadagoppan Ramesh
Sadagoppan Ramesh was the second Indian to take a wicket off his first ball in a particular format. He did so in an ODI between India and West Indies, making him the first Indian to achieve this feat in the 50-over format.
India played the West Indies in the 3rd match of the Coca-Cola Singapore Challenge in September 1999. The West Indian captain Brian Lara had won the toss and opted to bat first.
The Caribbean team had reached a score of 85/4 in 16 overs when Sadagoppan Ramesh was handed the ball by the Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. To everyone's surprise, the left-handed opening batsman struck with his first ball, having Nixon McLean caught by Debasis Mohanty.
Ramesh bowled a total of 3 overs in that innings, conceding 23 runs with the solitary wicket coming off his first delivery. West Indies managed a score of 196/7 in a match reduced to 30 overs per side and went on to defeat India by 42 runs.
Sadagoppan Ramesh played 24 ODIs for India in which he bowled a total of 6 overs, with the wicket of Nixon McLean remaining his solitary wicket in ODI cricket.
#3 Ajit Agarkar
Ajit Agarkar was the third Indian to bag a wicket with his maiden delivery in a particular format. He did so in India's first-ever T20I match, thereby becoming the first Indian to achieve this feat in the 20-over format.
India took on South Africa in the only T20I in India's tour to South Africa at Johannesburg in December 2006. The Proteas captain Graeme Smith won the toss and elected to bat first.
South Africa had reached a score of 31 for the loss of one wicket after the first 5 overs when Ajit Agarkar was brought into the attack by the Indian captain Virender Sehwag. The Mumbaikar had an immediate impact, having the dangerous Herschelle Gibbs caught by Suresh Raina at cover off a widish delivery.
Agarkar also got rid of AB de Villiers with the last ball of his second over, after having been struck for a six by him. Unfortunately, he got injured while bowling his third over and had to go off the field with figures of 2/10 off his 2.3 overs.
India went on to win the match by 6 wickets after restricting South Africa to a score of 126/9 off their allotted 20 overs.
Ajit Agarkar played just 4 T20Is for India, bagging a total of 3 wickets including the two wickets in his first match. He was also a part of the Indian squad that won the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007.
#4 Pragyan Ojha
Pragyan Ojha was the fourth Indian to claim a wicket with his first delivery in a particular format. He achieved this feat in a T20I match between India and Bangladesh, making him the second Indian to achieve this distinction in T20I cricket.
India played Bangladesh in the 4th match of the T20 World Cup at Nottingham in June 2009. The Indian captain MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first.
India posted a total of 180 for 5 wickets with Gautam Gambhir scoring a half-century. Chasing a difficult target, Bangladesh had reached a score of 74/2 in just 8 overs when Dhoni went to Pragyan Ojha.
The left-arm spinner turned the match India's way straightaway, having Shakib Al Hasan caught behind by the captain himself. Ojha was not done yet as he ran through the Bangladesh batting lineup to return figures of 4/21 off his 4 overs.
This performance helped India win the match by 25 runs and also earned Ojha the Man of the Match award.
Unfortunately, Pragyan Ojha could not have a long T20I career as he ended up playing just 6 matches in the 20-over format. He captured 10 wickets in these six ODIs, with the best figures of 4/21 coming on his T20I debut.
#5 Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli was the fifth Indian to take a wicket with his maiden delivery in a particular format. He did so in a T20I match against England, thereby becoming the third and last Indian to date to achieve this feat in the 20-over format.
India took on England in the only T20I in India's tour to England at Manchester in August 2011. The Indian captain MS Dhoni won the toss and opted to set a target.
India was bowled out for 165 runs in 19.4 overs, with Ajinkya Rahane the only batsman to cross the half-century mark. England had got off to an explosive start, having reached a score of 61/2 in 7 overs when Virat Kohli was handed the ball.
The current Indian captain did not let MS Dhoni down, getting Kevin Pietersen stumped by the skipper himself off a wide delivery down the leg side. Kohli went on to bowl 3 overs but could not add to his tally as he finished with figures of 1/22.
— Jitendra vk (@VkJitendra) May 15, 2020
The dismissal of Pietersen just delayed the inevitable as England went on to win the match by 6 wickets.
Virat Kohli has played 82 T20Is to date, with the Indian captain having taken a total of 4 wickets in the 12 innings that he has bowled in.
#6 Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the sixth and last Indian to date to take a wicket off his first delivery in a particular format. He did so in an ODI between India and Pakistan, making him the second Indian to achieve this distinction in the 50-over format.
India took on its western neighbours in the 1st ODI of Pakistan's tour to India at Chennai in December 2012. The Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq had won the toss and opted to field first.
India managed a score of 227/6 in their allotted 50 overs, courtesy an unbeaten century from the blade of the captain MS Dhoni after the home team had been reduced to a score of 29/5 within the first 10 overs.
Chasing 228 for victory, Pakistan was dealt a blow off the very first delivery with Bhuvneshwar Kumar rattling Mohammad Hafeez's off-stump with an in-swinger that the latter had shouldered arms to. Kumar also picked the wicket of Azhar Ali to finish with figures of 2/27 in his debut ODI match.
Unfortunately, this performance came in a losing cause as Pakistan went on to win the match by 6 wickets, with Nasir Jamshed slamming an unbeaten century.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has played 114 ODIs to date, in which he has bagged 132 wickets with the best figures of 5/42.