One of the fondest memories for Indian fans when it comes to the ICC Champions Trophy would undoubtedly be the stellar international arrivals of Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan back in 2000. As India look to defend the title this year, we look back at the time when two young turks announced themselves on the international stage, and went on to become two of India’s greatest match-winners over the next decade.
Watch Video of Yuvraj’s 84 against Australia in 2000
Yuvraj Singh: The lanky left-hander, fresh from his U19 World Cup success, made his debut in the India’s first match of the 2000 edition against Kenya, at Nairobi in Kenya. He did not get to bat. However, in the very next match, the big clash against Australia, he blasted 84 from 80 balls. An innings full of lazy elegance, Yuvraj hit 12 fours in his knock. And mind you, this was against an attack that possessed Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie at their peak. Yuvraj’s innings saw India post a challenging 265 for 9.
Watch Video of Yuvraj’s brilliant catch and run out
Yuvraj wasn’t done though. In the field, he displayed his agility to run out none other Michael Bevan, then considered the best runner between the wickets. He also took a brilliant airborne catch to dismiss Ian Harvey, who was looking dangerous, having made 24 a better than a run-a-ball after being promoted to number three. For his all-round efforts, Yuvraj was declared the man of the match.
Watch Video of Zaheer Khan’s international debut
Zaheer Khan: In the 2000s, India were desperate for a tearaway fast bowler, and it came in the form of left-armer Zaheer Khan. He made his debut along with Yuvraj and Vijay Dahiya in India’s opening match of the 2000 edition, against Kenya. While Yuvraj did not get to bat, Zaheer made a memorable debut, claiming three wickets. His ripping deliveries send back Mohammad Shaikh and Hitesh Modi. Zaheer finished with 3 for 48 on debut. But, this was just Kenya, and too much couldn’t be read into it.
Watch Video: Highlights of the match
And then came the match against Australia. Zaheer’s first big test, and he passed with flying colours. India were defending 266, thanks to Yuvraj’s brilliance. And, Zaheer played a key role in India’s hard-fought win. He first dismissed the dangerous Adam Gilchrist , who was in his usual murderous mood, and smashed 33 from 23 balls. With the match well balanced, Zaheer returned to famously uproot Steve Waugh, and effectively seal the game in India’s favour. Australia were 7 for 224 when Zaheer clean bowled Waugh for 23. In the years to come, he was to destroy the stumps of many more great batsmen.