Teenaged test debutants for England and India

England went in with 3 debutants yesterday at Nagpur. 21 year old Cook, who opened the innings looked mature beyond his age and showed great promise. I was curious to figure out the last time England handed out a test debut to a teenager and this is what I was able to dug out. It is interesting to note that England has had only one teenaged debutant at the test level in the last 10 years - late Ben Hollioake was 19 when he made his test debut in 1997. During the same period, India handed out the blue cap to 6 teenagers - Harbhajan, Nehra, Kaif, Parthiv, Irfan and Kaarthick. In the entire history of test cricket, only one Englishman has been able to make his debut before reaching the age of 19 (Brian Close, back in 1949).

What do you infer from this? There has never been a real teenaged sensation worthy enough to don the English colours. English players are considered test material only after a few good consistent seasons at the test level. Life is good for a teenaged cricketer in India as opposed to that in England. Indian teenagers are more talented at that age. The Indian selectors give more importance to under-19 performances than to Ranji performances. Take your pick(s).

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