KL Rahul, on Saturday, became the first Indian player to score a hundred on ODI debut in first of the three ODIs against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club.
The 24-year old achieved the landmark when he hit Hamilton Masakadza over long-on for a maximum which also helped the visitors India thrash Zimbabwe by nine wickets to go one-nil up in the series. Before this, Robin Uthappa's 86 against England at Indore in 2006 was the highest score by an Indian player on his ODI debut.
Chasing a target of 169, India got off to a bad start as they lost their make-shift opener Karun Nair in the fifth over of the innings. KL Rahul then played the sheet-anchor role and his unbeaten 100 backed up by Ambati Rayudu's solid innings of 62 proved more than enough to guide India to a flawless victory.
After electing to bowl first, MS Dhoni-led India took full advantage of the bowling friendly conditions and restricted Zimbabwe to 168. Jasprit Bumrah, the 22-year old pacer, took four wickets while Dhawal Kulkarni and Barinder Sran grabbed two scalps each.
During the post-match presentation, Rahul said:
"I enjoyed my batting. The wicket was tough, so I couldn't be complacent. I wanted to play out the new ball, and then take it from there. I'm really satisfied with the way I carried on and stayed not out in the end.
"I just got told by the manager that I was the first Indian to get a century on debut. I wasn't thinking much, there was just one way to get to a century. I wanted to hold my shape and just hit it. There are five more games, it's a sporty wicket. This is my first tour with the ODI team, and I'm loving it so far."
KL Rahul had a forgettable Test debut against Australia at the MCG as he failed to cross the double-figure mark in both innings of the match. But he got another chance at Sydney and scored his first Test hundred. Six months later, he hit a hundred against Sri Lanka on a tricky Colombo wicket to help India seal the series 2-1.
In the 2016 Indian Premier League, KL Rahul proved to be Royal Challengers Bangalore X-Factor in their road to final, as he scored 397 runs in 14 matches at a strike-rate of 146.49 wth four fifties.