GANGTOK: Manipur’s Jotin Pheiroijam Singh, 17, became only the fourth Indian bowler to take nine wickets during his first-class debut. The medium-pacer helped his side bundle Sikkim for 220 on Day 2 of their Plate group encounter at Rangpo.

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Pheiroijam finished with the figures of 9/69 in the first innings, delivering the fourth-best figures by an Indian debutant in the format and tenth overall. At one point, it looked like Pheiroijam was on course to become the first Indian bowler and third overall to take all 10 wickets in their first-class debut.

Albert Moss of England (10/38 in 1889-90) and West Indian cricketer Fitz Hinds (10/36 in 1900-01) are the only two in the history of cricket to claim 10 wickets in an innings on first-class debut. 

Interestingly, it was his own catch that denied Pheiroijam the record. He took an excellent catch at fine leg to dismiss Tarun Sharma off Rex Rajkumar Singh to bring the Sikkim innings to an end. Rex is the first from the Northeast to pick up ten wickets in an innings. Then 18-year-old Rex achieved the rare feat in Cooch Behar Trophy in 2018. Pheiroijam and Rex share a hotel room here and play for the same club in Manipur – Patsoi Taomang Rising Club.

Pheiroijam said he did not regret missing out on that record. “In the game of cricket, you take every opportunity you get. And it was significant for us to restrict Sikkim to a low score,” he added.

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Even though he dreamt of taking 10 wickets in an innings, Pheiroijam, who started playing competitive cricket in Manipur at the age of 7, said the record was “unexpected and a dream come true”.

Thanks to his remarkable effort, Manipur restricted the home side to 220, a first innings lead of 34 runs. The Manipur team bundled out for 193 on Day 3 on Thursday, leaving the host Sikkim to chase down 160 runs. At the end of Day 3, Sikkim finished with 21 for no wicket loss with 139 runs still to chase on Day 4.

The 12th-standard student seems to love playing against the Sikkim team. In his last match against Sikkim in Cooch Behar Trophy, a four-day tournament for under-19 cricketers, Pheiroijam scored centuries in both innings (127 and unbeaten 124) and claimed eight wickets in the match.

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