Like everything in life, even sports throw moments at times which is no less dramatic than a movie script. The story of Samarjit Nath, who made a world record on 10th January 2002 can be classified in that category.
It was a low key Ranji Trophy match in 2001-02 season between two east zone teams Assam and Tripura to be played at North-East Frontier Railway Stadium. Assam’s regular wicket-keeper was Syed Zakaria Zuffri who served Assam for around 12 years with a brief spell for Railways in between. However, he was unavailable for that match and Samarjit Nath was included in the team to manage the duties behind the stumps. Nath played age-group cricket for Assam successfully and was an expected replacement for Zuffri.
Tripura batted first and by the end of the first day of the match which was the first day of First-class cricket for Nath, he had 7 victims, six catches and a stumping and was involved 7 out of 8 dismissals for Tripura. Next day Tripura folded for 216. Although Nath had no contribution in the 9th dismissal, he got his 8th victim when he caught Rasudeb Dutta of Gautam Dutta to end the innings.
Assam was a much stronger team than Tripura and despite some early hiccup they finished at 411 and got a lead of 195 runs. Nath batted at number 10 scoring 12 runs with two boundaries.
Tripura finished the third day at 80 for 1 but Nath was involved in that dismissal to take his tally to 9th. On 10th January, the last day of the four-day match Tripura, fought hard to reach 288 for the loss of six wickets and the match was ended as a draw. However, Nath was involved in two more dismissals when he caught the nicks from two more Tripura batsmen to reach 11 dismissals in the match. With that, he achieved the world record for getting the maximum number of dismissals in the debut First-class match. There were more instances of players involved in 11 dismissals in a match but except Nath, no one achieved that on their debut match and that’s how this record was unique.
However, the twist in the tale is that, for Samarjit Nath, his debut first-class match was his only first-class match as surprisingly he was never called back by Assam selectors once the regular keeper Zuffri was back. Nath kept playing age group cricket before moving away from the cricketing scenes slowly.
This was one of those rare cricketing moment, where the main protagonist made such a dramatic entry to the scene but without any follow-up act and we would never know whether he had it in him to replicate the accomplishment he displayed in his first and only outing.