2019 has come to an end and going by ups and downs in the Cricketing world; it was not a bad year at all for Indian Cricket. The Indian Cricket Team went on to win at the home soil and away – the side also registered first-ever Test Series Win Down Under.
However, if you are a fan who has followed the matches all 2019, then you would also rue the biggest lost opportunity – losing in the ICC Cricket World Cup Semi-Final 2019.
The iconic tournament that sees unparalleled buzz in the Cricket-crazy nation, the World Cup in England saw the Indian Team losing glaringly in the Semi-Final match.
The Virat Kohli led Indian Cricket side were the favorites to win the Coveted Trophy that gets staged every 4 years. But, Black Caps, who eventually lost to England in a nail-biting Final, piped the Men in Blue by 18 runs.
The image of MS Dhoni run out, where the bat misses the crease by a whisker is shared by heartbroken fans on social media as the most painful moment of 2019.
Still, the Indian Team had a dominating year, especially in the longest format of the game – the Tests. The squad continued their top spot in the peak of the rankings and also carried on with its amazing form in Tests at home. They whitewashed Proteas 3-0 and Bangladesh 2-0. India also opened its account in the Pink Ball Day-Night Test match at Kolkata, which was an overwhelming success.
As the Indian Cricket Team prepares to hop on new challenges in 2020, here is a quick rewind of the hits and misses in 2019.
Indian Cricket Down under domination
The Kohli-led squad went on to register a mesmerizing 2-1 win in the Test Series against the Aussies. The Series could be remembered for the rise of the new crop of batters, such as Mayank Agarwal and Hanuman Vihari. They continued their good form for the rest of the year and became the mainstays of the Team.
Over a period spanning 30 years, Australia was forced to follow on by the Indian Cricket Team for the first time during the Sydney Test.
The good form of the Team was rubbed into the ODI Series as the former Skipped MS Dhoni went back in the past and came out with 3 back to back 50s. That helped the side grabbing the ODI Series 2-1.
Indian Cricket Flying high in New Zealand
The domination of the Team continued even in New Zealand as they pocketed the Series 4-1 under the leadership of Virat Kohli. Mohammed Shami, who had a rough 2018, made an amazing comeback in this Series. This helped him earn a constant spot in the Indian Cricket ODI Team. But the team had to face the defeat 2-1 in the T20 Series. Rohit Sharma had led the side in the absence of Virat Kohli.
The fightback of Aussies
Australia came to India for a 5-match ODI Series in Feb-March 2019. The Indian Team registered hassle-free wins in the first two matches, but the Aussies came from behind to inflict a 3-2 Series win. MS Dhoni was not available in the final 2 matches of the Series. And it allowed game time to the young wicketkeeper-batsman, Rishabh Pant. The focus of the tournament was the fight for the Number 4 spot in the squad. Ambati Rayudu had a decent outing in the New Zealand tour, but struggled with the form and was dropped after a string of poor scores. Vijay Shankar had contributed significantly with the bat and ball, which helped him get a call in the World Cup squad. And Rayudu was excluded.
The heartbreak of World Cup
For the Indian Cricket Team, the squad had a similar outing like the 2015 World Cup – the squad topped the group stage and finished with 15 points in 9 games. The only loss for the Team was against England and went on to make it to the Semi Finals. The side lost to New Zealand in the Semi Final by 18 runs. That was the heartbreaking moment for Indian Cricket when the team failed to make a cut in the Final for the 2nd consecutive time after 2015. Nonetheless, the team had a memorable outing throughout the tournament. Mohammed Shami went on to claim a hat trick against Afghanistan. He emerged as the 2nd Indian bowler after Chetan Sharma to do that in a World Cup. Shikhar Dhawan had an injury, and that saw KL Rahul emerging as a potent opener. Rohit Sharma was another highlight as he scored 5 back to back tons and ended up as the tournament’s top scorer.
A new beginning of the dominance
The side was successful in keeping aside controversies concerning Indian Cricket after the World Cup loss and staged a dominant comeback with series wins Vs Windies. But it was also the starting of the speculation concerning the future of MS Dhoni. India also went on to end 2019 on a higher note with ODI and T20 wins at home. But the future of Dhoni remained a talking point in the Cricketing World. The Champion player is yet to make a comeback into the international fold after that heartbreaking World Cup run out. India also made a mark in the World Test Championship with away wins Vs WI. Jasprit Bumrah was the limelight as he claimed a hat trick and helped India win 2-0.
Rohit Sharma’s 2nd innings and the dominance in Tests
The away West Indies Series was followed by a season at home against South Africa, Bangladesh and Windies. KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma had conversations regarding their place in the playing XI; it was Rohit Sharma who got backing of Indian Cricket Team Management. After being promoted as the opener in Tests, he went on to slam twin 100s in the first game against Proteas. He also claimed the ‘Man of the Series’ as the team staged a 3-0 whitewash.
Dada graced the BCCI Chief position
Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian Skipper, staged a comeback to the Indian Cricket as the Chief of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). He had a significant contribution in the staging of India’s inaugural Pink Ball Day-Night Test match. The Indian Team cruised to victory during the first 3 days of the game at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata and the Series 2-0 Vs Bangladesh.
The T20s puzzle
Post World Cup, the performance of India in the shortest format of the game – T20s, raised a few eyebrows. The side did not concede a Series loss but lost 3 out of 9 games. The Team emerged as Champions in chasing, but it struggled while batting in the 1st innings and defending the total.
The absence of Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah was felt by the team – the two T20s specialists. The likes of Shivam Dube and Deepak Chahar made the most of the circumstances in their absence. Deepak Chahar registered the best figure by a bowler in T20s – 6/7 against Bangladesh helping the side win the Series 2-1.
Upcoming Challenges ahead
2020 is here, and it brings another World Cup Challenge for Virat Kohli. The Indian Skipper had faced a lot of criticism in the 50-Overs World Cup. But now he had a chance to prove all wrong with the T20 World Cup in Australia during Oct-Nov 2020. Before that rolls out, the Team faces a tour that will Test their batting order – in the New Zealand tour – comprising T20s, ODIs and Tests. The Indian Cricket begins their T20 World Cup campaign against South Africa on October 24. India will start 2020 with a short T20 and ODI Series against Sri Lanka and Australia respectively.
11 things that we will remember the 2010s for
ODI World Cup Finals
The Finals may not have been fought closely, but each of them was packed with many unforgettable moments. The powerful six by MS Dhoni to end India’s drought of World Cups in the 2011 tournament at the Wankhede Stadium launched the era of new powerhouse into most productive decade ever. The World Cup campaign of New Zealand in 2015 met an abrupt end with Brendon McCullum’s catastrophic innings that lasted only 3 balls. Years later, the last hour of the 2019 World Cup Final feels like a feverish dream. The treading of Trent Boult on the boundary when he had taken difficult catches via the tourney and may have easily tossed the ball to Martin Guptill. Ben Stokes timing and accidentally placing pants off a throw of Guptill from the outfield during the quest to complete a second run, the umpires flubbing an indefensible law in the most crucial situation leading to a tied match and a tied super over and then the nonsensical count back from the boundary. We may not have seen a limited over match with so much drama and may not ever again in a lifetime.
Bowlers biting back
The age of batting bores is now over, and it is time to hail the bowling overlords. Bowlers had to bear the brunt till the half of this decade of being punched, pulled and smashed for hundreds, doubles, triples and quadruple being raked at supersonic rates. Thankfully, until the halfway mark in this decade, bowlers were reborn. That led to the digging of pitches with bowlers’ skeletons that were made to sweat to deaths too. The Dukes ball was adopted in the West Indies. Even Sri Lanka produced an as yet continuous 26 Test streak of back to back results. Some say that T20 has spoiled defensive techniques of the batsman, leading to combined failure in Tests. But so what? Is not every side is capable of collapsing in front of a well-oiled bowling attack? After having said that, Tests are still so much fun to watch!
The big night of Carlos Brathwaite at Kolkata
Marlon Samuels has featured in 2 iconic World T20 final innings. Lasith Malinga has been responsible for derailing many opponents. Virat Kohli has carried India on his back on many occasions. But for pure entertainment, no T20 over has been as electric as the one bowled by Ben Stokes to Carlos Brathwaite during the 2016 T20 World Cup Final – the final over. West Indies needed 19 off the final over to win the Cup at the Eden Gardens. Comes the first ball and it was a six – a leg-side half volley that was mowed over the deep square leg boundary – and it elevated everyone’s nerves. The Windies required 19 off that delivery, and now the equation is 13 from 5 balls. The target looks possible now! The next blow – a six – over long-on – now puts West Indies in the driver’s seat taking the ground to the party mood. Out of the sixes hit so far, the 3rd one was the best. The wrist of Brathwaite whipped to get under a ball that should not have been got under sent high into the Kolkata night. Now the Windies needed only one to take the Cup with 3 balls remaining. But it did not seem like Carlos Brathwaite had scored his runs any other manner. The ball got bowled, and the moment it connected with the bat, the ecstasy went high and carried long into the night.
The fixing of the bans
This decade has been deflating on the corruption aspect right from suspensions of Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif to Salman Butt. There has also been a ban on Shakib Al Hasan for being incapable of exposing approaches. The decade has also seen the fall of Mohammad Ashraful and 2 years ban of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. There have also been many players that are caught up in the charges such as Sreesanth, and moments of reckoning for former New Zealand players. The previous 2 years have also been a center stage of an Anti-Corruption Unit Probe. As a result, Sanath Jayasurya was shown the door for 2 years from Cricket activities. High profile fixing and alike scandals have been a part of the game in the 90s, but in no decade has been a display of spoiled stars.
Harmanpreet Kaur demolishes Aussies
Women Cricket made a correct headway in the media, and that never happened before the 2017 World Cup. And no inning was more memorable than that of Harmanpreet’s single-handedly devouring of Australia in the Semi Final. You would be just overwhelmed by her stats. She went on to score 61% of the runs scored by her team, and none scored even 40 in the playing XI. The best partnership of the game was her 4th wicket stand with Deepti Sharma. Harmanpreet smashed 106 runs off 48 balls in a stand that saw 137 coming. She hit 7 leg-side 6s, and it was supported by 19 boundaries. She screamed at her teammates, made the opponent luckless and came up with a display of play that assisted women players becoming certified stars at home.
The death of Philip Hughes
No event shook the soul of Cricket like Phil Hughes’ death. The sadness of coaches and teammates was deep. It was followed by fans also grieving alongside them when #puoutyourbats and #63notout trended. Five years have passed and the tragic lesson of life’s fragility and danger that Cricket puts one in has helped stem guards on the helmet.
The exile of Pakistan
How Captain Misbah-ul-Haq innate a muddle and led Pakistan back to trustworthiness and brilliance was amazing. The support of the home crowd is needed in Test Cricket and other formats and does familiarity. In the best years of Misbah, Pakistan made UAE its base leading to an inspiring drawn Series in England. It was followed by the short stint at being at the pinnacle of the Test Rankings. In addition to the famous win over India in the Champions Trophy and the being at the top of the T20 ranks is impressive. But the icing on the cake was that they did that without a true regular bowler – a first for them in several decades.
The big three power grab
India was looking to bend their developed muscles under the BCCI Presidency of N Srinivasan. The Cricket Australia (CA) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) with Wally Edwards and Giles Clarke at the helm made aggrieved faces in public. But they went along with the plan of BCCI with no little delight. Those early on 2014 meetings were positively threatening. Smaller boards Directors reported being shuffled into meeting rooms and exposed to press squads. Almost everyone said they were provided with deals and enhance in payments from ICC. Enough boards were finally persuaded with a new world order that primarily benefitted, and Big Three was formed. There was prominent nonparticipation from the PCB and SLC in the final vote. The good thing was that a new agreement lasted only 3 years. ICC President Shashank Manohar was involved in employing the changes in 2007. The Big Three boards indulged in loot that would not be returned. England went on to host World T20 and 2019 World Cup. India hosted the 2016 World T20 and will also host the 2023 ODI World Cup. And Cricket Australia got the 2020 World T20.
The sandpaper scandal
Within Cricket, it is broadly supposed that almost all team bends the rule when it comes to managing the ball in Test Cricket. The fault of Australia was that they were engaging in a lengthily bold account of tempering. The thing was that they got wedged and they lied about it at first and then it led to the deprived treatment of argue. What’s more, even the long bans involving David Warner, Steven Smith and Cameron Bancroft was an overreaction. After the days after scandal though, Cricket went on to see one of the rarest phenomena leading to the Australian team in full-fledged crisis.
The fab four run grab
Virat Kohli is now one of the chase masters, and Steve Smith (miscast as Warner Lite) is now en route to Bradman planet. Before most of us wake up, Kane Williamson (New Zealand) hits 100s. Joe Root has fallen off the flight off late, and he will catch up later. Even Babar Azam may replace him in the quartet. Over the years, Cricket has seen the likes of Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar, AB de Villiers and Kumar Sangakkara. The young fours are now expected to take their slots soon.
The return of trendy mustaches and beards
Trendy beards and mustaches of David Warner, Mitchell Johnson, Martin Guptill, Lockie Ferguson, Mitchell Starc, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and others led from the front. Even MS Dhoni could not resist the new style and ended up wearing a salt and pepper look for a while. It was the Indian Cricketers that led this trend, and they are expected to show style quotient to the world in the future too.