Time flies and how
Ever heard the phrase, time and tide wait for none? The phrase is quite apt as far as Cricket during the calendar year 2015 is concerned. As the year comes to a close, looking back at 2015 would remain a positive as it has been a sensationally entertaining year as far as the Cricket fraternity is concerned. Amongst all the ups and downs, one has failed to comprehend on how time flies as the 30th of December now marks as a year since Virat Kohli has officially taken over the Indian team in the Whites after the retirement of the current limited overs captain, M S Dhoni exactly a year ago. The long debate over day and night Test Cricket has finally seen the light of the day as the first test match has finally been played with the new pink ball which promises a brighter future for Test Cricket.
The first Day-Night extravaganza was agreed to be tested in a game between the New Zealand Team and the Australian team at the Adelaide Oval. This was a mutual agreement between both boards on grounds of re starting a cordial relationship between them after a long break of 4 years. This was also a series which the Kiwi board was looking keenly at in order to improve their own financial setbacks. The Day-night match was a part of the larger 4 match series between the two nations and was the 3rd match played between them from 27 November to the 1 December. The pink Kookaburra ball too was introduced for the first time as an experiment to suit the nature of the day-night conditions. Though there were reservations regarding the format initially, the players eventually played a successful game of Cricket which was the first chapter of a new book of History written for Cricket.
The World Cup was an impeccably competitive one. New Zealand throughout the series looked unbeatable. South Africa too looked very close to clinching the Semi Finals. India looked rusty in comparison to the surprising success they received. However, the winners remained the mighty Australians. This world cup remained extremely competitive with no freebies or easy giveaways. Two stalwarts of the game, Chris Gayle and Martin Guptil set new benchmarks as far as batting during the world Cup was concerned. West Indian openner and Champion batsmen, Chris Gayle who is already known for his hard hitting and quick scoring abilities made a mockery out of the Zimbabwe bowling attack as he blasted 16 sixes and 10 fours in an innings where he played 147 balls to reach a score of 215. This performance not only broke most records but also resulted in the first ever double ton scored during any match in world cup history by a batsman. However, as one was thinking they they’ve seen it all, the Kiwi opnner, Martin Guptil, stunned the world with his display of class and elegance while scoring an unbeaten 237 of 163 balls which comprised of 24 fours and 11 sixes.
This year though has been a highlight for Bangladesh. The underdogs of world cricket who have known to be the ones famous for causing upsets in the past during the previous world cups were the shocking performers of the season. To not only the worlds surprise but also a surprise to themselves, the Bangladesh team under their newly selected leader, Mashrafe Murtaza, managed to battle their way to the Quarter finals of the tournament beating the likes of England amongst many more. The performance was a display of such a daredevil attitude that some had half expected the team to pull of the impossible and emerge winners of the world cup. Their potential was not just limited to that. Soon after the world cup in the busy year to follow, the Bangladesh team went on to defeat Pakistan and India in the ODI series. In Spite of the victory many called it a fluke and refused to credit the Bangladesh team for their efforts. However, it was a slap on all faces when Bangladesh also went on to beat the South African team in the ODI series to follow.
The year was also witness to some personal power packed performances which left the world in awe of their talent. Topping the list is veteran Sri Lankan Batsman, Kumar Sangakara who before his retirement this year played his final world cup down under. The 37 year old was in such sublime form that he scored four back to back centuries against his opponents proving to be a definite match winner. On one hand where Sangakara was dominating, Ab de Villiers was responsible for mass destruction around the world throughout the year. ABD ensured that most records were broken by his bat this year. Earlier in January his year began with his name being registered as the fastest centurion in the world scoring a 100 of just 31 balls. Later, the fact that he wasn’t satisfied with just that came by when he also became the fastest man to reach a World Cup 150. ABD finished the year off in style as well as he scored 3 back to back tonnes and looked like the only man who could face an impressive Indian bowling attack earlier this month in December.
The year was mostly a batsman’s year as they seemed to be the ones having it their way. The ICC though, realised this bias and changed rules which eventually added an extra fielder outside the circle balancing the game once again between the Batsman and the Bowlers. Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin too ended the year on a high as he finished the year with the man of the series award in the series against South Africa where he managed to get wickets at will. The year 2015 also witnessed the retirement of some of the greatest stalwarts of world Cricket. Legends of the game who retired included Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Mahela Jaywardane, Kumar Sangakara, Misbah Ul Haq, Michael Clarke, Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum.
Though the year wasn’t as great for Virat Kohli in comparison to the years of cricket he has played in the past, the year remains a memorable one for him as the captain of the Indian test team. As 2015 concludes one can wish and pray for a more successful 2016 with the T20 world cup approaching where the world would be battling it out in the middle, this time in India.