Virat Kohli leads new dawn of Indian cricket
Indian cricket’s fortunes ebbed and flowed in 2015 with Virat Kohli successfully leading the national side in Tests and Mahendra Singh Dhoni appearing to be losing his midas touch, while in off the field drama Shashank Manohar returned as the BCCI boss.
Kohli, who had already taken charge of the Test team in December last year post Dhoni’s surprising exit after the Sydney game, led the Indian side with aplomb.
The Delhi batsman not only won his maiden Test as captain in his first full-fledged series as the leader of the Indian side in Sri Lanka but also went on to defeat the Islanders on home turf after 22 years post a 2-1 series win.
The young leader then made history after he led India to a 3-0 series win at home against the No.1 Test side South Africa, who were made to taste an overseas loss after 9 years.
But the four-match series was surrounded by pitch-talk after two games finished in under three days as Indian spinners created havoc in Mohali and Nagpur.
Though the BCCI, Indian management and captain Kohli played down the debate over turning pitches, the ICC did term the Jamtha track as ‘poor’ and gave an official warning.
Controversy followed Indian cricket off the field as well when the board finally dethroned under-fire N Srinivasan as the ICC chairman and newly-elected BCCI President Manohar took charge of the post for the remaining period.
The decision to remove Srinivasan was taken at the BCCI’s 86th Annual General Meeting in Mumbai, virtually signalling the end of his hold over Indian cricket.
Earlier the Vidarbha-based lawyer Manohar’s re-election to the top post in the world’s most powerful cricket board was a smooth transition of power after the unfortunate demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya.
The Indian Premier League continued to churn out on and off field drama with franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals suspended from the cash-rich T20 league for two years for the involvement of their key officials Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra in betting-related activities during the 2013 season.
Meiyappan, the former Team Principal of CSK, and RR co-owner Kundra were suspended for life for indulging in betting and bringing the IPL and the game into disrepute. The justice RM Lodha-led committee declared the quantum of punishment on the officials and the teams.
But the players of the two teams were not made to suffer even as they had to split ways with new inductees Pune and Rajkot pitching for the big guns from the suspended sides.
If Pune got the prized catch in Dhoni then Rajkot bagged Suresh Raina, the two CSK veterans, who had seen the champion side win three editions of the cash-rich league.
Indian cricket also saw the departure of two great match-winners after swing king Zaheer Khan and swashbuckler Virender Sehwag called time on their illustrious careers after being out-of-favour for quite a while.
While left-arm pacer Zaheer, 37, served India for 14 long years, bagging a total of 593 wickets in 92 Tests and 200 ODIs, Sehwag also brought curtains to his 14-year-long career, amassing 8000 plus runs each in 104 Tests and 251 ODIs.
There were retirements aplenty on the international front as well with Sri Lanka’s legendary duo of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara calling it a day from ODIs after the World Cup. Others in the list to retire after World Cup were New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori, Clarke and Mitchell Johnson.