Monday, January 7, 2008


India won their first big international title in over two decades, the World Twenty20

I thought I would write about the tour but then the Cricket Match was not over yet,This year was for CRICKET, and I consider it as one of the most successful years of Indian Cricket in recent years. When even in a test match which India lost the play cards in the hands of Australian audiences read "COMMIT YOUR CRIMES WHEN SACHIN IS BATTING".

Crashed out of one world event, storm to victory in another; fumble over the appointment of a coach, win a rare Test series in England; get flustered after one player resigns from captaincy and another refuses the job, revel in the newly appointed captain, dominating Pakistan in the process; panic after an informal league lures domestic players, watch the closest Ranji Trophy league round in recent memory.

If India rose steadily in Tests, in limited-overs cricket they oscillated from the pathetic to the inspirational. If they could do nothing right against Bangladesh in the World Cup opener, they were unstoppable against Australia in the World Twenty20 semi-final. When India won an ODI, it was usually owing to Sachin Tendulkar. Whether it was his 76-ball 100 in Vadodara that sealed the series against West Indies, or the twin 90s against South Africa in Belfast, or his magical 94 that helped level the series at The Oval, or even his uplifting 97 against Pakistan in Gwalior, he was the guiding force. His only weakness? Falling in the nineties.

Eclipsing him in the Tests were two contrasting batsmen: the languid Wasim Jaffer and the enigmatic Sourav Ganguly. Jaffer's efficient run-scoring underlined his coming of age as a batsman over the last couple of years, but it was Ganguly who made for the brilliant story. Banished into exile a little over a year ago, he returned to conquer, batting better than he had ever done before. A number of moments stand out but his towering double-hundred in Bangalore will be talked about the longest.

Captains changed too. Rahul Dravid left the job after the England series and the selectors gave Mahendra Singh Dhoni the responsibility in the shorter formats. Anil Kumble was handed the command for the longer version, though the appointment was likely to last only a couple of series at the most.

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