Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Cricket in 2007...

Two boxing day tests starting in less than 24 hours and 3 ODIs between the Kiwis and the Bengalis will round off 2007 in the cricketing world. Since i'll be going away to end 2007 and kick start 2008 in 3 days time, I thought I'd do the year's review now.

From the top of my cricket filled head:

Wasim Jaffer hits the first 100 of the year as India lose the 3rd test to the Proteas to lose the series 2-1.

Australia win the 5th test to whitewash England 5-0 and regain the Ashes. Warne and MacGrath end their test careers with one ending as the highest wicket taker in tests and the other as the highest wicket taker among pace bowlers. It was also the last test for Aussie opener Justin Langer.

Australia suggest 6 Ashes tests in the future. As if 5-0 wasn't enough.

England end tour on a high beating Australia in the finals of the Commonwealth Bank Series. Paul Collingwood scores two ODI 100s against Australia. A rare loss for the Aussies in their traditional home ODI triangular. England lose test series but win the ODI series - beginning of a turn around?

Australia lose Chappell Hadlee Trophy to the Kiwis 3-0. Hussey captains as Ponting, Gilchrist and some others give the series a miss.

Question marks raised over Australia's ODI form with some suggesting they were no longer favorites for the upcoming world cup. How wrong they were.

Windies tour India for an ODI series. Match fixing scandal emerges after many years with Samuels getting caught on tape talking to an alleged bookie. Alleged bookie says that Samuels like his son. I don't know which one is worse.

Shoaib Akhtar flies to South Africa for the 2nd test, takes 4 wickets in the first innings to demolish their top order, pulls his hamstring before 2nd innings, has an arguement with the late Bob Woolmer, and flies back to Pakistan. Fast and simple.

Inzamam plays one of his best knocks ever scoring 92 against the Proteas while batting with the tail and helping Pakistan win the 2nd test. He played only 2 tests after this one. Where's the justice?

South Africa goes ahead of Australia in the ODI rankings, albeit for a short period.

All those who expected one of the most exciting world cups with a caribbean touch, drum beats, loud music, free flowing rum and beer, thrilling matches, and a winning team that wasn't Australian were in a for rude shock. Musical instruments were not allowed inside the grounds, 2 cricketing giants exited after playing 3 matches, a coach passed away, there were too many boring matches AGAIN, the proteas choked AGAIN, an Aussie hit a 100 in the final AGAIN, and the Aussies won without losing a match AGAIN. And then someone said every game is a different game.

Brian Lara, Inzamam, Stephen Fleming, and Glen McGrath played their last ODI during the world cup. 9 coaches were left without a job once the world cup was over.

ICC decides to shorten the next world cup and cut it down to 4 days. Day 1 all teams arrive. Day 2 Photo shoot and welcome dinner. Day 3 award the trophy to the Aussies. Day 4 all teams leave. This plan is expected to cut down logistics costs and save millions of dollars for the ICC, make sure that there are no boring ODIs during a world cup, and ensure that the best team wins.

Indian and Pakistani companies rumoured to have made losses in billions due to the teams world cup exits. Younis Khan and Afridi bullied at the airport, Dhoni's under construction house stoned and broken down, and many others face similar onslaught from the fans.

Younis Khan declines Pakistan captaincy, goes off to Yorkshire to play county cricket. Shoaib Malik announced Pakistan captain.

Rahul Dravid hangs on to the captaincy despite India's dismal world cup performance.

India beat Bangladesh 2-0 in an ODI series, the same team that had ousted them from the world cup. Ganguly scores his first test 100 in 2 years. The previous one was against Zimbabwe 2 years ago. Succesful comeback? Not yet.

Pakistan under new captain Shoaib Malik beat World Cup finalists Sri Lanka 2-1 in an ODI series in Abu Dhabi. Shahid Afridi shows his value to the team as its most senior player. Pakistani fans feel Malik and Afridi are the solution to its cricketing woes.

Pakistan and India travel to Scotland to play an ODI. Shoaib Akhtar returns to the team as Salman Butt is named vice captain much to the senior players' dismay. The ODI is washed out without a ball being bowled. Pakistan go back home after a good holiday and India move on to England.

India beat England 1-0 in the 3 test series winning a series in England after many many moons. Ganguly emerges as India's best batsman on the tour. Now its been a succesful comeback. Dinesh Karthik becomes India's highest run getter for 2007 - where were Dravid and Sachin? Kumble hits his 1st test 100 in his 118th test match.

England beat India in the ODI series 4-3. Suprised? So was I. Who would have imagined England losing the tests and winning the ODIs for the 2nd time in the year.

Rahul Dravid resigns from the captaincy citing personal reasons. The world cup debacle doesn't make him do it and a 1-0 test win on an away tour and an ODI series loss of 4-3 makes him.

Kapil Dev, Subhash Chandra and other former cricketing greats along with Zee Telefilms launch the ICL. Grand plans involving Indian domestic players and internationals unveiled. BCCI feel threatened by a private body running cricket and term it a rebel league. Remove Kapil Dev from his post at the national academy and threaten to ban players representing the ICL. Other boards follow suit.

Retired cricketers Inzamam, Lara, Klusener sign with the ICL. McGrath and Warne are also linked. 50 domestic players to play in the ICL are revealed. Some top names like Dinesh Mongia, Sodhi, Rayudu are part of the list.

Teams prepare for the international 20-20 world cup. Pakistan drop Yousuf and Razzak from the squad. Pick Misbah instead of Yousuf amidst heavy criticism from fans, former players, etc. Dhoni announced Indian captain as Sachin, Saurav, Dravid give the cup a miss. Aussies claim 20-20 not serious cricket but ready for the world cup. South Africa drop Kallis and Boucher gives the selectors a mouth full.

Shoaib Akhtar flies in with Pakistan's squad for the 20-20 WC, practices twice, looks fit, hits Asif with the bat in the dressing room, and flies back to Pakistan. That was faster than his previous trip to South Africa.

Yousuf, Razzak, Farhat sign with the ICL. Pakistan threatens with life bans but threats fall on deaf ears. Many other internationals Cairns, Astle, Mcmillian, Boje, Hall, Azhar Mahmood, Atapattu, Arnold among others to sign with ICL.

ICC are beaming as the 20-20 WC is a success. The world gets an exciting world cup with fast paced action, thrilling matches, dancers, and a champion that is not Australia. All in 2 weeks!

The cricketing giants that exited the world cup earlier in the year in the 1st round play the final of this one and India wins in the last over by 5 runs as an unlikely hero for Pakistan, Misbah, plays the infamous scoop shot.

Aussies are bitter, Yuvraj hits broad for six 6s in one over, Misbah proves his worth to Pakistan, Symonds says Aussies don't like 20-20, Dhoni looks like a natural leader, Afridi is player of the series for his bowling, Gul looks like Waqar Younis, Gilchrist says 20-20 good for fans but not players, South Africa choke, and Australia don't win. That was the 20-20 world cup!

India celebrate 20-20 win in grand style. Aussies are shocked by the celebrations as they arrive for an ODI series. Dhoni announced as ODI captain for series against Australia. India's big 3 return. Calls for seniors to move on.

PCB try to convince Yousuf to break away from ICL contract and persuade him to play for Pakistan against South Africa. Sums of dollars make a bitter Yousuf agree to PCB's demands.

Pakistan and India get a taste of reality as they are comprehensively beaten by South Africa and Australia respectively in 'real' cricket.

Sachin's run of 90s continue. The century eludes him.

After immense media speculation Inzamam announces his retirement from test cricket, PCB grant him a farewell match in the 2nd test against South Africa and hefty dollars as a farewell gift. Requiring 21 runs to go past Miandad's record for most test runs by a Pakistani, Inzy scores 14 and 3.

Kallis scores 3 centuries and a fifty in 4 innings on his return to the team.

The Indian cricket board along with other international boards and the ICC announce the launch of the IPL. McGrath, Warne, Fleming attend the launch along with Sachin, Saurav, and Dravid. Yousuf cancels ICL contract and signs with IPL. ICL threatens legal action. Inzamam says he wants to play both. BCCI threaten ICL linked players, refuse ICL players from practicing on their grounds, and take every step possible to sabotage ICL.

ICL is delayed due to 'teething' problems but Kapil Dev ensures it will get underway before the end of the year.

Kallis' amazing run in tests continues as he scores another two 100s against the Kiwis in 3 innings. The Proteas win the test and ODI series as Vettori's captaincy is questioned.

Q and Obaid launch WellPitched.

Pakistan prepares for a tour of India. Pakistan termed weakest team to travel to India. Shoaib Akhtar part of the team but Asif is injured. Younis takes over vice captaincy as Butt's form suffers. Dravid dropped from ODI squad as Indian media goes wild with conspiracy theories.

Sachin's run of 90s in ODIs continues with 2 in the series taking the count to 6 for the year. Malik looks lost. Misbah gets out scooping again. Rameez Raja questions Shahrukh Khan about his latest HIT and BCCI gets upset with SRK for promoting his movie during an ODI. Dhoni and Yuvraj fight over Deepika. Pakistani cricketers party with bollywood stars as Shoaib seeks role in an Indian movie. India win ODI series 3-2.

Anil Kumble named Indian test captain after Sachin declines and media speculates between Dhoni and Kumble. Misbah emerges as Pakistan's batting hero. Dravid and Yousuf lose form. Question marks over Malik's captaincy as he gives last 2 tests a miss. Younis captains, says he didnt pick XI, disagrees to captain for 3rd test, and captains again. Shoaib Akhtar plays all 3 tests despite not being fully fit in either of them. Ganguly ends as India's most successful batsman, scores his first double, and his 1st 100 on his home ground - what a comeback its been. Yuvraj finally gets a test and scores 169. Kumble is praised as India beat Pakistan in a test series at home after 30 years.

Australia beat the Lankans 2-0 in tests as Sangakkara scores a breathtaking 192 in the 2nd test. Aussies deny Murali world record on their soil. Murali's bad record against Australia continues.

The ICL gets underway. Entire tournament is played in 1 ground. 30 current and former internationals take part. Tournament is a huge success. Future looks bright. Claim that they did what they promised despite all the setbacks and without any support from BCCI or other bodies.

IPL future looks bleak due to packed international schedule. Aussies players get into a row with CA over their participation in IPL.

West Indies lose to Zimbabwe in the 1st ODI. Win the next 4.

England beat the Lankans in an ODI series in Sri Lanka 3-2. Lose the test series 1-0. What is happening? The English winning ODIs and losing tests 3rd time in the year - looks like the focus is finally shifting. 20 years too late?

Murali breaks Warne's record and becomes highest wicket taker in tests. Claims he wants to take a 1,000. Warne says he can do it. Sangakkara scores 152 and becomes only man to score over 150 in 4 consecutive tests. Moves to 1 in test rankings before Ponting regains his top spot without playing. How do the ratings work?

Australia regain Chappell-Hadlee Trophy as Ponting scores two 100s in the 2 ODIs that were played. Vettori questions batsmen. Hadlee and Fleming question Vettori.

India arrive in Australia for the "test series of the year". India is confident, Australia is well Australian. Kumble watches videos of batsmen. Dravid agrees to open. Warne calls Buchanan a goose. Gilchrist asks Warne to show some respect. Harbhajan says India happy to play Hogg. Ponting says he's happy that India's happy to play Hogg. Ganguly claims India ready for Lee. Australian selectors undecided over bowling attack. Laxman suggests India plays best against Australia. Stuart Clark hopes for bouncy wicket. Micheal Clarke confident of continuing good test form. Symonds wants to score heavily. Sachin says India is ready. Australia always is.

Thats been 2007 in cricket. Have I missed anything that deserves to be on this list?

Make your pitch on this post...


4 Pitched:

  1. amk said...

    Q as always a very through post. Love the mundane information included, “Dhoni and Yuvraj fight over Deepika”.
    Something worth adding I feel would be an analysis of last year’s rating or performance to this years. This I believe would illustrate the continued dominance of Australia and the continuing slide of the level of cricket in Sub continent (I mean in the “real” cricket the test level). That brings me to my point of lack of talent in sub continent especially Pakistan, or more precisely the way talented cricketers are lost in cracks of mis management. (that would i mean by screwing up, What happened to Moh’d Zahid)
    Another post could cover the nomination and selection of best and worst player in each form of cricket. It would be interesting see if anyone other than an Australian makes it to the final selection.
    Lastly I wanted to ask you a question, even though the first test has started and India has done well on the first day, I wanted your opinion on whether India has a chance to win a series or for that matter a test in Australia? What has changed from past series? It the same middle order, nearly the same attack. Only self confidence has improved, by beating Pakistan 1-0! Is that enough?

  2. Q said...

    Good suggestions AMK..I think a comparison of performances between 2006 and 2007 is a great idea. I'll work on one soon.

  3. Obaid said...

    Great post Q... I finally know who Deepika is now after watching Om Shanti Om over the weekend... well worth fighting over

  4. Q said...

    What did u think of OSO Obaid? I thought it was a total entertainer! If u understand more about bollywood and the gossip and rumours that do the rounds u wud njoy the movie more cause every dialogue is a dig at someone or something.

    Back to cricket. Didnt u see Deepika with SRK during the 20-20 final and Pak v Ind ODIs?

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