Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

As far as cricket is concerned, 2008 has ended with a BANG!

The last 30 days of cricket saw 387 being chased, 414 being chased, and the last day of the year might just see 521 being chased as well.

A 2-0 series victory over Australia IN Australia is stuff of dreams but Graeme Smith and his men turned it into reality.

Elsewhere Bangladesh are dreaming of chasing down 521 in a side that includes Muralitharan.

Muralitharan might become "Murali who?" in a couple of years as Ajantha Mendis puts on the boots of the world's leading spinner. Can he even be called a spinner? Who knows. His was most definitely the most exciting debut of the year - 26 wickets in his first 3 tests, an average of around 10 in tests and ODIs, 6-fors, 10-fors, leggies, googlies, offies, doosras, flippers, straighters, shooters, they were all there!

A general leading an army of a french man, a nazi, and a white man named after a prophet, all coming together with a Muslim sporting a long beard who comes in for the final touches can make for a telling Hollywood movie. Or even a Bollywood one.

But this combination came together in the form of South Africa as Graeme Smith led his charges to victory over the Australians. The cast included Jean-Paul Duminy, Dale Steyn, Abraham De Villiers, and Hashim Amla hitting the winning runs!

If this is all tha cricket brought to you, it would have been QUITE THE YEAR.

But wait there was the IPL.

The Indian Premier League.

It seems ages ago when that took place. So much has happened since, but looking back the IPL was probably the biggest cricket event of the year.

Or was it South Africa's victory over Australia?

Or maybe India's over Australia?

Or was it Ganguly's retirement.

Lets just say the IPL was the most hyped and most exciting and looked forward to cricket event of the year.

Cricket teams with names like Knight Riders and Chargers, Gilchrist and Warne leading Indian domestic sides owned by Indian businessmen and corporates, West Indian allrounders flying back home in corporate jets, golden helmets, Ponting and Ganguly playing for the same team and Ganguly captaining it, Shoaib Akhtar in the arms of Shahrukh Khan, Priety Zinta cheering on Yuvraj Singh, Cheerleaders without much clothes, Dravid being the best 20-20 player on his team, last ball wins, 8 franchises cricket teams, and lots more.

Surely the IPL was BIG.

Damn 2008 was big for cricket.

If one thought Maradona had drug problems once just needs to take a look at Mohammad Asif.

Who you may wonder.

Yes for once besides Shoaib Akhtar, Pakistan cricket has a more disgraceful member. Not once, not twice, but thrice caught in a drugs controversy. Wonder what he's been smoking!

Pakistan didn't play much test cricket this year. Actually they didn't play any. Bangladesh on the other hand played quite a bit and even produced one hell of a test cricketer.

Shakib Al Hasan can bowl, he can bat, he can field, he can do everything. Right now, he's trying to do the impossible. He's a player.

My player of the year!

Harbhajan had quite a year too. He called one cricketer a monkey, slapped another one, got into a verbal war with another, captained a team, got banned for one incident, escaped punishment for another, played some useful innings, took some useful wickets. On top he remains the only one with a secure career ahead with the one called a monkey, the one slapped, and the one verbally abused staring down the barrel.

Australia must have though that the Sachin that hit them in Sharjah in 1998 must have been a once in a lifetime occurrence. But it hit them again. It hit them a decade later as India won the CB series down under.

Bad year for Australia!

2 losses at Perth, a loss at home after 16 years, 2 series losses in between a cakewalk over he Kiwis. Things not looking good.

Ponting, Dravid, Kallis, the 3 big ones of test cricket had miserable years with the bat. But they all ended 2008 on a bright note. A near 2 centuries in the same test, a 100 after almost 20 innings, and 2 fifities in a victory over Australia and all 3 leave 2008 with us wondering whether there's plenty to follow from their blades or is this the final flicker before the candles blow out.

I still can't decide which series results were more shocking than the others. I'm talking about ODIs here, not tests. West Indies beating Sri Lanka 2-0 at home was shocking but then England thumping South Africa 4-0 was even more so.

But I think Pakistan trouncing Zimbabwe and Bangladesh 5-0 takes the pie here. Sure Pakistan were expected to win the series' but not losing even 1 game? Thats an achievement.

Speaking of pies, KP and the Pie Chucker seem to have a nice rivalry going. Wonder what all that is about? Strangely its about their bowling, which for both is only a part time past time.

The year saw 17 runs scored in the last over for a win on more than one occasion - Akmal and Warne come to mind and both play for the Rajasthan Royals. I'm sure there was atleast one more.

Chanderpaul's 10 was memorable. I expected anyone, really anyone to do it, but Chanderpaul? He's not a 6 hitter. And he's averaging over a 100 this year in test cricket. Lara's retirement has taken him to a whole new level.

What a year its been this 2008. For cricket that is.

387 was chased easily. 414 was chased easily. Will 521 be chased easily as well?

Stanford came, Stanford embarassed, Stanford made millionaires, Stanford left. Easy come easy go. Gayle is pleased though.

Everyone called India the new force to reckon with but everyone forgot that Sri Lanka beat them 2-1 in tests and also beat them in the final of the Asia Cup.

No, actually Mendis beat them.

Mendis the is new force to reckon with! Not India!

India is not far behind though.

Sehwag and Gambhir lit up the IPL. They lit up ODI cricket as well. And when Gambhir made it to the test XI, they lit up test cricket as well.

Move over Gordon & Desmond, move over Matthew & Justin, its Virender & Gautam time!

Oh wait there's Graeme & Niel waiting in the wings too.

Shakib just got out. Damn! He didn't get his 100. 521 looks unlikely now. That begs the question - did it ever look likely?

Ganguly retired. Kumble retired. Pollock retired. Dravid didn't. Hayden didn't.

Micheal Hussey got a duck!

Yes that happened this year.

That was the biggest cricket event of the year.

He had never gotten a duck in his first 3 years of test cricket. He got 1 this year and then got 3 more! He's human after all.

Dale Steyn joined legends after his 10-for against the Aussies. Big year it was for him and probably the first of many more.

Inzamam Ul Haq actually led a team to a title. Finally. After 18 years of international cricket and over 2 decades of domestic cricket, Inzamam had never led a team to a victory in an event involving more than 3 teams. It happened in 2008!

2008 was BIG.

KP became captain this year. Finally after going through the Strausses, Flintoffs, and Collingwoods, its time the English got a stable one after Vaughan. Actually Vaughan was never a stable one either.

The lost 5-0 to India in ODIs. And beat South Africa 4-0.

Thats cricket for you.

South Africa didn't lose a test series this year. Hell niether did Pakistan!

Its a different thing that they didn't play any.

Despite the mess the world seems to be in both economically, politically, and security-wise, cricket marched on during 2008.

There was definitely a lot more that happened during the year, which I might have missed out on but these were just the top of my head thoughts.

Thank you readers for being with us all year.

May you, we, everyone have an even better 2009.

Happy New Year!

Make your pitch on this post...


15 Pitched:

  1. Ottayan said...

    Happy New Year to one and all.

  2. Hitesh said...

    Happy New Year my Brother.

    I wanted to link exchange with you. I have added your blog in my forum links. Would be happy if you too can link me.

    I have added your site at;cat=1

  3. Gonzo Cricketer said...

    who is the nazi?

  4. Som said...

    A Happy New Year Q.
    And hey, here is your New Year gift. "Mail Today", an Indian daily published from Delhi (a collaboration between India Today and UK's Daily Mail), carried excerpts from one of your posts. Following the link and zoom in to the bottom right corner.

    Happy blogging.

  5. Wasim said...

    Happy new year Q.

  6. Srinivasarao Vundavalli said...

    wish you all happy new year..

  7. Som said...

    Q, forgot to say. See page no. 40, right bottom corner.

  8. Soulberry said...

    New year greeting to you Q and the team at

  9. Naked Cricket said...

    That was funny - the bhajji bit, the pak didn't lose a game bit, and the bits in between.

    Happy New Year Q and friends, cheers.

  10. Straight Point said...

    happy new year to you and WP team...

  11. Q said...

    Thank u for all the wishes guys. Hope u all entered 2009 on a high!

  12. Q said...

    Hitesh, thanks man. Will blog roll u soon.

  13. Q said...

    Gonzo - Dale Steyn.. doesn't he look like a nazi?

  14. Q said...

    Som, thanks for pointing it out. Made my day! Surely a great new years gift.

  15. Q said...

    Thanks NC!

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