It’s time to bid farewell to 2019, For Indian cricket fans around the world there were some spectacular moments throughout the year, there were some lows as well. The Indian team started the year with their first-ever Test series win on Australian soil. Now, the Australian team was deprived of Smith and Warner but nonetheless they still had one of the best bowling attacks going around. Beating Australia in Australia was special and that remained the highest point.
There was a low as well, India looked like a force to be reckoned with as it does in every ICC tournament and then there was heartbreak for the fans. They lost to New Zealand, early wickets fell and once again the dream to win another World Cup came to a screeching halt.
There were positive developments for the team as well. End of 2018 saw the resurgence of Mayank Agarwal. In the year that followed, the Karnataka batsman scored a whopping 754 runs at an average of 68.54. There was another site that was not witnessed before, Jasprit Bumrah had outfoxed batsmen all around the world. He landed in West Indies and was knocking over stumps just for fun. There was a time when the West Indies bowling attack had terrorized batsmen all around the world. To witness Jasprit Bumrah do the same was a sight for sore eyes.
2019 also brings to an end, a decade of Indian cricket. Many of us grew up in this decade watching the modern masters dominate the game and take the Indian cricket to new heights. The last 10 years can be rightfully termed as a ‘decade of Dominance’ for Indian Cricket in ODIs. India wrapped up the series against West Indies 2-1, this was their 9th consecutive ODI series win against West Indies starting from 2007.
Dhoni, Kohli and Rohit carried the team forward
Overall Indian team won 157 One day matches in the last 10 years, having the best win percentage of 63.05%. The men in Blue won 35 ODI series between 2010 and 2019. Australia and England are next with 32 and 30 wins respectively. Many heroes achieved these victories but there were three individuals in particular; Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni
20960 runs, 56 Man of the Match awards, 7 Test double centuries and 69 centuries. India’s run-machine Virat Kohli finished 2019 and the decade with most runs across formats for any batsman. Under Virat Kohli, India regained their number one Test spot and won their first-ever Test series on Australian soil.
Though Virat has been eluded his maiden ICC trophy, India leads the points table for World Test Championship. If skipper’s intensity, his hunger for runs and India’s Test team are any indicators, India will qualify for the final set to be played in June 2021.
2010 began with MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli being as two pillars in white-ball cricket but there was a third name that rose to the ranks and has now established himself as a world-class batsman. Rohit Sharma or Ro-hitman- Sharma. A reputation he has acquired after scoring over 10000 runs, 28 centuries and 3 double tons in One Day games. Rohit scored a total of 10 ODI centuries in 2019 alone, five of which came in the ICC 2019 World Cup.
From being continuously questioned for his spot in the Indian team to being a star performer across all formats and being Virat Kohli’s deputy in white-ball cricket, Rohit has come a long way. The tail end of 2019 has also seemed his coming of age as an opener in the whites.
“Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lifts the world cup after 28 years..”. Any cricket fan worth his salt just read this with Ravi Shastri’s voice. MS Dhoni lead India to ICC World Cup title in 2011, ICC Champions trophy in 2013 and number one position in Test matches.
With over 12000 runs in over 350 ODIs, Dhoni batted at slots between positions 5 to 7 for the most part of his career but still maintained a career average of over 50.58. This comes because of the total number of times he stayed not out and India won all the matches except for one occasion (as of January 2019).
Dhoni will go down in history as one of the most successful captains and the best wicketkeeper finishers of the game. He has been on a sabbatical from cricket since 2019 and has remained silent on his future. However, fans are still hoping for one last dramatic finish perhaps in Australia next year.
Rise of Jasprit Bumrah towards the second half of the decade
The latter half of the decade has also seen the rise of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya as India’s solution to its seemingly perpetual problems of a gun Death bowler and fast bowling all-rounder. As reiterated time and again Bumrah’s ability to hit yorkers is unparalleled but it was his resurgence as a Test bowler that sets him apart from anybody else. It took him just 12 matches to claim the number one Test ranking.
Along with these, there were unsung heroes of red call cricket; Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin. Most of them were part of India’s white-ball set up at one point or the other but then donned the white jersey and were instrumental in India’s success in the format.
Pujara, in particular, has been very impressive. The Saurashtra batsman has scored over 5700 runs at an average of over 48 after making his Test debut back in 2010 against Australia. It was during these 10 years that the Indian team won an ODI series in Australia and South Africa for the first time. It won an ODI series in England after 24 years and won the Asia Cup in 2011 and 2018.
2020 brings with it new challenges and with challenges come new opportunities. From Sachin to Kohli, Zaheer to Bumrah to “Dhoni hai naa jeet jaayenge..” we all grew up.
~ By Anmol Ahuja
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