Top Events From The Cricketing World In 2017
Sahil D Jain , 29th Dec, 2017 , 339
Sports & Games ENGLISH
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Another year has ticked off and a lot has happened on and off the field. Like most of the previous years, the year 2017 has had its fair share of surprises and it was an eventful year. There were some really wonderful moments and some bitter ones.
- Pakistan entered the Champions Trophy as the underdogs (they were No. 8 at the start of the tournament) and went onto to lift the title.
- Veteran pacer Ashish Nehra brought down curtains to an 18-year career.
- Rohit Sharma had a memorable year (where he shattered numerous records)
- Rangana Herath became the first left-arm spinner to take 400 Test wickets.
- Afghanistan and Ireland received Test status (becoming the 11th and 12th Test playing nations).
- Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan left a void in the Pakistan Test team as they retired in April.
But there were a few other events that had a greater impact. Hence, let’s have a look at the top events of the year 2017.
MS Dhoni gave up the limited-overs captaincy
We often relate Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a captain and a leader. A lot of them wouldn’t have imagined Dhoni playing as a player and not captaining the side.
However, Captain Cool shocked the world on the 4th of January this year as he decided to step down as captain of India’s limited-overs teams. He communicated this decision to the chairman of selectors MSK Prasad.
Dhoni in a press conference later revealed that this decision of giving up captaincy was on his mind since the South Africa series in 2015 at home. He was someone who believed that split captaincy doesn’t really work especially in India. Hence, he stated that he wanted to give Virat Kohli some time to get adjusted to the challenges of captaincy in the Test arena. Therefore, when he felt the time was right he requilished the captaincy.
Also, the timing of stepping down was also crucial as he stepped down just before the limited-overs leg of England’s tour to India started. That was the last ODI series India played before the Champions Trophy and thus, he wanted Kohli to get used to captaining the ODI format as well.
Dhoni did not have a farewell game as captain, but he was appointed as the captain of the India ‘A’ side which played England just before the ODI series. Dhoni scored a brutal 68 in his final game as captain.
Even though Dhoni is not the captain anymore, he is seen setting fields, given instructions to young spinners and also helping out Virat Kohli at crucial stages of the game.
International cricket returned to Pakistan
September 12th, 2017 is one date Pakistan cricket fans or any cricketers or the PCB will not forget in a long long time. It was a day when they could at least breathe easy as international cricket returned to Pakistan after 8 long years.
Since the dreadful day when the Sri Lankan team was attacked in 2009, no team had toured Pakistan. Zimbabwe went there in 2015 for a short series but it was not enough to revive cricket in the country. However, when Lahore hosted the PSL final earlier this year (2017) successfully it sent out a message that the country was ready to host international cricket.
ICC formed a World XI side with comprised of star players (which included Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Paul Collingwood among others) from around the world and they toured Pakistan for a 3-match T20I series. The Pakistan players were delighted that the players accepted the invitation to play in Pakistan.
Also, the welcome the players got was excellent. There were hoardings all around Lahore thanking the World XI players, the ICC and the PCB. The fans turned out in large numbers to celebrate cricket once again in Pakistan. The security was tight as ever as the series went about in a smooth manner as Pakistan pipped the star-studded World XI side 2-1.
This series led to Sri Lanka playing a lone T20I in Lahore and again it went about smoothly as both boards and the ICC were happy with the way the game panned out and they were also happy with the security provided.
The Ben Stokes Saga
Across formats, Ben Stokes is probably the best all-rounder going around in the world at the moment. He provides impeccable balance to the England side and is a key player in every format.
With Ashes looming large and England’s premier allrounder in prime form, Stokes was going to be one of the key players in England’s quest to retain the urn. However, mid-way through the ODI series against the touring Windies, Ben Stokes was involved in a 2.30 AM brawl in Bristol.
The Durham all-rounder was arrested on 25th September on suspicions of causing actual bodily harm in the brawl and was released under investigation. He allegedly punched a former soldier who is 26 years old. His team-mate Alex Hales was also with him when this incident broke out.
Hence, from the time Stokes got involved in this brawl, he is suspended from the England team until the investigation is over. The absence of Stokes from the England team has hurt them badly as it not only affected their balance but the team also lost an experienced and a vital player.
With the investigation still on, it is uncertain when we would see Ben Stokes in England colours again as some sort of disciplinary action is certain once the investigation is done.
James Anderson enters the 500-club and goes past Courtney Walsh
James Anderson is currently one of the best fast bowlers in Test cricket. He started the year with a tally of 467 Test wickets to his name and with England expected to play about 11 Tests in 2017, it was almost certain that if Anderson stays injury-free and plays most of these Test matches, he would get to the 500-wicket landmark.
And that was exactly the case. Against West Indies at Lord’s, the 35-year old fast bowler from Burnley castled Kraigg Braithwaite to pick up his 500th Test wicket. A feat which only 5 other bowlers have achieved. Also, he became the 3rd fast bowler to enter the 500-wicket club.
With only Courtney Walsh (519) and Glenn McGrath ahead of him (563), Anderson started the Ashes at 506 wickets and was just 14 away from overtaking Walsh’s tally. He took 12 wickets in 3 Tests and then came the Boxing Day Test at the MCG (which is currently ongoing).
He first scalped David Warner on Day 1 to equal the great West Indian’s tally and then on Day 2, he picked up Tim Paine to go past Walsh. He moved to number 5 on the list of all-time leading wicket-takers in Tests and is currently only second to McGrath when it comes to fast bowlers.
The Kohli-Kumble rift
This is a rather bitter and unfortunate event that was headlined in 2017. Anil Kumble is one of the greatest match-winners to have played for India and Virat Kohli is undoubtedly one of the modern day legends. And when Kumble was appointed as coach in June 2016, there was a lot of belief and a great sense of optimism around the team.
However, about a year into the coach-captain relation, things started to drift away. The rumours started that there’s a rift between Kohli and Kumble and the two weren’t on the same page when India went to England in June this year. It was under wraps throughout the Champions Trophy. However, as soon as the tournament was over, Kumble decided to step down which confirmed the differences between the two.
Kumble, in a statement which he submitted to the BCCI, cited the reason that Kohli, the captain was unhappy with his style of coaching and hence, that prompted his decision to quit.
Even though Kumble’s tenure ended on a bitter note, his reign as coach was one of the most successful ones for India. They won every series under him (in all formats). But it is opinioned that the former legspinner was a hard taskmaster and Kohli was unhappy with Kumble's 'overbearing' style of functioning. Also, there were differences in opinion in matters around the team selection.
Hence, all these factors might have led to Kumble resignation as the coach of the Indian cricket team.
Women’s World Cup
2017 was certainly the breakthrough year for women’s cricket. Not only did the women show that they were improving in every aspect, it made the world sit up, take notice and make note that the women’s game is as competitive as the men’s (in its own way though).
One of the main reasons for women’s cricket so much (deserved) attention was the World Cup. It was a stage where some immensely talent cricketers showcased what they’re made of. In the mega-event, we witnessed literally everything – big hitting, excellent fast bowling, quality spinner and some very good fielding as well.
India and England played the first and the last game (The Final) of the tournament. Both teams were very good throughout the tournament and it was eventually England who managed to hold their nerve to win a thrilling final by 9 runs.
The biggest benefit the women’s game got was the mega-tournament was televised and streamed online in many countries. The tournament was watched by over 180 million people across the globe which is a staggering number. That’s not all, the final which was played between England and India was the most watched women’s sporting event in India. The social media was constantly used by people to express their views on every game - #WWC17 was one of the most trending hashtags during the mega-event.
The World Cup certainly showed that the women’s game has grown leaps and bounds and it deserves recognition and attention.
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