It will be an understatement to suggest that 2014 has been an eventful year for the game of cricket. The sport has seen some dramatic events at its administrative level that has had some lauding it, while others gasping at the turn of events. Off the field, controversies, fall from grace, a tell all saga, everything has ensued. On the field has been no less dramatic. Certain teams creating history, some becoming one. It has all happened in a space of twelve months. Here are the five stories that defined cricket for me in 2014.
(5) David v/s Goliath: A state that doesn’t even have its own cricket team, a state that ranks lowest in HDI in India. A state whose political structure is as volatile as a ticking bomb, decided to take on the mess ensuing at the BCCI. Truly a David v/s Goliath battle where the supreme court of the nation had to step in. A commission being formed and charges of corruption, conflict of interest, match fixing all being probed upon. That sealed letter containing names of the guilty is probably the mother of all revelations we all are waiting for.
(4) Long time coming: England being ‘BOUNCED’ out by India. MSD walking home with the honors of leading a below par bowling side to victory at the mecca of cricket. The backdrop of the Anderson-Jadeja controversy adding to the final result. Team India winning a Test match at Lords after 84 years. Probably this was the highest point for MSD’s flagging Test captaincy career.
(3) The Open secret: The crackdown by the ICC on chucking had tongues wagging. Conspiracy theories came to the fore. Of course by Pakistani fans. Was this a ploy by Srinivasan to ensure that India had a clear run at the next world cup? The irony is only months earlier, Stuart Broad was forced to apologize to Ajmal for calling him chucker.
(2) The Jewel in the Crown: The greatest cricketer to adorn the whites and the colored uniforms was awarded India’s highest civilian honor in February 2014. Seven months later, his tell all autobiography ‘Playing it my way’ shattered all records by being a sellout. No wonder then not everyone can even dream of being ‘Sachin Tendulkar’.
(1) 63 not out: The worst feeling in the world is to bury one’s own child. Phil Hughes is gone and will never come back. The outpour that followed proved that sportsmen around the world are an emotional bunch of people. The mark of tribute by billions around the world to commemorate Phil and his contribution to the game ensued a trillion tears around the globe.
There indeed were other stories that made headlines in cricket. Many might argue that not many on the field achievements have not featured in the top five. These were my pick of events that defined the game in 2014. The other moments that did not make the cut were ‘Sri Lanka winning the T20 World Cup’, Australia defeating the Proteas at the African den and Kevin Pietersen creating a huge furor with his autobiography.