Rewind 2015: Highlights of the Cricket World

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The year 2015 saw an exciting series of events in the world of Cricket. From record-breaking series and the ICC World Cup, to match-fixing scams and retirement of legends – many events made headlines this year as we witnessed some of the most exciting matches and bid goodbye to some of our favorite players of the sport. The World Cup was not the only action-packed tournament that entertained us, as the year showcased some of the most spectacular series, some of which turned the entire international rankings of their respective formats.

As we prepare to move on to another exciting year, here is a timeline of events of the cricketing world in 2015.

January – The Big Bash League

The year kicked off with the continuation of the T20 extravaganza from the previous year, as the Big Bash League lasted for an additional two weeks than the previous season. The season saw yet another fierce competition among the teams, with the final match lasting till the last ball of the innings. Perth Scorchers defeated Sydney Sixers in the final by 4 wickets, retaining the title from last year.

16th January to 1st February – India and England in Australia tri-series

Speculated as the preparation series for the World Cup, the tri-series was hosted by the Australians just before the World Cup. Australia outshined the other two teams in the series, remaining undefeated throughout the series as India’s performance in the tournament was paltry. Australia defeated England in the final match, gaining the momentum that would eventually see them winning the world cup tournament ahead.

14th February to 29th March – The ICC World Cup

The international cricket calendar blasted off with one of the most anticipated events of the year. The tournament fittingly met the expectations of the fans, as it was one of the most robust and fierce event of all times. Australia won the final match, playing against New Zealand, reaching the top of the ICC ODIs ranking table and lifting the world cup for the fourth time in the history of the tournament. The series of events did not conclude with the last match of the tournament, as many cricketers retired post the world-cup, putting an end to some of the most spectacular careers in the game.

31st March – Daniel Vettori retires from international cricket

Daniel Vettori announced his retirement this year, putting an end to a wonderful career that saw him become the highest wicket-taker for his nation in the ODI format, with 305 wickets, and the second highest wicket-taker in the test format, with 262 wickets. The spinner bid adieu to the game shortly after the world cup.

March – Mahela Jayawardene retires from international cricket

The most capped ODI player for Sri Lanka – Mahela Jayawardene’s retirement came as no surprise, as the cricketer had announced his post world cup retirement last year. Retiring from the longer format of the game as well earlier last year, Jayawardene put an end to a spectacular career after his last match in the World Cup.

27th June – Kumar Sangakkara retires from international cricket

After retiring from the T20 format of the game, Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara announced his retirement from all formats of the game during the India vs. Sri Lanka test series. There were allegations that Sangakkara decision to retire came as a result of his unhappiness with the country’s cricket board, although the wicketkeeper-batsman chose to keep mum about it.

The “10 teams in the 2019 World Cup” controversy

The ICC had received much criticism for coming up with the decision that only the top 10 teams will participate in the 2019 edition of the world cup, even before the 2015 edition of the tournament had started. However, things heated up further earlier this year, when Ireland beat a test-playing nation for the third consecutive edition of the tournament, with new-comers Afghanistan also giving some scintillating performances in the tournament. Ireland skipper William Porterfield publicly criticized the organization’s money-influenced policies and continuous attempts to curb the associate nations during the world cup. ICC’s decision was not influenced by any of the criticism, as they chose to maintain their decision and stated maintenance of fierce competition in the tournament as the incentive of their decision.

8th July to 23rd August – The Ashes and Michael Clarke’s retirement

After a 5-0 whitewash of England in the previous series, Australia visited England for the Ashes as the favorites. However, things did not go well for the visitors, as England managed to win the series even before the final match was over, getting an unassailable 3-1 lead after the fourth test at Trent Bridge. Skipper Michael Clarke also announced his retirement, post the Ashes, from all forms of cricket after the fourth test concluded in Australia’s series loss, putting an end to a scintillating career that saw the rebuilding of the Australian cricket team.

31st August to 13th September – Australia’s tour of England

The series was highly anticipated by the cricket pundits, as Australia entered afresh with the wounds of losing the Ashes to the opponents lately, and the series was the first of the newly appointed skipper Steven Smith with the role of captaincy. Australia won the series against all odds, winning the final ODI at Old Trafford when it mattered the most. Although there was some controversy when Ben Stokes was given out for obstructing the field during the second ODI at Lord’s, the decision remained unturned.

9th September – Brad Haddin retires from international cricket

After retiring from ODIs after the world cup triumph earlier this year, the batsman retired from all formats of the game in the wake of the Ashes defeat. Although eclipsed by the excellence of Adam Gilchrist for the entirety of his career, the 37 year-old was acclaimed by the critics for being one of the best wicketkeeper batsman of his time.

7th November to 14th November – Cricket All-star series

A T20 exhibition cricket series hosted in the USA, the cricket all-star series was organized to popularize and promote cricket in America. The inaugural series of Cricket All-star, the three match tournament saw two teams led by Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar compete over the course of three matches. The matches were followed by many cricket enthusiasts, as they got a chance to see their favorite players play again after years. The series concluded with the Warne Warriors winning all the three matches of the series.

2nd October to 3rd December – South Africa tour of India

One of the most exciting series of the year, South Africa’s tour of India towards the end of the year saw some of the most scintillating knocks and controversies of the year. Although South Africa managed to clinch their first bilateral ODI series in India by scoring a mammoth 438 in the final  that included three tons from the South African players, India managed to get the better of them in the test series that concluded, whitewashing the team and clinching the 2nd position in the ICC test rankings. However, the test series had its fair share of controversies, as the condition of the pitches in all the matches received severe criticism for being molded to suit the spin-friendly bowlers of the Indian team, further supporting the popular opinion that the Indian pitches are altered to suit the home team on regular occasions.

Best catches of 2015

Arguably, the best part of watching the game of cricket are the athletic and exhilarating catches that boggle your eyes. While the players get to exhibit their athleticism on the field, the fans get to witness some amazing acrobats and jumps. This video reminded me how catches are meant to be taken:

The funniest moment of 2015

Apart from the spectacular shots and jaw-dropping knocks that we witness, the game of cricket also offers its fair share of funny moments that ease off the tension in the match and puts a smile on our faces. I found this compilation of a few such moments without which this digest would not be complete:

Even though 2015 was one of the most exciting years for cricket in recent times, one cannot help but wait for the invigorating trail of matches and tournaments lined up for next year. Hopefully, 2016 will overlook even more action than we got this year and we will witness some spectacular cricket matches and overturned ranking tables ahead.

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