Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Twenty15 Line-up

With the last day’s play of the year approaching, Slipstream Cricket presents the cricketing XI of Twenty15 A.D.

1. Pink Ball 
30th November, 2015: The first ever ball bowled using a pink ball in international cricket. History was witnessed. It was well received and hopefully it will open up Test cricket to more audiences.
The First Pink Ball
2. Australia - The World Champions
At their home turf, Australia regained the World Cup, while New Zealand became everyone’s favorite second team. Special mention - The Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum’s letters requesting leave for his supporters & asking for Indian fans to support the Kiwis in the finals.

3. Picture of the Year 
Grant Elliott smashes Dale Steyn for a six and then comes down the pitch to offer his hand to the bowler who is lying flat on his back. A better picture for sportsmanship could hardly have come.

4. Corruption
The cricketing world continues to reel with corruption charges. Some more players and officials got banned. N Srinivasan, the ICC & BCCI chief honcho had to step down because of Supreme Court intervention. 2 IPL teams were suspended. A Test match was conducted by an independent judge. Chris Cairns faced a perjury trial in London where his own team-mates gave evidence against him. While he was acquitted, the charges made by the likes of McCullum, Vettori and Ponting do not really absolve him in the public eyes. And there were many other unfounded allegations. Mohammed Aamir is back after serving a 5-year ban and his own team-mates are not exactly happy on his return
The corruption net is only growing wider.

5. Safety First
Umpire Paschim Pathak wore a helmet while officiating in a Vijay Hazare Trophy match. Given the increasing number of on-field incidents it is a good idea and hopefully others will also emulate him.

6. Cricketing Promos
It was a great year for the cricket promotional campaigns with Star Sports mauka series and the Ashes promo “We didn’t start the fire" being standout ones.

7. The Afghan fairy tale continues
Afghanistan became the first Associate to beat a full member in a bilateral series by beating Zimbabwe. They continued their rise by breaking into the Top 10 of the ODI rankings by the year-end. They bring a ray of hope into the increasingly murky world of cricket. Certainly deserve Test Status alongwith Ireland.

8. Contest of the Year – Wahab Riaz vs Shane Watson
It was an attritional battle with Shane Watson managing to see through the Wahab Riaz spell in the World Cup Quarter-final. It was fiery and engrossing spell in the midst of an ordinary match.

9. The English Turnaround
England entered the World Cup and then made a quick exit after getting hammered by all and sundry. The whole cricketing world came as one to have a good laugh at the English expense with the likes of Malaysia, Singapore & Japan challenging them for a game on their return. But fortunes turned around as a revamped England ODI team started playing brave cricket and registering big victories. Brave cricket basically meaning selecting players who could belt the ball to all corners of the ground from the word go. A philosophy the rest of the world had adopted some 20 years back.

10. Comment of the Year
Kumara Sangakkara was an under-achiever – so said none other than his own father. All this after nearly 28, 000 international runs (:O)

11. Arbit Stat of the Year - 542
That is Adam Voges’s current batting average against the West Indies. A statistical anamoly which will get corrected in due course if West Indies start thinking about playing Test Cricket

12th Man - Ian Bell
The patron saint of Slipstream Cricket lost his Test place after announcing his ODI retirement. It will be a pity if this was the last that we had seen of him in international cricket. After all he does hold some unique records like being the highest ODI run-getter for England and the only English player to win the Ashes 5 times.

That’s all for the year. Wishing all readers a very Happy cricketing year 2016.

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