India’s 2010 cricket calendar began with a tour to neighbouring Bangladesh in January. Virender Sehwag started proceedings by calling the Bangladeshis an “ordinary side, that wasn’t good enough to take 20 wickets”. His straightforward comments received flak after Bangladesh’s first innings performance, but that didn’t deter Viru, who followed up with an ‘I-told-you-so’ when India coasted to victory at Chittagong.
India went on to win the Test series 2-0, but it was a series more in the news for injuries than on-field brilliance. Skipper Dhoni missed the first test due to a back strain. VVS Laxman then returned to India after injuring his finger while dropping a catch in the 1st Test.
India did manage to return the innings defeat in the 2nd Test at the Eden Gardens with Sehwag, Sachin, Laxman and Harbhajan all coming to the party. The following ODI series went India’s way with a 2-1 victory over the South Africans. It was a series that will be remembered for one reason alone - Sachin Tendulkar’s 200 not out in Gwalior – the first ever double century in limited overs cricket. The feat cemented the batting great’s ‘God-like’ status.
In March, the Indian Premier League returned home in its third season with DLF maximums, Karbon kamaal catches, Citi moments of success and MRF blimps – all in tow. The ad overkill aside, IPL 3 saw the resurgence of the Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai Indians. Things were too good to be true for the table toppers who then slipped in the final giving Chennai Super Kings their first Indian Premier League trophy.
Well, Dhoni did manage to lay his hands on the silverware, but not before a little slip-of-the-tongue landed him in Chennai’s ‘red light areas’. Check this out
The bigger story of the IPL was however, off the field – in the world of micro-blogging to be precise. The IPL held auctions for two new teams that were to debut in IPL 4.
Sahara bagged Pune and a consortium led by Rendevouz Group won a bid for Kochi. After the media reported that the IPL had raised questions over Kochi's shareholding pattern, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi then tweeted details of the stakeholders in the new Kochi IPL team that was sold for Rs 1530 crore.
Modi claimed that Sunanda Pushkar, a close associate of the then Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, owned 18 per cent free equity of the franchise. Shashi Tharoor, denied any personal stake in the Kochi team and insisted his role was only of a mentor.
The tweet controversy snowballed and ultimately Tharoor was asked to put in his papers.
Lalit Modi was subsequently suspended from his role as IPL commissioner and with accusations coming thick and fast since then, the BCCI are yet to decide on Modi’s future.
Dhoni and co headed to the West Indies soon after the IPL for the Twenty20 World Cup, but they had to pack their bags for back home, sooner than they would have wanted. Knocked out by Sri Lanka in the super eight stage, the beleaguered Indian team did not exactly distinguish themselves when some of them got involved in a pub brawl.
England went on to win the Twenty20 World Cup after defeating arch-rivals Australia in the final at Barbados.
Next up was Zimbabwe, where India was to play an ODI tri-series with the hosts and who else but Sri Lanka. The Indian selectors decided to test bench strength by sending across a largely second-string team led by Suresh Raina. The Indians technique (or lack of it) was exposed as they suffered two defeats to minnows Zimbabwe.
The series saw interest in the gentleman’s game at an all time low. So much so that many wouldn’t remember the two T20 internationals India won in Zimbabwe before heading home.
The Indian limited-overs side finally came good in the Asia Cup held in Dambulla, Sri Lanka. A thrilling finish to the India-Pakistan encounter, courtesy Harbhajan Singh’s last minute heroics, managed to draw back some interest to the sport.
India then defeated the Lankans in the Asia Cup final to end a 15-year draught and round up the Indian Cricket Team’s first half of the year.
No prizes for guessing where the Indian team is headed next – Sri Lanka, but of course! Guess they’re taking the whole ‘love thy neighbour’ concept a little too seriously.
Check out some of my earlier posts on cricket: