The year 2016 has seen its fair share of highs and lows amongst the cricketing fraternity. Here is a look at some of the moments which left the audiences spellbound and raised a few eyebrows but nevertheless lauded by the ardent followers of the game.
10. Consistent top order
Runs at the top has always been an issue for India in the longest format of the game. While Murali Vijay has been successful in steadying the ship and holding up at one end, it had been a matter of grave concern that the others had not quite got their footing right. But KL Rahul and Pujara, along with Murali Vijay have been consistently amongst the runs and ensuring that a strong foundation is laid for the batsmen lower down the order.
9. Virat Kohli's IPL run feast
At the start of the year, during the ODI Series at Australia, Virat was quite scratchy and struggling to get amongst the runs, but come the IPL and the Indian Test skipper silenced his critics in the grandest of fashion breaching the 900-run mark in this season with as many as three tons to his name. It is noteworthy that this was the first ever instance of a 900+ in a single season.
8. Ashwin lords over the rest
It was indeed a year to remember for the spin wizard of India, Ravi Ashwin who is at the top of game with glittering performances all year long. In the process he went on to collect as many as four Man of the Series Awards, propelling him to the top of the ladder with six Man of the Series awards in a little over 40 games edging past Sehwag and Tendulkar's tally of five in triple the number of games.
7. Virat's royal triple
This year marked the first ever double hundred for the Indian captain Virat Kohli. For little did we know that the maestro wasn’t finished yet. He went on to register two more scores in excess of 200, making him the first Indian in the history to score three double hundreds in a calendar year further propelling his status amongst the masses.
6. Ashwin breaks the status quo
Ashwin's dream run continued all year long with heavy match winning performances all round with both the bat and the ball. The cherry on top moment came when he was accorded with the ICC Cricketer of the year and the ICC Test Player of the year Award which is the first instance when an Indian has went on top to receive both the awards in the same calendar year.
5. Karun's 303*
For a man with an uncertain future and fighting for his place in the side, Karun Nair had pulled out an innings of great proportions and it takes immense courage and willpower to achieve a feat as good as this. Although this moment came at the fag end of the series with India already having clinched the series, he has sent out a strong statement to the selectors and is here to stay for a long long time to come.
4. India's unbeaten 18 game streak
With every player in the 11 barring a few being in sublime form, it was only inevitable for Team India to break a plethora of records and boy did they make a merry run of it. This also meant that India would extend their unbeaten streak to 18 games which is the longest reign in the Indian history.
3. India clinch the crown
With record breaking performances and individual brilliances, India were very much on their way edging past opponents that came their way and steadily climbing the ranking ladder to finish the year at the top and in the process winning the Test mace and very much in contention to participate in the inaugural Test Championship to be held in England.
2. India emerge victorious in the first Asia Cup held in T20 format
In the wake of a disastrous ODI series in Australia, India were able to salvage some pride by running rampage on its subcontinent counterparts by defeating the hosts Bangladesh in the finals to clinch the first ever Asia Cup played in the 20 over format and winning the event for a record 6th time.
1. On top of the world!
It is not very often that you see the top two ranks in the charts being held by cricketers of the same nation, hence it is indeed a matter of privilege to be able to witness Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja sitting merry at the top holding spots 1 and 2 in Tests respectively making the country and the devout followers of the game extremely proud.