Best cricketing moments of 2011Ganeshbabu Venkat |
Towards the end of last year we shared some top moments picked solely by me, This year we wanted to do it differently and decided to pick the top moment of our CW staff members. Three Englishmen, an Irishman, a Kiwi and an Indian contributed to this exercise and relived their top moments of the year in their own words. Of course the English were overjoyed with the Ashes, the Indian whitewash and county cricket, the Irishman with the defeat of England in the World Cup, the Kiwi was elated with beating Australia and for the Indian fan winning the world cup was the ultimate Nirvana. Here is the list in no particular order.
Dave Wilson – Features coordinator and the stats man loves technology and has his take on the Ashes winning moment.
I love technology. The recent proud owner of an iPhone complete with a little app called TuneIn Radio, which would enable me to listen to easy listening taxi music from Paris, prog rock from Arizona but, most importantly BBC Radio Five Live, home of Test Match Special, I waited in eager anticipation for the Ashes to begin.
So there I was, driving down the road after work on a beautiful California day in late November, listening to the Ashes build-up and sneering at the non-cricket loving Americans as I drove by; philistines. And so to the play – three balls later and Strauss is out and I almost drive off the road; un-effin-believable. I arrive home, pull out the laptop, fumble with the HDMI cable to the widescreen TV and tune in to Willow cricket, where for the paltry sum of $75 I can enjoy all five Tests live; I love technology. And what do I see? A hat-trick from the Aussie slug-balancer Peter Siddle – un-effin-believable. Eff him and his birthday.
Day two and after posting on facebook that I was enjoying being in a time zone which enabled me to watch cricket live in Australia in the evening, then fending off replies from people asking me what I was doing in Australia (“You promised me a lift to work tomorrow!” – did I say I love technology?) – here I am rushing home again and we’re looking good – Australia are 140-odd for five, then Haddin and Hussey get together, putting on 300 into day three. Un-effin-believable. Eff the pair of them.
Yet it was a mere two days later that the moment of the Ashes occurred for me – seeing the scoreboard at 517-1 on the final day, having watched Alastair Cook begin to blossom into the full flower of greatness and knowing, after so many ups and downs in a single match, that everything was going to be alright – and that I’d get to see it – live; and it seemed as if that moment lasted right through to the fifth Test, which was of course played in 2011. When England won, 3-1. I love technology.
Martin Chandler – The historian and top feature writer of CW is absolutely elated with the Ashes triumph, Indian white wash and of course Lancashire’s triumph.
Anno Domini 2011 was a great year for English cricket – retaining the Ashes in Australia, emphatically, followed by a clean sweep against India was everything a patriotic Englishman could have wanted. The last time we won in Australia was nearly a quarter of a century ago, and in the last 77 years Andrew Strauss’ team was only the fifth to achieve the distinction.
Back home it was 1974 that India were last whitewashed, and before that in 1967 and 1959. Prior to that only the weather had prevented similar outcomes to the series contested in 1936 and 1952 as well so, again, this was something that had happened occasionally after 1934.
Both victories tasted very very sweet but neither, for me, comes within a bull’s roar of that which was confirmed in the late afternoon of Thursday 15th September when first Paul Horton and Stephen Moore, and then Steven Croft and Karl Brown made scoring 213 in 29.1 overs look like the proverbial walk in the park. That win brought about an event that every Lancashire cricket follower knew all too well had not occurred since 1934, so my top cricketing moment of 2011 was the end of the 77 years of hurt.
Hey Lanky Lanky ….
Jake Howe- The young Turk of CW captures a “deja-vu” moment during the Test series against India.
“Two minutes before lunch on the first day and this game could almost be over already. Bresnan has clean-bowled Dravid with an absolute jaffa. That’s as good a ball as we’ll see all match long, and it needed to be to do for the Wall. It straightened up off the pitch, ripping off the seam and beating the outside edge of Dravid’s broad bat, then crashed into off stump. India’s top-order have been routed”
It’s a fine day to be an England fan. For me it’s one of the best days of the summer. I’ve ignored the pillar of smoke over Birmingham that the previous night’s riots have caused, as I’m determined to enjoy the first time I’ve been to a Test with my Dad.
England are making it easy for me. From somewhere, they are storming into cricket’s hall of fame and I’m going to witness it first hand. Winning the match that starts today will have them as the finest Test side in the world. They’ve made a top start with three wickets in the opening session. The fans are in full voice. It’s sublime.
Tim Bresnan has the ball. One of my long-term favourites, perennially underrated and unfairly dismissed, yet improved out of sight anyway, until he’s forced the cricketing community to respect. He’s strong, versatile, fit, selfless and outstandingly human. Oh, and he’s one of the best seam bowlers in the world.
At the other end stands Rahul Dravid. Not only a legend of the modern era, but the year’s best batsman. One whose unyeilding resolve and orthodox elegance has earned him two centuries from the first two matches of the series, almost alone in the face of a beating.
And then there’s a crash of ash.
James Nixon – Our Tireless owner finally has something to celebrate against the Aussies after 19 years.
The Black Caps ended the year in fine fashion. Following a less than convincing series victory over Zimbabwe a few weeks prior, a lot of fans myself included didn’t expect them to trouble a new look Australian side on their home turf having last won a Test there 26 years ago.The first Test followed an all to similar path with Australia cruising to victory in the end by 9 wickets with new look stars Pattinson and Lyon causing most of the damage.
It was back to the drawing board for the second Test in Hobart. The Test got off to the worst possible start when Vettori was ruled out in the warm up with a hamstring injury. It got even worse however when the Black Caps slipped to 150 all out. A repeat of Brisbane seemed on the cards but the Aussies also struggled on the green Hobart patch and the Black Caps took a 14-run lead into the second innings.
The Kiwis fought hard in the 2nd innings making 226 and setting Australia 240 to win in the process. It was felt by most involved that they were 75-100 short of a winning total and when Australia were 2-150 the match looked over, but amazingly Bracewell did what he did in the Test win over Zimbabwe and tore apart the Australian middle and lower order to finish with 6-40 from 17 overs.
It meant New Zealand had beaten Australia for the first time in Australia since 1985 with the last Test win coming over them in 1993. A long time between drinks it was with a lot of New Zealanders looking upon it as a bigger achievement than the World Cup Rugby win.A home series against Zimbabwe and South Africa follows in the new year with the chance for Black Caps fans to see the new fast bowling hero Doug Bracewell on home turf for the first time in international colours. An exciting new year awaits.
William Quinn – The Irish man talks about the biggest upset of the 2011 World Cup
There was only ever one contender for my cricketing moment of 2011. Nothing could come close to Ireland beating England at the World Cup. Ireland were completely out of the game at 111/5 chasing the daunting total of 328 in the group game. Nasser Hussain was in the middle of a rant about how Associates ought to be excluded from the World Cup because such one-sided games were ruining it for spectators. Kevin O’Brien, when asked afterwards whether he thought they had a chance when he arrived at the crease, replied, “Honestly, no.” I suspect I may have been the only one still watching.
Perhaps that was why he felt able to bat so freely, and he promptly demolished the English attack, hitting six sixes and reaching his hundred off fifty balls, the fastest in World Cup history. And it seemed bloody quick too, the mood of the match going from “well, that’s the game” to “it’s nice to get some consolation” to “Jesus, Ireland are favourites here!” in the blink of an eye. Watching us scrape together the final few runs after O’Brien got out may be the most nerve-wracking moment of my life.
Irish sport has a habit of throwing up dramatic fairytales, but this one was especially cheesy. We’d never beaten England before, despite coming agonisingly close in Belfast the previous year and having an excellent shot at it killed by rain in a T20 game in the West Indies, in a tournament the English went on to win. Few gave Ireland a chance before the game, let alone at 111/5. My Dad compared it to England beating Ireland at hurling, a prospect so vile that it would surely drive him into a deep and permanent depression.
As an obscenely cricket-obsessed Irishman living in England with three Englishmen, it’s difficult to conceive of a more enjoyable sporting experience. I’ve pretty much spent the remainder of the year basking in the residual afterglow of that one incident. It was, beyond all doubt, the greatest thing ever to happen on a cricket field. And it will remain so until the day when Ireland win the World Cup. Which, of course, seems absurdly unlikely. But that’s never stopped us before!
Finally Yours Truly
The World Cup 2011 will have a special place in my heart for I had the privilege and opportunity to cover it for Cricket Web. Even after nine months I’m not sure what that experience meant to me or will mean to me for the rest of my life, But I can vouch that it will probably be one of the moments I will cherish forever. I was unfortunate not to witness the finals in person since I had to come back to the United States, the next day.
However right from the moment I was in the press box for the West Indies – England game, It was an experience to remember till I bid adieu to the World Cup at Mohali.
The 28 year wait was finally over. I was proud as an Indian that a team that had taken me through an emotional roller coaster for a long time had won the World Cup. There was massive pressure and expectation and nothing short of this would have satisfied the Indian public. The World cup had its moments and I was lucky enough to witness five games.
Two moments stand out for me from the World Cup. You could hear a pin drop in Motera when M.S.Dhoni got out, The pressure was visible on the Indian faces and when Yuvraj hit that winning boundary there was this ultimate relief with Euphoria. The second moment was just the icing on the cake, Dhoni launching Nuwan Kulasekara’s ball in to orbit to clinch glory. For a man who walked in the 2007 World Cup to an LBW decision it was a sweet revenge. He was not only orchestrating the greatest triumph in the history of Indian cricket, in the process was exorcising the ghosts of the 2007 World Cup. It was sweet indeed.
Here is to a super 2012.