The year 2008 will be remembered in cricket history forever... 2008 is the beginning of the end of an era of Australia's domination in the world cricket. 2008 brought a new life to test cricket. India and South Africa are the stars in 2008. Both these teams are the strong contenders for the top spot in test cricket.
IPL was a great success... "We don't even watch one day cricket...then how can we watch test cricket....the future is Twenty20 cricket's"....This is what we have been hearing recently...All the cricket fans, former players, cricket analysts.....everyone who is attached to cricket have been saying just one thing..."Test cricket is in danger"...
But the two test match results, at the end of 2008, in a span of a week gave a new life to test cricket....one is the first test between India and England Chennai in December, and the second one is the first test between Australia and South Africa at Perth in December...And also out of 46 test matches that took place in 2008, 35 matches got the results which shows that test cricket has gained some speed.
And the year ended on Australia losing a test series to South Africa, at home, after 16 years..
The performances of teams in 2008.
India: No doubt 2008 will remain as a wonderful year in India cricket. Dhoni took on the test captaincy and now he is the captain of team India in all formats of the game. There are so many unforgettable moments like test series win against Australia in India, CB series win, test and ODI series win against England, IPL etc.. Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar, Zaheer, Ishant, Harbhajan and Dhoni's captaincy took India to great heights.. Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar and Laxman crossed 1000 runs in tests in a calender year..The year marked the end of an era with Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble bidding adieu to international cricket.
South Africa: South Africa is on a roll under Smith's captaincy. SA won 11 of their 15 test matches played in 2008. SA has been very consistent in all the formats of the game. Smith is the leading run scorer in tests in 2008 with 1656 runs in 15 test matches. Amla also crossed 100 runs in tests in 2008. Steyn is the leading wicket taker in tests in 2008. SA has got a new talent in the form of Duminy. De Villiers has been in good touch..If they continue this form, they will surely be No.1 in all formats..
Australia: 2008 is the year Australia don't want to remember. 2008 marked the end of an era of Australia's dominance. Australia's great wicket-keeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist retired in 2008 after CB series. The effect of the retirement of McGrath and Warne was completely visible on the team's performance. Australia lost to India and SA in successive test series at the end of the year. The form of their top order batsmen like Hayden, Ponting and Hussey has been their main concern. Bowling department is also looking weak with no one, except Johnson, performing well. Retaining Ashes is their main focus in 2009.
Sri Lanka: Mendis is SL's new weapon. Asia cup win was their biggest win in 2008. The team was not up to the mark in a series with Zimbabwe. With Mendis and Murlai in the bowling department, and Jayawardena, Sangakkara, Dilshan in batting department, SL looks ahead for a great future.
New Zealand: Stephen Fleming retired after the test match against England in Napier. Except Vettori and McCullum no other player performed well for New Zealand. New Zealand has many new players. It will take a little time before they all adjust. NZ got mixed results in 2008.
England: After England lost the four match series against South Africa, captain Michael Vaughan stepped down from the captaincy. England appointed Kevin Pietersen as their new captain. England's whole concentration has been on Ashes. England won the hearts of many people by coming to India and play the test series after Mumbai blasts. Pietersen was their star in 2008 with Flintoff, Strauss, Collingwood performing consistently. Stuart Broad is a rising talent. England's bowling department is also good with Sidebottom, Anderson and Harmison.
West Indies: The form of West Indies was very bad. They won only one test match in 2008. The team depends a lot on Gayle, Sarwan and Chanderpaul.
Pakistan: 2008 is a worst year in Pakistan's cricket. Pak did not played even a single test. They played some ODIs and won many matches but all of them came against weak teams. Pak is pleading other teams to come and play in Pak. Neutral venues seems to be the only option for Pakistan. Pakistan's great player Mohammad Yousuf joined ICL. It was a big shock to Pak. Aisf was accused of using drugs in IPL and banned from all formats of cricket.
Bangladesh: Bangladesh cricket was under shock when 14 of their cricketers joined ICL. But with many other youngsters like Shakib-ul-Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mortaza, the team performed well under the captaincy of Ashraful. But the results were not satisfying. On a whole, their performance improved a little bit.
Smith, Sehwag, Gambhir, Steyn and Mendis were the stars of 2008.
Hoping for a much more exciting cricket in 2009...