Compared to the mighty Australians for their ruthless and dominant winning streak in world cricket, Team India had a fantastic run in all formats of the game as they ended the 2017 season on a perfect note by completing a 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka in the T20I series. Overall, Indian cricket achieved several highs in 2017, particularly the men’s team which won 37 out of their 53 matches across all formats (Tests, ODIs and T20Is). The Men in Blue have maintained their grasp at the top of the ICC Test rankings and have ended the year behind only South Africa and Pakistan respectively in the ODI and T20I format.
Even the women’s cricket team didn’t left behind and hogged all the limelight by finishing as runners-up at the ICC Women's World Cup in England. Under the leadership of Mithali Raj, the Indian eves garnered huge praise from all quarters for their inspiring show in the showpiece event.
In this piece, we take a look at some of the talking points from the year which witnessed Indian cricket scaling new heights.
Yuvraj, Dhoni rolling back the clock
One of the most daunting pair in the history of the limited-overs format, Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed quickfire centuries against England in the second ODI in Cuttack.
Much to the fans delight, the duo not only bailed India out of initial trouble but also played some vintage cricket that helped the hosts post a commanding 381/6 on the board. Yuvraj scored 150 off 127 balls, while, Dhoni made 134 off 122 balls.
The Dhoni-Yuvi pair stitched a mammoth 256-run partnership and ruined the figures of the English bowlers which taken to the cleaners.
Indian eves script history
While the men's team basked in the glory of an emphatic home season, the women in blue were also not left behind in terms of success. Led by inspirational Mithali Raj, the Indian eves not only past the league stage in style but also did the unthinkable by beating top teams like West Indies, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Some brilliant performances by young stars - Smriti Mandhana, Ekta Bisht, and Deepti Sharma were highly appreciated by all the critics and fans all around the world.
Vice-captain and star all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur single-handedly carried India to the final of the coveted event, scoring a brilliant 171 off 115 balls against Australia in the semi-final. The women in blue gave hosts England a run for their money in the summit clash before going down narrowly by nine runs. However, their performance won a billion hearts and was enough to give oxygen to women's cricket, which will move into 2018 with bigger hopes.
‘Chinaman’ Yadav announced his arrival in world cricket
Young leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav became the toast of the nation when he registered his name among the greats of the game by picking up a brilliant hat-trick in the second ODI against Australia at the historic Eden Gardens. With this memorable feat, Yadav became the third Indian after Kapil Dev (1991) and Chetan Sharma (1987) to bag hat-tricks in the ODI format.
Playing his ninth ODI, the 23-year old dismissed Matthew Wade, Ashton Agar and Pat Cummins off successive deliveries in the 33rd over of the Australian innings to derail their chase of 253. Eventually, India went on to win the match by 50 runs.
Ro-Hit ‘double hundred’ Sharma
If there is one batsman who has made a habit of scoring double hundreds in ODIs, it is none other than Rohit Sharma. Many believed that the Nagpur-born batsman has cracked the code of notching up a double century in the 50-over format and he simply goes about his business as usual in the coloured outfit.
In Mohali against Sri Lanka, Rohit created one of the greatest records as he notched up another double hundred, which is the 3rd of his ODI career. This is the most number of double-tons scored by any batsman in ODI cricket. Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle and Martin Guptill have scored one double hundred each.
The 30-year old scored his first double hundred against Australia in Bangalore in 2013. In the following year, he smashed another double hundred playing against Sri Lanka in Kolkata. The elegant right-hander played a monstrous knock of 264 from 173 balls, which is till date the highest individual score in ODIs.
Virat ‘Run-machine’ Kohli highest Test score
Arguably, the best batsman in world cricket at the moment - Virat Kohli is monster when it comes to scoring runs irrespective of the format he's playing in. After failing to hit a double-century in his first five years of his Test career, the Indian skipper has now managed to notch six such double-tons against his name.
Playing at his home in Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, the 29-year old played a knock of 243 against Sri Lanka which was his second successive double hundred in the 3-match series. He scored 213 in Nagpur in the previous match against the same opposition. With this achievement, Kohli joined the elite club of only six batsmen to have recorded this feat in Test history. The only other Indian apart from Kohli is Vinod Kambli, who did this against England and Zimbabwe in 1993. Kohli's 243 in Delhi is also his career-best in the longer format, he went past his previous best of 235 against England at Wankhede in 2016.
In all, 2017 has been a phenomenal year for Indian cricket. Be it Virat Kohli’s Team India or Mithali Raj’s wonder girls – both the teams displayed throughout the year a continuous hunger to win and en route destroyed every opposition which has come in its path. With 4969 points, the Indian men’s team is the No. 1 Test team in the world. In ODIs and T20Is, they are second only to South Africa and Pakistan respectively.