Indian cricket team had an outstanding season in 2016. The number one ranked side, clinched three Test series’ this year. In 2016 India have had an outstanding season in Test format while in T20I and ODI India have sweet and sour taste. India commenced their ODI campaign against Australia in January, 2016 while the second and third series were played against Zimbabwe and New Zealand. India went down against Australia while in rest of the two series against Zimbabwe and New Zealand India emerged victorious. Considering the 2015’s performance India did extremely well in Test cricket. However, in the WT20 semifinal India lost a humdinger to West Indies at the iconic Wankhede Stadium.
India’s campaign started in Australia with a five-match ODI series which India lost by the 1-4 margin. The ODI series was followed by a T20I series and India did really well to defeat Australia by 3-0 margin.
In Test cricket, India have enjoyed three easy series victories against West Indies and New Zealand and England respectively. (How Virat Kohli missed a berth in the ICC Test team of the Year; Joe Root got the No. 4 slot)
Here are sweet and sour moments of Indian cricket in 2016
1-4 ODI series defeat: Indian batsmen did well but Australia found a way to edge India in every match
This was the first series of the year in which India lost by 1-4 margin. Out of five matches, India had scored three hundred plus total in five matches. In the first three matches, India batted first and post a three hundred plus total but Australia on flat pitches chased down the total with ease. In the fifth and final match, India were replying a 330 plus score. While chasing the total a star was born. Like other matches Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan built a good partnership of 123 runs. Rohit missed his hundred by one run while Dhawan scored 78. However, Virat Kohli was cheaply dismissed for eight runs, so India needed a match winning performance from any of the middle order batsman. Youngster Manish Pandey showed his mantle and chased down the total with his gutsy unbeaten 104. He got good assistance from MS Dhoni who was unbeaten at 34. Rohit Sharma was the highest run-scorer in the series with 441 runs at an average of 110.25. (Mohammed Shami faces religious bigotry for posting an image of his wife in sleeveless gown)
India thumped a 3-0 T20I Series victory over Australia
After a 4-1 ODI series defeat, India were not out of the competition in the T2OI series. Indian batsmen kept their momentum going in the T20I series. Vice-captain Virat Kohli, who was the second highest run scorer in ODI series with 381 runs at an average of 76.20, blasted the Australian bowlers and scored 199 runs in three matches at an average of 199. He was the highest run scorer in the series. In the first two matches, India won the by 37 and 27 runs while in the final match India won the match by seven wickets.
India notched up a 2-1 T20 series victory against Sri Lanka
This was the last preparatory tournament before the Asia Cup and World T20 . Proving all predictions wrong rookie Sri Lankan team defeated India by five wickets in first T20I in Pune. However, in the second and third T20I in Ranchi and Visakhapatnam Indian batsmen made a good comeback defeated Sri Lanka by 69 runs and nine wickets with 37 balls remaining.
India clinched the Continental Championship title
This was the preparatory tournament of the World T20 in Bangladesh. India had won all four matches of round robin league. During their road to final, they have defeated Bangladesh by 45 runs in the first match of the tournament in front of a passionate capacity crowd at Mirpur, Sher-eBangla Stadium. In the second and third match, India outclassed the arch rival Pakistan and Sri Lanka by five wickets. Meanwhile, Bangladesh defeated Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and UAE to reach the final. Before the final, on March 6 summer thunderstorm delayed the match, but the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla stadium ground staffs did a great work to make the ground match ready. Bangladesh batting first scored 122 for 5 in 15 overs. India chased down the total with eight wickets in hand. The victory of India left thousands of Bangladesh fans cry.
WT20: India’s campaign got over at the iconic Wankhede Stadium
In the opening game of the tournament, New Zealand upset the home favourite India by 47 runs. Indian batsmen were bamboozled by their own trap. In 2015 at the Jamtha Stadium India defeated South Africa at a rank turner, so when New Zealand spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner bamboozled Indian batsmen fans had to endure the pain. However, in the next game at the Eden Gardens in a rain curtailed match between India and Pakistan, Virat Kohli showed his strong command over the willow to help India to win the match by six wickets in front of 65 thousand fans. The third match, which was a do or die match for hosts, India were playing against Bangladesh at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, in Bangalore. India batting first set a 146 runs modest total as Bangladesh bowlers did a decent work. Coming to chase Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal scored 35 while Sabbir Rahman and Shakib Al Hasan scored 26 and 22 runs respectively. They were close to victory in the final over, but wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim’s massive blunder left Bangladesh on the wrong side of the result.
In the final over of the match, Rahim lost his control over the situations as he tried to play a lofted shot, as a result, he was caught out and next wicket was settled batsman Mahmudullaa, who was run out, failed to soak the pressure. In the last ball of the match with two runs needed to win the match, MS Dhoni did a great work as he ran Mustafizur Rahman out. India won the match by one run. Bangladesh lost the match from a position where they could easily win the match.
In the fourth match, India bruised aside Australia to qualify for the semifinal but lost to West Indies in a high scoring match. Virat scored 89, but West Indies’ Lendl Simmions blasted an 82 runs innings which ended India’s dream of winning the second WT20 trophy.
India defeated the West Indies in the Caribbean
India continue their super performance of 2015 in 2016 as well. At West Indies they defeated the hosts at their home. In the first Test, India defeated West Indies by 92 runs. Virat Kohli registered his first double hundred of the year at North Sound, in Antigua. Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami took five and four wickets respectively.
In the second Test at Sabina Park, West Indies batsman Reston Chase produced a resistance in the second innings, as a result, the match was drawn. Chase scored 137 in the second innings.
The third Test in Gros Islet at Darren Sammy Stadium, Indian lower order batsman Wriddhiman Saha and Ravichandran Ashwin saved India from a humiliation. The top order was rattled by fast bowling duo Alzarri Joseph and Shanon Gabriel. However, Ashwin’s 118 and Saha’s 104 helped India to post 353 runs on the board. When West Indies came to reply Bhuvneshwar Kumar rattled them with his fifer. India in the second innings scored 207 and set 335 runs total for West Indies, but the hosts bowled out for mere 108, as a result, they won the by 237 runs.
Successful introduction of cricket to the USA
At Central Broward Regional Park in Florida, in one-off T20I match, West Indies batting first post 245 runs massive total, courtesy to Evin Lewis’s 100 and Jonathan Charles’ 79. India also gave a fitting reply as KL Rahul scored his maiden T20I hundred while Rohit Sharma scored 62. It was a cracker of a match. Rahul scored 110 while captain MS Dhoni was unbeaten at 43, but India lost the match by one run. The match enthralled the Indian and West Indies fans in Florida. Many people from the Caribbean and the USA flocked at the Central Broward Regional Park to watch their stars. However, the second T20I was canceled due to torrential rain.
3-0 whitewash: India kept their winning streak in Test intact against visiting New Zealand
In a three-match Test series, India whitewashed New Zealand. In the first Test at Kanpur, India defeated New Zealand by 197 runs, in the second Test India won the match by 178 runs in the final Test in Indore India won by 321 runs. In the third and final Test, Virat Kohli scored his second double ton of the year while Ajinkya Rahane scored 188. In the second innings, Cheteshwar Pujara scored 101. Highest scorer of the match was Cheteshwar Pujara who scored 373 runs at an average of 74.60 while Ravichandran Ashwin took 27 wickets in three matches at an average of 17.77.
India bamboozled England 4-0 to win the first series in eight years:
India won the Test series 4-0 against England after eight years. This was the first time England went back home without winning a single Test in India. Indian bowlers Ravichandran Ashwin contributed both with the bat and ball while captain Virat Kohli led from the front. While Ashwin took 28 wickets Virat Kohli scored 655 runs at an average of 109. He scored his third double ton of the year in Mumbai.
Tale of two youngsters:
In the recently concluded Test series against England Indian youngsters Jayant Yadav and Karun Nair have done great job. While Jayant Yadav, who made his debut in Visakhapatnam Test, took nine wickets in the series and scored 224 runs in three matches at an average of 37. His hundred in the Mumbai Test coming at No.8 helped India to take a robust first innings lead of 231. England were bowled out for 195 runs, India won the match by an innings and 36 runs. In the final Test in Chennai Karnataka batsman, Karun Nair slammed an unbeaten 303 runs innings. He converted his maiden Test hundred into a triple hundred. He is now the second Indian batsman to score a triple hundred after Virender Sehwag.
Best bowling spell of the Year:
In the Chennai Test when England were trailing by India’s first innings lead of 270 runs English batsmen were eyeing for what they did in the first Test in Rajkot-a draw. They were on the right track as Alastair Cook (49) and Keaton Jennings (54) built a 103 runs first innings partnership. So from this position taking 10 wickets in two sessions was a difficult task, but left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja bamboozled the England batsmen taking seven wickets for 48 runs while Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, and Amit Mishra cleaned the rest of three wickets to win India the fifth and final Test of the series. England lost the by an innings and 75 runs. England lost a series in India without winning a single Test in 2000/2001 series.
Ravichandran Ashwin bagged the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year and ICC Cricketer of the Year
India’s leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took 72 wickets in 12 matches at an average of 23.90. With the willow in hand, he scored 612 runs at an average of 43 in 14 innings with four fifties and two hundred. He bagged both of the prestigious awards ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC Test Cricketer of the Year. He is the third Indian batsman after Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar to win both of the trophies.
Virat Kohli has had a remarkable year across the formats:
Virat Kohli has had a remarkable season in 2016 as he scored 1215 runs in 12 matches at an average of 75.93. He is the highest run scorer in the year of 2016. He registered four hundred and two fifties at a strike rate of 60.41. In ODI he scored 739 runs in 10 matches at an average of 100 with three hundred and four fifties. Meanwhile, he has redefined the T20 batting with copybook cricket as he broke all the records and scored 973 runs in 16 matches for his Bangaluru franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at an average of 81.08 with four hundred and seven half centuries.