Indian cricket in 2018 wrap: String of missed opportunities away from home - Watch
At the start of this year, head coach Ravi Shastri said that the next twelve months will define the Indian cricket team. Cricket is a pretty funny game, the performance of a team usually goes down when they play away from home. Hence, this year, which had tours of South Africa, England and Australia, was one of the most important years for Virat Kohli and his boys.
Unfortunately, they failed to step up to the plate in the longest format.
The bowlers, especially the pacers, bowled with a lot of heart. They picked up 60 wickets in the three-Test series against South Africa, but the batsmen didn’t put their hand up. Virat Kohli, who was the only centurion in the series, top scored with 286 runs. But the next best Indian batsman was Hardik Pandya, who recorded an average of 19.83. India lost the series 2-1.
ALSO READ: 2018, a buoyant year for five-day cricket
However, the visitors tasted sweet revenge in the ODI series. India recorded their first-ever ODI series win in South Africa and at the centre of it all was Virat Kohli. The Indian captain set the record for most runs in a bilateral series with 558 runs. The Men in Blue wrapped up the series with a 2-1 victory in the T20 series.
When India were back in familiar territory to play the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka, they didn’t disappoint. This tournament will always be remembered for Dinesh Karthik smashing a six off Somya Sarkar’s bowling to help India win the final when the Men in Blue needed 5 runs from the last ball.
In the IPL, the Chennai Super Kings made a fantastic comeback after their two-year suspension by winning their third title. Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Kane Williamson top scored in the tournament with 735 runs and Kings XI Punjab’s Andrew Tye was the highest wicket taker with 24 wickets.
After the craze of the IPL, India shifted their focus back on international cricket. They began the England tour on a great note with a 2-1 victory in the T20 series. But, it was all downhill from there.
They won the first ODI, but lost the next two matches to go down 2-1 in the series.
However, the main event was always going to be the five-match Test series. Virat Kohli had a lot to prove after going through a dismal tour in 2014. The Indian captain made his intentions very clear in the first Test, when he almost took India to victory single-handedly as far as the batting department is concerned. Kohli scored 200 runs in the match. Unfortunately, India fell short by 31 runs.
Kohli continued to score runs in the series, but rarely found support from the other end. The skipper scored a mammoth 593 runs in 10 innings and also became the fastest to 4000 Test runs as captain in the series.
However, after another batting failure by India led to a 4-1 series loss.
India in familiar territory in the UAE for the Asia Cup didn’t disappoint once again. They remained unbeaten and won their seventh Asia Cup title.
Ahead of the Test series against West Indies, the Indian team management decided to drop Shikhar Dhawan from the team. A good opening pair is always crucial for big tours and the Indian team wanted to groom Prithvi Shaw for the tour of Australia. The Mumbai batsman got off to a dream start with a century on debut. India won the series 2-0.
Kohli wasn’t going to be away from the limelight as he became the first Indian batsman to score three successive centuries in the ODI series against West Indies. He also became the fastest to score 10000 runs in ODIs in the series. The Indian captain also set the record for the fastest to 1000 runs in a calendar year.
When India travelled to Australia, they were dealt with a major blow when Prithvi Shaw got injured ahead of the first Test. Murali Vijay was brought back to the side as India’s batting woes continued.
However, with the bowlers stepping up once again and Cheteshwar Pujara playing two gritty innings, helped India win their first Test in Australia in 10 years.
Will India manage to win the Test series against Australia, we’ll have to wait for 2019 for that answer.
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- The Indian Premier League (IPL), to be held across six venues, will take a decision on allowing fans into the stadiums later in the tournament. The IPL 2021 schedule was announced on Sunday.