Pakistan's spot-fixing shame
The new year kicked off in horrendous fashion as far as Pakistan Cricket and the game's global repute were concerned. Pakistan were midway through their tour of England when one of the biggest sporting scandals brewed up and engulfed the Home of Cricket, Lord's.
The veteran pacer Mohammad Asif, young fast-bowling prodigy Mohammad Amir, and the skipper himself Salman Butt were found guilty of spot-fixing. The scandal blew away the ecstasy that surrounded the game shattered the moods across the stadium. The repute of the game was left tarnished as the three players were sentenced imprisonment terms and were handed long-lasting bans from International Cricket.
Sachin notches up 1st double-ton in ODIs
Just a touch over fifty days into a new decade, Sachin Tendulkar became the first Cricketer to score a double hundred in ODI Cricket as he guided India to a series victory against a prolific South African side. One of the most gifted batsmen the game has ever given birth to, Tendulkar made another addition to his unending list of accolades and achievements out in the center.
He put up a batting masterclass in Gwalior as he pierced the in-field and went up and over with his lofted strokes. Eclipsing the previous top score of 194, Tendulkar reached the rare landmark in the ultimate over of the innings and assisted India in racking up a gargantuan total of 401.
Hitman goes on a run spree
The twenty-tens have seen Rohit Sharma evolving from a middle-order rookie to an absolute dasher and a modern-day goliath of the limited-overs format. In 2014, he tumbled over the record books as he rattled the Sri Lankan bowling attack by making the highest individual score in the history of ODI Cricket.
In the very initial stages of that innings, Rohit was given a reprieve by Sri Lankan fielders and he cashed in big time. He kept accelerating as the innings progressed and recorded a staggering 264 runs off the 173 deliveries that he faced. This display of belligerence and dominance emblazoned his into Cricket's most memorable scriptures.
Calypso Kings & T20Is
This decade has witnessed T20 Cricket elevating itself as the globalizing factor for the game - blossoming Cricket's repute internationally. The machos and the bravados that have emerged out of this format have mostly been from the Caribbean.
Names like Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russel, Dwayne Bravo, and Marlon Samuels have been emblazoned in the format's hall of fame. The Calypso Kings overpowered the Islanders in 2012 WT20 Final and sealed their second T20 World Cup trophy in 2016 when Carlos Braithwaite saw them home in the drama that unraveled in Eden Gardens.
Pakistan's road to unexpected glory
When things slumber downhill briskly for the Greenshirts, writing Pakistan off is the easiest option to select. However, that comes up with its own perils. Pakistan were the nethermost team going into the 2017 Champions Trophy; the rank-outsiders amongst the giants of modern Cricket.
Pakistan began scribbling down a narrative of their own after the early hefty defeat versus India. They brushed past the prolific hosts England before knocking over the might Indians in the final of the tournament and completing vengeance on their way. And once again, in all its unpredictability and fortitude, Pakistan Cricket rose from its ashes, as resilient and hungry as ever.
Stokes' Ashes heroics
Ben Stokes, the flamboyant English all-rounder, has been at the center of England Cricket's transformation in the limited-over formats. The exhilarating ebbs and flows of the miracle of Headingley and Stokes' chief role in it have forever been penned down into cricketing folklore and will be cherished and relived for ages to come.
Courtesy of Ben Stokes' remarkable resistance and counter-punching, England managed to chase down a mammoth-looking target of 359 - their highest ever in Tests. Stokes struck eight sixes as he changed gears just at the right time and stringed up a partnership worth 76 runs with the last man to keep England in the Ashes. Australians were gut-punched and witnessed victory being clutched away from the tips of their mouths.
Day/Night Test Cricket's arrival
From mid-twenty-tens onwards, the Cricketing fraternity saw the ICC as well as Cricketing boards across the globe making efforts in their bid to revive the longest format of the game. Since the emergence of the T20 era and the glitz and glamour that it possessed, Test Cricket had begun losing significance.
The idea of Test Cricket was floated around and was first adopted by Cricket Australia when the Trans-Tasman rivals crossed swords in the first ever Day/Night Test in the history of the game at the picturesque Adelaide Oval. Since then, a number of pink-ball Tests have been played around different countries and the concept is being supported globally.
Other-worldly WC 2019 Final
The final of the 2019 World Cup was arguably one of the greatest spectacles of the year, let alone the decade. England were crowned World Champions in front of a jam-packed Home of Cricket that witnessed a surreal, yet an agonizing conclusion to the pinnacle event of the sport.
The world reigners were decided in the Super Over after the final was tied. But such was the melodrama, the intensity, and the ecstasy that the Super Over was tied too and England were handed the trophy based on boundary count. Old order changed and the baton got passed as new heroes orchestrated themselves out into the middle; Ben Stokes, without a doubt, the most prominent figure among them.
Cricket's homecoming in Pakistan
One of the major boosts coming out of the decade was the return of International and competitive Cricket to Pakistan's deserted venues. The long-lasting drought that commenced through the unfortunate terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009 came to a close when Zimbabwe went ahead with a historic tour of the Asian country in 2015.
Since then, Pakistan have hosted a series against World XI, numerous PSL games, and short tours by Sri Lanka and West Indies. Just recently, Test Cricket also made its much-awaited return to the country and was gleefully greeted by the natives and the players alike. Pakistan is now gearing to host their premier Cricket league, the PSL, in its home grounds. All of it. Talk about decade-long resolutions.