The Reverse Sweep’s ten most poignant memories of 2009
There goes another year and certainly for England the year ended with the team in a much better position than they were on New Years Day with the spat between KP and Peter Moores just about to culminate in both men being sacked.
2009 was a pretty momentous year. England lost to the Netherlands but regained the Ashes. The Aussies fell back into the pack in test cricket but continued to lead the way in the 50 over game. Pakistan won the World T20 and unveiled yet two more outstanding teenagers. And Bangladesh finally won a series abroad against the West Indies Cricket Board XI.
Anyway without further ado here are The Reverse Sweep’s ten most memorable and poignant cricket memories of 2009, appropriately in reverse order.
Revealing the 10 Most Poignant Memories of Cricket in 2009…
10. Trinidad & Tobago light up the inaugural Champions League
I must admit that I was dubious. For me T20 is more ‘hit and giggle’ than ‘proper cricket’, but I accidentally tuned into the coverage of the inaugural competition on Eurosport and was captivated by the brilliance of T&T. Excellently led by Daren Ganga, the minnows made it all the way to the final against New South Wales; a team full of test players who they had already beaten earlier in the competition thanks to a whirlwind innings from Kieron Pollard. Unfortunately, they lost the final but they were the true winners and their success will hopefully spark the West Indies to a much needed revival.
9. Shoaib Akhtar makes us laugh
First there was the press release from the Pakistan Cricket Board explaining that Shoaib was not able to play in the World T20 due to genital warts. And if that wasn’t enough the portly fast bowler was then ruled out for another three months because he had had liposuction. Thanks for the laughs Shoaib.
8. Colly, Jimmy and Monty save England in Cardiff
It seemed inevitable that the Aussies were going to go one-up until the dogged Collingwood dropped anchor in a marathon 344 minute innings. And when he was ninth out with over 11 overs to spare, Monty and Anderson took over and became the unlikely heroes. The Durham battler then repeated the trick at Centurion in tandem with Onions and as at Lord’s, England responded by winning the next test at Durban.
7. The Netherlands beat England (and not at football)
Now we knew England were bad at limited overs cricket but this really took the biscuit. An absolutely shambolic performance by the home side meant that the World T20 began with a bang. Things actually got worse with the 6-1 ODI reverse to the Aussies. Then an unlikely renaissance with an improved performance in the Champions Trophy followed up by a surprise series win in South Africa. But on that day in June England were well and truly clogged.
6. Cool Chris’ 70 ball ton at the WACA
Australia had just declared on 520/7 but that didn’t bother Mr Cool as he smashed a weakened Aussie attack all over the WACA in compiling a devastating 70 ball hundred (the fifth fastest in test history). He hit six huge sixes, four off a shell-shocked Hauritz, including a monstrous shot that landed on the roof of the towering Lillee-Marsh Stand.
5. Freddie Lord’s it over the Aussies
England hadn’t beaten the Aussies at HQ since 1934 and despite setting them a massive 522 run, an excellent partnership between Clarke and Haddin had the nerves jangling. Step forward Flintoff who blew the Aussies away on a tense Monday morning to take the plaudits ahead of the perhaps more deserving Strauss, who had set up the victory with a first innings 161.
4. Sehwag smashes the Sri Lankans for 293
The most devastating batsman in the World reached a new high with this phenomenal innings. Sri Lanka had been bowled out on the second morning for 393 and Sehwag wasted no time as he smashed seven sixes and forty fours in a 254 ball innings. By the end of the second day India were 443/1 off only 79 overs and Murali had been obliterated. Sehwag was out early the next morning so just failed to become the first batsmen to hit three test triple centuries but that should not detract one iota from a truly spectacular knock.
3. Trott gets the runs on debut to help England seize the Ashes
Despite calls for former players such as Trescothick and Ramprakash – even W.G Grace was mentioned at one point – the selectors bravely opted for the South African born Trott. And boy did he repay their faith in spades with a brilliant and determined century in the second innings to help set Australia an unachievable target. Broad, Swann and Harmison did the rest and the Ashes were on their way home.
2. Dilshan takes to opening like a duck to water
Before the start of 2009, Dilshan was known more for his brilliant fielding than his inconsistent batting. Then he had a go at opening and now he is rivalling Sehwag as the most exciting and destructive batsman in the world. His stats as an opener are truly impressive: in Tests he averaged 66 and scored three hundreds in only five tests, in ODI Dilshan averaged 56 and four hundreds in 19 matches, and in T20 he averaged 43 and invented the Dilscoop. Arguably, Dilshan was the player of the year.
1. Terrorists attack the Sri Lankan bus
The most poignant event of 2009 happened on 3 March when the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked in Lahore en route to the Gaddafi Stadium for the third days play. Thankfully, although five players were injured, none were killed but eight other people were and Pakistan is now a no-go destination for all international cricket sides. Appropriately, the same two sides contested the World T20 final in June and Thilan Samaraweera, who was shot in the leg, recovered to become the leading test runscorer of the year with 1,234 runs at 72. World cricket needs Pakistan, its most flamboyant side along with the West Indies, and it is to be hoped that the situation will improve to enable international cricket to be played in Pakistan again as soon as possible.
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