2014 has been an amazing year in cricket.
Ok, it’s not quite finished, but given I am going away on holiday’s later in the month, my Top 50 will have to run from January to early December.
I am sure there will be a moment or two pop up in the upcoming Australia vs India Test series, but so be it.
The world is grey. It’s rarely black and white.
I’ve tried to capture the best individual performances, team efforts, scandals and stories that have shaped the year.
Below are numbers 41 – 50 in the Top 50 Cricketing Moments of 2014.
I will continue to release them in batches of 10.
Do you agree or have I lost my mind?
Do you have any nominations or moments you believe will appear later?
The comments sections is waiting for you to unleash!
The Top 50 Cricketing Moments of 2014 (31-40) >>>>>
50) Lord’s Bicentennial Match
July saw Lord’s host a 50 over exhibition match to celebrate its 200th birthday. The teams were captained by Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne, ensuring one side would be boring and the other attacking.
Highlights included the return of Kevin Pietersen after being fired from the England squad, Brett Lee breaking Shane Warne’s hand with a beamer, Aaron Finch belting 181* and Saeed Ajmal chucking down a series of deliveries that nearly killed off the match.
It also saw Andrew Strauss say something rather unsavory on TV, but more on that later.
49) Prosper Utseya’s Hat Trick
The ex Zimbabwean captain made a name for himself in the ODI Tri-Series against Australia and South Africa. Only 7 days after being reported for chucking and in a match where team mate Tinashe Panyangara was missing due to sharing a YouTube video of Mitch Johnson terrorising the English, Utseya took career best figures of 5/36 including an amazing hat trick.
Zimbabwe bowled out South Africa for just the 4th time in history but couldn’t chase down the 232 required for victory.
Utseya was banned days later for having an illegal bowling action.
48) Tim Gruitjers posts a YouTube video
In one of the great T20 World Cup moments, Dutch player Tim Gruitjers posted a video on YouTube, addressed to the ICC, claiming his team was cheating.
Gruitjers was dropped from the squad for Tom Cooper.
Gruitjers claimed the Dutch management forced him to undergo an MRI scan on his problematic back, even though it was giving him no trouble at the time. The Dutch then used the outcomes of that scan to replace him with the explosive Cooper.
The ICC ‘investigated’ and found no wrongdoing on behalf of the Dutch.
It appears the Dutch made the right call. Cooper finished the tournament 2nd on the runs table behind India’s Virat Kohli.
47) Stuart Binny takes 6 wickets for 4 runs versus Bangladesh in an ODI
After only bowling one over in his ODI debut two match earlier, Binny’s ‘Jeremy Coney’ like medium pacers set a record in Bangladesh.
He took the best figures for an Indian in an ODI with 6 wickets for 4 off only 4.4 overs.
The match was notable for the ridiculously low scores. India were bowled out for 105. Bangladesh could only managed 58 in reply.
Clearly not a favourite of captain MS Dhoni, Binny has only played 3 ODI’s since.
46) Ian Botham Tweets a naked selfie
In one of cricket history’s most horrific incidents, Ian Botham took a naked ‘erect’ selfie and tweeted it to the world.
It came with the beautifully crafted words of ‘What are you thinking….XX’.
He later claimed his phone was hacked.
I claim he’s just an idiot.
45) Chris Cairns charged with Perjury
After suing Lalit Modi for defamation and winning after having been accused of match fixing, Cairns found himself on the end of a perjury charge after Scotland Yard decided he and his lawyer had lied in court.
Leaked testimony from Brendan McCullum to the ICC’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit probably didn’t help Chris Cairns, who is widely believed to be ‘Player X’.
The USD $500k payment he received for being a diamond merchant in the UAE had nothing to do with it of course.
44) Racial Quotas increased in South Africa
The complex legacy of apartheid still lingers in South Africa.
This year, Cricket South Africa announced that each domestic franchise must field at least 5 players of colour in each match, of which 2 must be black Africans. Provincial sides will need to field 6 non whites, of which 3 are black Africans.
This is an increase on previous levels that have been in place for the last 10 years.
Will this help or hinder South African cricket?
However, it certainly artificially skews opportunities for certain people based on the colour of their skin.
43) Mitch Johnson breaks the commentary box window in Harare
In what was a lackluster ODI Tri Series series for Australia, Mitch Johnson at least provided some comic relief for those of us who were slightly detached from the happenings on the field.
42) Lou Vincent
‘My name is Lou Vincent and I am a cheat’
With those words, New Zealand cricket changed forever.
So long the sweet and innocent member of the ICC, Lou Vincent did his best to prove that it is a hot bed for corrupt cricket activities.
Vincent was charged in May by the the ECB with 14 match-fixing offences.
41) India’s dismal batting display at The Oval.
The 5th Test between England and India was a complete disaster for the tourists.
After going 1-0 up at Lord’s, they had completely fallen away in the next two tests to be 2-1 down.
The Oval Test, the final in the series, was the opportunity for India to right the ship.
They lost by an innings and 244 runs. It was their third worst Test defeat in history. Bowled out for 148 and 94.
Virat Kohli finished the 5 Test series with only 134 runs. 177 runs came from extra’s during the series. The same amount as Jadeja made with the bat.
It was pleasantly summed up by Sunny Gavaskar as thus:
“If you do not want to be playing Test cricket for India, quit. Just play limited-overs cricket. You should not be embarrassing your country like that.”