30) Sachin Tendulkar vs Greg Chappell
Sachin Tendulkar decided to release an autobiography called “Playing it my Way”
It wasn’t as much a tell all as a tell nothing, with no mention of any controversial incident like match fixing or his attempt to avoid paying taxes on luxury cars.
However, he pulled no punches in describing his relationship with ex Indian coach Greg Chappell.
He stated that Chappell visited his house in 2007 and asked him to take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid.
Chappell denies the claims.
“Whilst I don’t propose to get into a war of words, I can state quite clearly that during my time as Indian coach I never contemplated Sachin replacing Rahul Dravid as captain.”
So someone is by logic a liar.
Is it Sachin or Chappell?
Tendulkar also said Chappell was a “ringmaster” who had pushed many Indian players into an early retirement.
Again, Chappell denies the claims.
Sachin finished his outbust with this:
“I don’t think I would be far off the mark if I said that most of us felt that Indian cricket was going nowhere under Chappell”
29) Misbah makes a very quick Test 100
Australia travelled to the UAE as hot favourites to smash Pakistan all over the park in a two Test series.
The exact opposite happened.
There were so many amazing things to talk about from that series, but coming in at number 29 in the Top Cricketing Moments of 2014 was Pakistani captain Misbah-ul-Haq equalling Sir Viv Richards’ record of the fastest 100 ever made. He also broke the record for the fastest 50 ever made along the way.
Not bad for a bloke who is 40 years of age and is renowned as a ‘slow’ player.
We soon forget that he made a century in both innings in that match, as did Azhar Ali.
Younis Khan thought that a double hundred was also required.
Pakistan won by 356 runs
28) Sri Lanka win the T20 World Cup
The start of what was an amazing year for Sri Lankan cricket begun by winning the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.
Not one of their players featured in the Top 5 run makers or wicket takers, yet they won the title by beating India in the final.
They only lost one match for the whole tournament.
27) The Rise and Rise of Steve Smith
The man once labelled as a ‘loose’ strokeplayer has taken 2014, ringed its neck and found himself next in line for the Australian captaincy.
5 of his 11 Test innings (pre December 2014 Test matches) in 2014 made it to 50 or beyond.
A century in the New Year’s Test match against England started the proceedings. He then backed that up in the 1st Test against South Africa at Centurion.
A solid 84 in Cape Town helped bring home the 2-1 series win and with it, Australia regained the number 1 Test ranking.
Smith also stood up in the UAE when Pakistan tore Australia a new backside to prove himself the country’s best player of spin.
For perspective, he had a better Test year than AB de Villiers. More runs, more hundreds and a better average.
Most of his 5 Test wickets throughout the year also came when Australia desperately needed a breakthrough.
He is a master of the rank full toss that somehow finds its way into the hands of a fielder.
Smith averaged 49.18 in ODI’s with his series against South Africa stamping him as someone with the ability to be patient or close out a match.
Finally, he redefined fielding with this catch:
26) Younis Khan tears up Australia
Prior to the Pakistan v Australia series in the UAE, Younis Khan came out with this comment after being dropped from the ODI team:
“So a player like me should shoot himself..”
He sat out the ODI series, but appeared for the first Test, determined as ever.
In one of the great performances of all time, Younis Khan delivered the following:
106, 103*, 213 and 46.
He ended up with a series average of 156.00, is Pakistan’s leading run scorer ever at number 3 and took his legend status to the next level.
25) Alastair Cook’s annus horribilis
Where to start with this one?
Cook led England to a 5-0 whitewash at the hands of Australia
He backed that up with a home cleansweep loss against Sri Lanka
He lost the ODI series against India
He did win the test series, but beating India when they are travelling doesn’t mean much.
2014 was his lowest Test average in his career for a calendar year with 32.50 and no centuries.
In ODI’s, he averaged under 30 with a strike rate of 71.
ECB Managing Director Paul Downton came after him.
Things got so dire for Cook and his confidence so destroyed that he openly complained about Shane Warne picking on him.
He did at least take a Test wicket
24) Ireland vs Netherlands at the T20 World Cup
Easily the best T20 game witnessed on the planet in 2014.
This qualifier for the T20 World Cup Super 10 stage had everything riding on it for these two Affiliate nations.
Ireland posted 189 off their 20 overs.
To qualify for the stage you watched on TV via a superior run rate, the Dutch needed to make the runs in 14.2 overs or less.
They did it in 13.5
Never has a T20 match meant so much to so many.
The Dutch then went into the Super 10 round and were bowled out for 39 by eventual winner Sri Lanka.
23) Moeen Ali and WristbandGate
Moeen Ali brought politics and sport into a head on collision with his decision to wear two controversial wristbands during the England v India Test Series:
The wristbands said “Free Palestine” and “Save Gaza”.
They were a direct reference to the war that was occurring in Gaza.
The ICC didn’t like it and asked him to stop.
The ECB stood by their man.
22) Mitch Johnson 7/68 at Centurion
Australia had just completely routed England 5-0 in The Ashes on the back of Mitch Johnson and Ryan Harris.
Many forget that Mitch Johnson hadn’t taken a Test wicket for nearly 12 months leading up to that first Test at the Gabba.
It was a remarkable series for him in which he took 37 wickets at 13.97
However, it was only against England.
How would he go against the world’s number one Test team on their home turf in South Africa?
How does 7/68 in the first innings followed by 5/59 sound in the 1st Test sound?
South Africa had no answer to the Mitch onslaught.
Graeme Smith jumping. Petersen backing away.
Australia went on to win the match and the series 2-1.
You just don’t win a Test series against South Africa over there.
He finished the series with 22 wickets at 17.36.
He returned home the most feared bowler in world cricket.
21) The Mankad
Sri Lanka’s gentle spin bowler Senanayake caused probably the most controversial dismissal of the year by mankading England’s Jos Butler in an ODI.
The reaction was mixed.
England captain Alastair Cook described the actions as “crossing the line”.
Many other commentators thought Butler was given fair warning and was to blame.
Here’s the incident.
What’s your take?