You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Highs and lows of Indian cricket in 2016

India Today logo India Today 25-12-2016

© Reuters

Indian cricket tasted a lot of success in Test cricket 2016 but on the other hand there were a few setbacks which came in the limited-overs formats. The two Indian captains - Test skipper Virat Kohli and limited-overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, both faced a lot of challenges but all in all both managed to drive Indian cricket forward with their different but equally effective leadership skills.

India have found a terrific captain in Kohli who prioritised the team goals ahead of personal milestones which helped his young side achieve its full potential and win matches on a consistent basis. A record year in Tests saw India win nine out of the 12 matches that they played this year which helped them reclaim the top spot in the ICC Test rankings.

Dhoni on the other hand, suffered a few losses at the beginning of the year but then managed to pull things back and clinch the Asia Cup title along with series wins against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and New Zealand. The ODI series loss in Australia and the semi-final heartbreak in the World T20 were the two low points in Dhoni's captaincy this year.

India won't play any more cricket this year and have got a much-deserved break before they get back into action with the ODI series against England from January 15. This gives us a chance to look back and relive the highs and lows of Indian cricket in 2016.

So let's start on a positive note and look at the wins and records which Team India managed to achieve this year.

T20I Series in Australia: India sweep series 3-0

© Getty

After a disappointing ODI series against Australia, Dhoni and his boys came back fighting in the following T20I series. India lost four ODIs on-the-trot at first but then won the final ODI thanks to Manish Pandey's unbeaten maiden hundred which helped the Men in Blue chase down a mammoth target of 331. Virat Kohli then took over and stole the show in the subsequent three-match T20I series, scoring half-centuries in all the matches as India whitewashed the Aussies 3-0 to end their tour Down Under on a high.

T20I Series vs Sri Lanka: India won 2-1

© AP Photo

Sri Lanka then came to India in February for a short three-match T20I series which gave both teams a chance to prepare for the Asia Cup in Bangladesh in March. The visitors immediately made a mark by hammering India by 5 wickets in the first match in Pune. Dhoni quickly realised that the Lankans meant business. A star-studded Indian team which included the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra and Suresh Raina along with Kohli, Dhoni and Ashwin then sorted out the flaws in their game and hit back in the next two games, winning by 69 runs and 9 wickets at Ranchi and Vizag respectively as India took the series 2-1.

ODIs and T20I series in Zimbabwe: India win ODIs 3-0, T20Is 2-1

© AP

Dhoni travelled to Zimbabwe with an inexperienced lineup in June this year as senior players like Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were given a much-needed rest after a gruelling IPL season. Youngsters like KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav and Dhawal Kulkarni got the chance to shine and prove their mettle. Rahul, after a terrific IPL season, carried forward his limited-overs form into this series while Jasprit Bumrah and Barinder Sran bowled superbly to help India sweep the ODI series 3-0 and clinch the T20Is 2-1 after losing the first game.

ODI Series vs New Zealand: India won 3-2

© AP

After hammering New Zealand in the three-match Test series, Dhoni's team came up against a determined Kiwi side who had payback on their mind. After losing the first ODI by 6 wickets, New Zealand hit back hard and clinched the second match in Delhi to register their first win on the tour. The see-saw battle continued as India won the third match while the Kiwis took the honours in the fourth game to setup a thrilling final at Vizag. Throughout the series New Zealand's performance was at par with the hosts but they lost all steam in the summit clash which proved to be a one-sided affair. Amit Mishra completely destroyed the Kiwi batting lineup with his five-wicket haul as India won the match by 190 runs to take the series 3-2 and end their limited-overs campaign on a high.

India's record-breaking year in Tests

© AP

Indian cricket has never witnessed a year like 2016 in their Test history ever before. Virat Kohli, on the back of his own tremendous form, along with new coach Anil Kumble led India to three consecutive series wins against West Indies (2-0), New Zealand (3-0) and England (4-0) to end the year as the No. 1 ranked Test side. Kohli managed to lead India to a record nine victories in 12 games this year without a single defeat. Kohli himself managed 1215 runs in the longest format this year at an average of 75.93 which also includes three double hundreds, a record for an Indian batsman.

All the wins came through big margins including two innings victories against England in the recently-concluded series. Ravichandran Ashwin was another architect in India's triumphs this year as he finished with 72 wickets and 612 runs in 12 matches this year. Ashwin for the second consecutive year ended up being the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket. Last year he had taken 62 wickets in nine Tests. Ravindra Jadeja grabbed 43 wickets in nine matches and provided the perfect support to Ashwin throughout the year.

Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara drew confidence from their skipper and performed superbly with the bat while Umesh Yadav and comeback man Mohammed Shami bowled at over 145 clicks and provided the early breakthroughs for the team on a consistent basis. India's next challenge in 2017 will be to win Test matches away from the sub-continent and prove their mettle in countries like England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.However there were a few failures and heartbreaks which India had to encounter this year.

ODI Series in Australia: India lost 1-4

© Getty

Dhoni's captaincy came under the scanner in the very first assignment of the year as India faced Australia in a five-ODI series Down Under. Even though the batsmen hit form and players like Rohit and Kohli scored more runs than any other batsmen from either side, it was India's bowling which suffered the most. Infact bowlers from either side had a series to forget as the pitches on offer were flat and completely in favour of the batsmen. The first two matches of the series saw India posting totals in excess of 300 but they still ended up on the losing side while in the third game the Aussies chased down 295 to take an unassailable series lead. Manish Pandey's unbeaten maiden hundred in the final game saw India register a consolation win as Australia took the series 4-1.

World T20: India knocked out in semi-finals

© AP

India's campaign in the World T20 began with a disappointing loss against New Zealand in the opening match. India have never beaten New Zealand in T20Is and the unfortunate record still stands. But India bounced back with a bang in the next three games and they defeated arch-rivals Pakistan, Bangladesh and then hammered Australia in the quarter-finals thanks to a Virat Kohli masterclass which was probably one of the best T20 knocks anybody has ever seen. Kohli smashed an unbeaten 82 in the match to power India to a six-wicket win in Mohali and setup a semi-final clash against the West Indies.

Kohli fired once again with an unbeaten 89 while crucial contributions from openers Rohit Sharma 43 and Ajinkya Rahane 40 propelled India to 192 in 20 overs. But Lendl Simmons, who plays for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, blew away the hosts with a brutal knock of 82 from 51 balls at the Wankhede to take his team into the finals. The 2012 champions then hammered England in the summit clash to become the first team in history to win the World T20 title twice. Indian cricket fans were left heartbroken after the home side's exit in the last-four stage but West Indies' victory in the final brought the smile back on their faces thanks to the Caribbean players' popularity here in India.

Photos: Indian cricketers and their controversies

The biggest controversies of Indian cricketers

Watch: 'This is a new Indian team under Kohli'

Replay Video

More from India Today

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon