Transition phase completed as Tendulkar bids farewell in 2013
New Delhi: A legend walking into sunset after an illustrious career, a bunch of bravehearts asserting India`s supremacy in the limited overs format and a phenomenally talented cricketer choosing the path of self destruction by indulging in spot-fixing, were the highlights of Indian cricket in the eventful 2013.
While cricket had its usual quota of the good, the bad and the ugly but Sachin Tendulkar`s retirement after serving the country for 24 long years and giving joy to billions across the globe was certainly the most moving moment of the year.
It indeed was a `Farewell to Remember` when Tendulkar played his 200th and final Test match at his homeground Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. His last innings in Test cricket bore testimony to legendary status -- an innings that was high on quality and aesthetic value for those who had loved the `Game of glorious uncertainties`.
The euphoria and outpouring of the fans during his farewell series would forever remain unmatched. Sir Don Bradman may have had the best average but when it came to love and affection, Tendulkar had outscored the iconic Australian by a fair distance.
200 Test matches, 100 international centuries, more than 50,000 runs across all formats at the senior level are not just numbers or milestones for the cricket crazy Indians. These are figures that every fan treasures with a sense of belonging. His farewell speech at the Wankhede on November 16 will forever be etched in the memory of his fans as there was hardly anyone who didn`t wipe a tear on that emotional afternoon.
Tendulkar left a legacy but with his departure a new chapter unfolded in Indian cricket as the `transition phase`, which had been a buzz word since the retirement of Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly was completed.
The `Gen-Next` under Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s able stewardship took over quite successfully with Virat Kohli easily being the best of the lot in terms of talent transformed into performance. Apart from the legends, the likes of Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh are also on their way out as they are battling to save their international careers.
Earlier this year, Shikhar Dhawan burst into Test cricket with an amazing 187 against Australia at Mohali which turned out to be the fastest hundred by a debutant.
Dhawan since then has made rapid strides in international cricket having played a pivotal role in India`s Champions Trophy triumph in England where he was adjudged `Player of the Series`. Along with Rohit Sharma, Dhawan has forged a very successful opening partnership which has done exceptionally well in the West Indies, England, India with only failure being the year-end away series against South Africa.
Dhoni again has proved that he is a good strategist as his decision to open with Rohit Sharma has proved to be a masterstroke. The talented Mumbai batsman had revelled in his new role which saw him smash a double hundred against the West Indies at Bangalore last month. Rohit also had an impressive debut as he scord back-to-back tons in his first two matches although he has struggled against pace and swing in South African conditions.
Cheteshwar Pujara seemed to have made the No 3 slot vacated by Rahul Draviod his own as he showed the world that he is good enough to make runs in foreign conditions with scores of 153 and 70 against South Africa at Johannesburg and Durban.