It was a fabulous year for Indian cricket. Team India remained unbeaten in contests against England, Australia, West Indies, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, apart from a runner-up position in the Champions Trophy, where Pakistan defeated Virat Kohli & Co. by a huge margin at The Oval.
Kohli strode like a colossus, excelling in all formats of the game, but his fallout with coach Anil Kumble was a sore point that also showed the BCCI in poor light. Ravi Shastri, as expected, returned as India coach in place of Kumble even though the Board conducted fresh interviews with other candidates like Virender Sehwag, Tom Moody, Lalchand Rajput and Dodda Ganesh.
The year 2017 saw new talent such as Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Basil Thampi being rewarded, even as seniors like Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane promised to maintain their momentum. The comeback of Parthiv Patel was a pleasant development for the wicketkeeper-batsman, who led Gujarat to its first-ever Ranji Trophy title win.
It was, however, Kohli’s awesome form that kept the fans glued. He rounded off the year with back-to-back double centuries against Sri Lanka at home, as India dominated the Test series. True, the opposition was not as strong as the critics would have wanted it to be, but it was a tribute to Kohli’s form and commitment that he inspired India to great heights.
India’s Test wins against Bangladesh, Australia and Sri Lanka were unsurprising. Its lone Test defeat came in Pune against Australia.
India had to work hard to beat Bangladesh in the one-off Test in Hyderabad.
Among other events was Ashish Nehra’s retirement. He was accorded a T20 match against New Zealand in Delhi and Nehra signed off in style. Apart from Sachin Tendulkar, the left-arm seamer was the only player to receive such a farewell.
On the field India proved unbeatable, but off it the Board’s image continued to take a beating, as the Supreme Court continued to slam the administration. It is to the credit of the players that they kept the fans’ interest in place.
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