Here are some of the events that caught everyone\'s attention on the cricket field, and off it as well, in the year 2013.
From the euphoria of six series wins in a row to the gloom of IPL spot-fixing scandal, from the emergence of talent like Shikhar Dhawan to teary-eyed exit of Sachin Tendulkar, India saw the best and the worst happening in the year that is going by. Here are some of the events that caught everyone's attention on the cricket field, and off it as well, in the year 2013.
India maul Australia 4-0 and the emergence of Dhawan
After being drubbed 4-0 Down Under in 2011-12, it was imperative for India to reply back in the return series. And the MS Dhoni-led side did just that - gave Aussies the same treatment they received a year ago. India won the first Test in Chennai by eight wickets and followed it up with victories in Hyderabad (innings and 135 runs), Mohali (six wickets) and Delhi (six wickets). The series also saw the emergence of Dhawan, who announced his arrival in Test cricket with the fastest century on debut in Mohali. The hundred came in just 85 balls and was laced with crunching drives through the covers - both off pace and spin.
A rare double for Mumbai Indians
It's no secret that Mumbai Indians is one of the best-managed side in the IPL and boasts of the most extensive squad. But despite having plenty of resources, Mumbai would always fall short of making the best use of them. Giving the reins of the side to Rohit Sharma and roping in the experienced John Wright as coach turned the fortunes of the franchise. Rohit, with his exuberance and ability, and Wright, with his experience, successfully put together the missing pieces of the jigsaw. Both were able to take the best out of the star-studded Mumbai squad - winning the sixth edition of the IPL and claiming their second Champions League T20 title.
IPL stung by Spot-fixing menace
IPL has always been hit by one or the other controversy but none bigger than the IPL spot-fixing fiasco that stung the league at the fag-end of the sixth edition, which took the gloss off from an otherwise entertaining season. The controversy sealed the fate of the involved Rajasthan Royals' cricketers, with S Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan getting banned for life, while Amit Singh - a former RR player - and Siddharth Trivedi were handed five- and one-year bans respectively. Ajit Chandila, another player allegedly part of the fixing racket, is still being investigated for his role in the whole fiasco.
Virat Kohli: the unstoppable force
In the last few years, Kohli has often been touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket, and the 25-year-old strengthened that belief further in 2013. He was extremely prolific in all forms of cricket but his performance in ODIs hogged the limelight the most. In 2013, Kohli scored 1268 runs - the most made by any batsman during that period. Kohli averaged 52.83 in 30 innings this year, smashing four centuries and seven fifties. His unbeaten 115 against Australia was his best effort.
Rohit Sharma finally fulfills his potential:
Rohit has always been believed to be a player who has loads of talent but who has often disappointed when it came to replicating that into performance. But the captaincy of Mumbai Indians put his career on the right path. He not only helped his franchise win its maiden IPL title but also repeated the same form while playing for India. He was asked to open the batting in ODIs - the opportunity that he seized with both hands. He strung some crucial opening stands with Dhawan that helped India win one series after another and helped MI win their second title - Champions League T20 - of the year. Rohit capped that all nicely with a double century in ODIs - only the third batsman after Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag to have achieved such the feat.
Ravindra Jadeja: the unheralded hero
Questions were asked about his place in the team and he was adorned with the 'Sir' status - an unofficial title given to him in good-hearted humour. But Jadeja proved his detractors wrong with his performance this year. With his dead-accurate left-arm spin, the 25-year took 52 wickets. Jadeja's all-round effort too was pivotal for India to have such a good year in the 50-over format.
Pujara named ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year
ICC might have got a little late in choosing Cheteshwar Pujara as their Emerging Cricketer of the year but they finally decided to reward the youngster for the promise and performance he has shown in the last few years. In six Tests this year, Pujara scored 549 runs at a healthy average of over 78, with best of 204 against Australia in March. The 25-year-old is well known for playing marathon knocks for his state side Saurashtra and scored another triple century (352 against Karnataka) in the Ranji Trophy this year - the highest individual score by any batsman in first-class cricket this year.
Ashwin tops allrounders' chart in Tests
India have been looking for an allrounder for the No. 7 slot for many years and in Ashwin they seemed to have found one. Since his debut Test in November 2011, Ahswin has not just contributed with his offspin but has also emerged as an excellent lower-order batsman, who has the requisite skills and temperament needed to be successful at the highest level. Riding on his consistent performance, he overtook Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan to become the No. 1 allrounder in Tests. He has 419 points in comparison to 362 of Shakib's and 332 of South Africa's Jacques Kallis. He took 41 wickets at 19.87 in six Tests this year and also scored a century against West Indies.
Captain cool Dhoni in ICC Test and ODI teams
Dhoni being named in both ICC's Test and ODI teams of 2013 shouldn't come as a surprise as his performance as an individual and leader has been phenomenal in the last few years. World T20 title in 2007, 50-over World Cup in 2011 and Champions Trophy in 2013 - what MS Dhoni has achieved as India captain in the last few years is simply incredible. He has led the side from the front and has taken the side to the zenith in all three formats of the game.
Tendulkar bids adieu to cricket
It turned out to be more emotional than many would have imagined as Sachin Tendulkar played his last innings in any form of cricket. The proposed tour of South Africa was curtailed and a two-Test series against West Indies was arranged so that Tendulkar could finish his illustrious career in front of the home crowd that has cheered for him for almost quarter of a century. And many were left wiping their tears when they heard what Tendulkar said in those 21 minutes of his farewell speech.
Six series wins in a row for India:
Brimming with energy and confidence, India won six series in a row in ODIs in 2013 - a feat that was achieved only once before, between August 2008 and September 2009. India, the World Champions in the 50-over format, began their winning campaign with a 3-2 victory over England and followed it up with success at the Champions Trophy in England. India completed a hat-trick of titles with a tri-series win in the Caribbean and then drubbed minnows Zimbabwe 5-0 in their own den. Runs bled in the seven-match series at home against Australia that India won 3-2 and then bagged their sixth trophy in a row with a 2-1 triumph over the West Indies. A series victory in South Africa would have been a fitting end to a wonderful year for India but they lost 0-2. Nevertheless, India finished the year as the No. 1 ranked ODI team.