C365 bloggers look back over 2014

Blog Opinion

As regular readers will know, Cricket365 is fortunate to have a collection of some excellent writers willing to put their names on(the)line for us. We asked a few of them about their cricketing highlights of 2014.

We asked Peter Miller (@theCricketGeek), Scott Oliver (@reverse_sweeper), Alex Bowden (@TheKingsTweets), and our head commentator Mayuresh Kulkarni, for their thoughts on the past year.

1) Most memorable batting effort

PM: Brendon McCullum vs Pakistan  – 3rd Test double hundred
SO: Michael Clarke’s 160-odd with a bad back, having been peppered by Morkel, evidence of the mighty conkers he would show in different circumstances later in the year.
AB: Moeen Ali 108* v Sri Lanka at Headingley. Some batsman look good but don't respond well to pressure. Moeen Ali is a very stylish batsman, but after this innings it seemed like his strokeplay was merely secondary. Arriving at 57-5, he made just about the finest debut hundred imaginable. Watching his calm response to a crisis, you can't imagine he’s ever been nervous about a single thing in his entire life.
MK: Rohit Sharma's 264 in an ODI

2) Most memorable spell of bowling

PM: Sunil Narine's wicket maiden in a super over at the CPL
SO: Dhammika Prasad, the journeyman, blowing the game open for Sri Lanka at Headingley in May.
AB: Rangana Herath 5-3 v New Zealand in the World T20. New Zealand were 18-0 chasing just 120 to win when Herath came on to bowl. After his first three overs, they were 30-5. A short time later, they were 60 all out. Herath looks so friendly. It was like being gummed to death by a teddy bear.
MK: Mitchell Johnson in the Ashes. All of it.

3) Most improved player

PM: Dave Warner
SO: David Warner – from inconsistent dasher to super-productive counter-puncher.
AB: Steve Smith. Didn't he used to be faintly laughable?
MK: Mitchell Johnson

4) Favourite debutant

PM: Moeen Ali
SO: Moeen Ali
AB: Moeen Ali. He bowled a bit too.
MK: Quinton de Kock

5) Best captain

PM: Brendon McCullum
SO: Brendon McCullum has made big runs up and down the order, managed a tidy though not spectacular attack with great imagination, and played in a way that marries aggression and humility.
AB: Most of them, actually. Angelo Mathews juggled whatever weird bowling attack he happened to have that day and batted like a prince (not Ashwell); Misbah-ul-Haq brought about a series of Test miracles; Brendon McCullum continues to do a spanking job; and Michael Clarke became some sort of iron-willed, philosophising role model, enduring a ridiculous amount of physical and emotional hardship.
MK: Angelo Mathews, he is captain awesome!

6) Funniest moment

PM: Nuwan Pradeep's hit wicket vs England
SO: ABdV setting off for a bye when the ball had dropped at Zimbabwe keeper’s feet, being stumped/run out while still heading in the opposite direction.
AB: Misbah-ul-Haq scoring the fastest Test hundred. Misbah-ul-Haq!
MK: When the ECB dropped KP. It was so stupid that it was funny!

7) Thing that made you the angriest

PM: Sacking KP (Concise! – Ed)
SO: The high-handed obfuscation of the ECB, both in relation to the KP situation and the three-way carve-up with BCCI and CA.
AB: The whole KP-ECB thing and everything that stemmed from it. It was hard to sympathise with anyone. Both sides looked immature and manipulative. Writers picked sides and didn't really give the facts. Fans became monomaniacal about it. Cricket was sullied, and that’s really not on.
MK: The BCCI throwing their weight around!

8) Scandal of the year

PM: Srini and the Supreme Court
SO: Lou Vincent (and as yet unrevealed accomplices).
AB: Ian Botham getting ‘hacked’. This is the way cricket scandals are supposed to be: revolting, amusing and ultimately harmless. Having someone running the sport who’s being investigated for corruption is something else entirely.
MK: The IPL corruption saga, although nothing will really happen. Dhoni being the vice-president of India Cements!

9) Stand-out memory of 2014

PM: Netherlands vs Ireland at WT20 (Netherlands needed 190 runs in 14.2 overs to reach the next stage. They got it in 13.5)
SO: I watched a lot of Notts this year and Riki Wessels' ball-striking was always an uncomplicated pleasure among bigger names.
AB: Off the field, the sport showcasing its fundamental decency in the wake of Phil Hughes’ death. On the field, Pakistan restoring my love for them by being reduced to what was probably their third choice bowling attack but still thrashing everyone. Is there any sporting team in the world for which the link between sound preparation and performance is less meaningful?
MK: Cook being dropped as ODI captain after being defended with all the might of the ECB! (Phil Hughes' memory was spoilt by the media who tried to milk the situation too much)

Happy New Year, love Team C356!