India vs West Indies 2016: 31 things that have occurred in the sporting world since India's last Test match
227 - A number; The sea of days between the Indian cricket team’s last Test appointment and its next, against the West Indies in the sunny Caribbean. A truly remarkable number given the fact that Test cricket is still widely regarded as the premier format of the game. India hosted the World T20 in March and the BCCI were quick to ensure that the team was sufficiently prepared for the mega-event, resulting in a T20 heavy calendar to start the year.
Many have forgotten what it feels like, to battle for 450 overs, over 5 days, against an opponent, against nature, against pain, against all odds to secure a win. 1. When India last played a Test match, in December of 2015, they ran out winners against South Africa by a mammoth 337 runs, their largest win margin in runs in history.
2016 has been a year packed with sporting action, we try to list down everything that has happened since India last played a Test match.
1) West Indies win their second WT20, becoming the first team to do so: Darren Sammy and his band of merry men sang, danced and fought all the way to the final of the WT20, where, on the back of 4 sixes off Carlos Brathwaite’s bat, they lifted the title. They were all ‘Champions’.
2) ‘Go go go go go go…’ Sunrises Hyderabad win their first IPL: Less-fancied SRH went on to win their first IPL, beating RCB and breaking Virat Kohli’s heart in the final on the back of a remarkable bowling effort through the course of the tournament.
3) Virat Kohli scores his first T20 100, goes on to score 3 more: 90*,59*, 7,49,56*,41*, 23, 55*, 24, 82*, 89*, 75, 79, 33, 80, 100*, 14, 52, 108*, 20, 7, 109, 75*, 113, 54, 0, 54 - Virat Kohli in T20s in 2016. Let that settle in.
4) Alastair Cook breaches 10,000 run barrier: Alastair Cook became the first Englishman to reach 10,000 runs in Test cricket. He became the youngest to do so at 31 years and 157 days, 5 months ahead of previous record-holder Sachin Tendulkar when he reached the mark.
5) KL Rahul’s summer in the sun: KL Rahul became the first Indian to score a 100 on ODI debut when he reached the feat in a match against Zimbabwe in June. He had also scored a 100 on first match as an opener in Test cricket, creating a unique record for himself.
6) Anil Kumble starts a new innings: The BCCI announced the appointment of Anil Kumble as head coach of the Indian cricket team at a highly publicised press conference.
7) Misbah-ul-Haq scores 100, does 10 push-ups in Lord’s: Pakistan skipper Misbah scored a century in the first innings during the recent Test against England, becoming the oldest captain to ever do so and also the oldest centurion in 82 years!
8) Mohammad Amir’s life comes full circle: 5 years after he was banned for a spot-fixing incident that occurred at Lord’s, the 24 year old seamer made his return and claimed the winning wicket, knocking Jake Ball’s stumps off to record a remarkable win for Pakistan.
9) Leicester City script a remarkable tale: Leicester City beat all odds (The odds on Leicster becoming Premier League champs were lower than Kim Kardashian becoming the next President of the USA) to become Premier League Champions for the first time in their history. This was also their highest finish in England’s top-flight, beating their previous best of second place in 1928-1929.
10) Real Madrid are Champions League winners, again!: Real Madrid won their second Champions League title in three years, beating city-rivals Atletico Madrid in the finals (again). This was their 11th title, the most in history. La undecima.
11) Lionel Messi calls it quits: Lionel Messi lost his 4th consecutive final with the Argentinian national team and went on to shock the world announcing his retirement from international football. He had earlier won his 5th Ballon d’Or, extending his lead over arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo to 2.
12) Portugal win their first major international tournament in football history: They weren’t always pretty, but they were pretty darn effective. Portugal won the UEFA EURO 2016 beating hosts France in the final.
13) Iceland and Wales’ party during Euro 2016: Iceland and Wales enthralled fans worldwide with their remarkable performance in the Euros. Iceland, in their first major tournament ever, progressed to the quarter-finals whereas Wales, who won 2 games in the knockout stage, now have the same number of wins in the knockouts that England do in the last 20 years.
14) Jose Mourinho and Zlatan Imbramovic form dream team at Manchester United: Serial winner Jose Mourinho was appointed as manager of Manchester United and soon after, good friend Zlatan Imbramovic announced that Manchester United would play for him**
15) Ronaldinho, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Hernan Crespo, Michel Salgado play their first game in India: Legends from the game of football turned out for their respective Futsal sides in the Premier Futsal League.
16) Roger Federer’s stunning 16 year Grand Slam streak: Roger Federer pulled out of the French Open, ending a 16 year long streak that saw the Swiss Maestro participate in 65 consecutive grand slams. Astonishing.
17) Novak Djokovic’s streak also comes to an end: American Sam Querrey beat Novak Djokovic in the 3rd round of the Wimbledon, ending the Serb’s run of six consecutive Grand Slam finals, four consecutive Slam titles and a 30 match winning streak in Grand Slams.
18) ‘Britain’s’ Andy Murray becomes two-time Wimbledon winner: Scot Andy Murray won his second Wimbledon title after beating Canadian Milos Raonic in the final. Heartbreak for Raonic who had overcome the small hurdle of beating Roger Federer in the semi-finals.
19) Serena Williams is at it again: The American added another feather to cap, equalling Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam Singles trophies by beating Angelique Kerber in the finals of the Wimbledon.
Basketball, F1, Golf, Other sports
20) Cleveland end their sports curse: Lebron James returned home to the Cleveland Cavaliers and delivered the NBA title to his city, putting in a virtuoso ‘NBA finals MVP’ worthy performance to pip record-breaking Golden State Warriors to the title.
21) Golden State Warriors respond immediately: GSW who broke an NBA record, winning 73 games in the regular season in the 2015-16 season, took another step to perfection adding 2014 MVP Kevin Durant to their roster.
22) A legend retires: Tim Duncan called it curtains on a magical 19 year career with the San Antonio Spurs where he won 5 NBA titles. The team responded immediately by signing 6 time All-Star Pau Gasol.
23) Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton crash in the first lap of the race: The Mercedes duo who have had their differences over the years are inseparable at the top of the F1 Championship Standings this season, as well as on the grid. The pair crashed into each other during the first lap at the Spanish Grand Prix, with Hamilton looking to regain the lead over Rosberg.
24) Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton crash in the last lap of the race: On the last lap of the 71 at the Austrian Grand Prix, the pair crashed again as Hamilton overtook Rosberg and claimed the win at the end of a dramatic race.
25) Amidst all the chaos, Max Verstappen is a record-breaker: Having earned a call up to the Red Bull team as a replacement for Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen became the youngest winner of an F1 race at 18 years and 228 years, a whole 3 years younger than previous record-holder Sebastian Vettel at the Spanish Grand Prix. He also became the first man from the Netherlands to win a F1 race.
26) 3 first-time winners in golf’s Majors so far: Danny Willett won The Masters in April, his first Major and also marked the first time in 20 years that an Englishman had won at the Masters. Dustin Johnson reigned supreme at the US Open in June. A month later, Henrik Stenson became the first Swede to win a major Championship by claiming victory at The Open Championship.
27) Vijender Singh is still unbeaten: Indian boxer Vijender Singh improved his perfect start to life as professional boxer, recording his 7th win, against Kerry Hope in front of a boisterous crowd at the Thyagraj Stadium in New Delhi. This win earned him the Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title.
28) India sends an army to Rio: India will be represented by a remarkable 121 athletes in the Rio Olympics in August, their largest contingent IN HISTORY! This is a whole 38 athletes more than the 83 member contingent that travelled to London 4 years earlier.
On a lighter note
29) Salman Khan appointed as Rio Olympics brand ambassador: The appointment of Salman Khan as the first Goodwill Ambassador of the Indian contingent brought the ire of a number of people, who questioned his credibility. Sachin Tendulkar, AR Rahman and Pankaj Advani have since been appointed too.
30) Harsha Bhogle axed from IPL commentary: In an absolutely baffling move, the BCCI sacked Harsha Bhogle from commentary duties for the IPL 2016 after a row with MS Dhoni and Amitabh Bachchan during the World T20.
31) Wedding bells: A whole number of cricketers tied the knot since India played their last Test including the likes of Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohit Sharma and Mitchell Starc. Elsewhere, footballer Bastian Schweinsteiger married Ana Ivanovic.
It’s safe to say that we haven’t been short of entertainment since India played their last Test, but who are we kidding, get the action underway already.