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Sports 2013: A year of glory and shame

As the 2013 calendar reaches its fag end, TWF correspondent Supriyo Hazra looks back in wonder since it was the year when India's cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar bids an emotional farewell to the game.


Cricket:

Indian cricket passed through rough weathers once again in 2012 with spot fixing scams hitting it hard and even engulfing names of star cricketer like S Sreesanth into it. Yet, the emergence of a confident bunch of young cricketers, who have showed their never-say-die attitude in their performances so far, brings hopes to millions of people in the cricket worshipping nation that the legacy will be carried forward.

India-Pakistan series: The year commenced with a short series between India Pakistan where the 'Men in Green' defeated their opponents by 2-1 margin in the three match ODI series and thus giving a jolt to Indian fans. The two neighbouring nations had played a bilateral series for the first time in five years. The series saw the emergence of Mohammed Shami who bowled brilliantly in the last match of the series to help India defeat Pakistan.

India-England ODI series: India lost the Test series against England 1-2 but the home side bounced back and clinched the five match ODI series 3-2. Though losing the first match by a narrow margin of nine runs, India won the next three matches to win the series. England defeated India in the last match by seven wickets.

Border-Gavaskar Trophy: Called by many as a revenge series following India's horrible tour to Australia earlier, the home side kept their promise of giving the former world champions a tough time in the subcontinent by winning all the Test match (4-0). Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan proved his talent in the Test arena quite strongly by hitting the fastest hundred by a batsman on Test debut. Dhawan scored a memorable 187 in the match, heralding his arrival in the Test arena.

ICC Champions trophy: Hit by scams and scandals during the Indian Premier League (IPL), Indian team needed a breather and players had to show a strong performance on field to reclaim their credibility to the nation. The ICC Champions Trophy gave them that prime opportunity as India beat England by five runs in the thrilling final, which was reduced to a T20 affair, to win the tournament outright for the first time. Shikhar Dhawan, who performed brilliantly in the tournament, was adjudged the 'Player of the Tournament' while all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja grabbed 12 wickets in the ICC's only mega event of the year.

Caribbean tri-series: Indian captain MS Dhoni played a majestic unbeaten knock of 45 runs, scoring 16 runs off three balls in the final over, to help his side beat Sri Lanka in the final and lift the tri-series in July this year. The series also featured West Indies.

Australia ODI series: In a seven match ODI series against Australia at home, India defeated the visitors 3-2. The series witnessed some high run chases and charismatic performance by Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. In the Bangalore ODI, Rohit Sharma joined the elite club of Indian batsmen, which includes the names of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag who had hit double centuries in the 50-over format, after he smashed a 209.

India-West Indies series: The series gained immense attention owing to the retirement of India's leading run machine Sachin Tendulkar. The home team defeated West Indies in both the Test matches of the series to give Sachin a fitting a 'good bye' from the arena of cricket.

India's tour of South Africa: In the last tour of the year, which is still going on, all eyes were on the new Indian side and how they would performance in the bouncy South African wickets as they undertook the African safari in the last month of the year. Getting minimum time to adopt to the condition, India were defeated 2-0 in the three-match ODI series, with one match getting abandoned due to rain.

India showed good performance for the first four days of the first Test match of the series but South Africans put up a memorable performance in the second innings of the match to prevent the visitors from winning the Test.


Indian Premier League:

The sixth edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) was won by Mumbai Indians as they beat Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the final to lift the trophy.

Champions League T20:

Mumbai Indians continued its dominance in the T20 format and clinched the Champions League T20 trophy by beating Rajasthan Royals in the final.

Hitting yet another road block:

A year when Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar retired from cricket and the new Indian youngstars worked hard to step into the void left by the seniors, the Indian cricket once again faced a roadblock as spot fixing tainted the image of the country, where cricket was considered as a religion than a mere game. The lid was blown off the IPL scam after S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan - were arrested along with 11 bookies from Mumbai on May 16 for their role in spot-fixing in the ongoing tournament. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has found four Rajasthan Royals (RR) players guilty of spot-fixing during IPL 6.

The board also banned former Test pacer S. Sreesanth and Ankit Chavan for life from playing any representative cricket, or in any way being associated with the activities of the BCCI or its affiliates. The Mumbai Police earlier in September chargesheeted former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) team principal Gurunath Meiyappan for betting and cheating during the IPL. The Mumbai Police had said they found no evidence of spot-fixing against Meiyappan. The police also named actor Vindoo Dara Singh and 15 bookies from Pakistan in the chargesheet.

ICC Rankings:

India is currently the number one team in the ICC ODI ranking. South Africa hold the same spot in Test while Sri Lanka stood in the numero uno position in T20 Internationals.

And they left us with a heavy heart:

Sachin Tendulkar: The magician named Sachin Tendulkar whose wand had created tricks on the cricket field, helping millions of Indians forget their daily troubles and united the country for 24 years, retired from cricket this year, ending a career which touched innumerable glorious moments, shattered records and served the country like a soldier fighting for his nation every time he stepped into the cricket field. He retired from the game after playing the two-match home series against West Indies. The Indian government decided to confer the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, to Sachin.

Jacques Kallis: Arguably on the of the greatest all-rounders the world has ever seen, Jacques Kallis announced his retirement from Test cricket and said the ongoing Test against India in Durban will be his last. He will, however, play for his country in the limited format cricket.

Graeme Swann (England) announced his retirement from cricket.

Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka) quit Test cricket this year.

Rahul Dravid, who lead Rajasthan Royals in IPL and Champions League (T20), announced this year's editions of the cash rich tournament were his last. He captained the side at a time when spot fixing scam hit his team during the IPL. Under his leadership, the team also qualified to the CL T20 final where Mumbai Indians beat the side.



Football:

In the football arena, India did not had much glory to add this year apart from getting the hosting rights of the prestigious 2017 Under-17 FIFA World Cup.

High point:

India indeed touched high point this year winning the bid to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup. India is going to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup as the FIFA Executive Committee decided to hand the Asian nation the hosting rights ahead of Ireland, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and South Africa. The decision was taken at the FIFA Executive Committee Meeting which was held on Dec 4 and Dec 5 at Sauipe Fun Hotel, Salvador de Bahia, Brasil. The tournament in which 24 teams are going to take part will be held in six venues which are to be selected from eight prospective venues -New Delhi, Goa, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi and Guwahati.

India goal keeper Subrata Paul signed with Danish Superliga side FC Vestsjaelland. He has been reportedly offered a contract of six months by the club.

India defeated Nepal 2-0 in a friendly encounter

India drew with Philippines 1-1 in yet another international friendly it played this year.

Lows:

Afghanistan beat India 2-0 in the final of the 2013 SAFF Championship at the Dasrath Stadium in Kathmandu to lift the trophy.

India lost to Palestine by 2-4 margin in an international friendly.

Tajikistan defeated India 3-0 in an international friendly.

Putting up a poor show, India did not qualify for the final round of the AFC Challenge Cup.

On a different note:

In the second-tier club competition in Asian continent, the AFC Cup, Kolkata's football giant East Bengal reached the semifinals of the tournament. The club, however failed to reach the final of the tournament as they were outplayed by the mighty Kuwait Sports Club on 7-2 aggregate over two legs. East Bengal became only the second Indian side after Dempo to reach the semi-final of the tournament.

Tennis:

Australian Open:

Men's singles: Novak Djokovic

Women's singles: Victoria Azarenka

Men's doubles: Bob and Mike Bryan

Women's doubles: Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci

Mixed doubles: Jarmila Gajdošova and Matthew Ebden

French Open:

Men's singles: Rafael Nadal

Women's singles: Serena Williams

Men's doubles: Bob and Mike Bryan

Women's doubles: Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina

Mixed doubles: Lucie Hradecka and František Čermak

Wimbledon:

Men's singles: Andy Murray

Women's singles: Marion Bartoli

Men's doubles: Bob and Mike Bryan

Women's doubles: Hsieh Su-wei and Peng Shuai

Mixed doubles: Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic

US Open:

Men's singles: Rafael Nadal

Women's singles: Serena Williams

Men's doubles: Leander Paes and Radek Štepanek

Women's doubles: Andrea Hlavačkova and Lucie Hradecka

Mixed doubles: Andrea Hlavačkova and Max Mirnyi

India Tennis star Leander Paes added one more feather to his crown by winning the men's doubles event in US Open.

Indian Tennis saw another trouble when Top Indian tennis players formed the Indian Tennis Players Association (ITPA). Days after the players signed a temporary truce with the All India Tennis Association (AITA), the body was formed in order to protect their professional interests. It was formed after the ugly Davis Cup revolt that took place in early 2013. Somdev Devvarman and other Tennis stars started a rebellion against the AITA and thus boycotted the Davis Cup tie against Korea. AITA ignored the revolting players and declared a second string team for the tie which led to its defeat at the hands of Korea by 1-4 margin.

Badminton:

India's badminton star Saina Nehwal had a forgettable 2013 with her sloppy performance in the year. The iconic Olympic medallion did not win a single title and even slipped in the eight position in the international ranking. India, however, saw the emergence of another star PV Sindhu in the international arena as she impressed with her form and performance this year. Performing brilliantly, Sindhu became the first Indian to clinch a bronze in the women's singles at the World Badminton Championships in Guangzhou.

Not stopping there, the Arjuna awardee continued to impress the sporting arena by winning the Malaysia Grand Prix and Macau Open Grand Prix. In the men's section, Parupalli Kashyap broke into the top-10 rankings. Another talent K Srikanth stormed his presence in the international arena by winning the Thailand Open Grand Prix.

Indian badminton also touched another new high point when it launched the IPL-style franchise based Indian Badminton League (IBL) where young Indians got the chance to compete with the best players of the world. Led by Saina Nehwal the Hyderabad Hotshots beat Awadhe Warriors in the finals to lift the inaugural title.

The tournament, however, witnessed its own shares of controversies as Badminton stars Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa openly expressed their disappointments to media after their price were reduced on the auction day. Jwala landed herself into trouble once again due to her role in delaying the start of an IBL match between Delhi Smashers and Banga Beats in August. Troubles started when Jwala protested against Banga Beats' move to field an unregistered player and argued with the organizers which led to the match being delayed for nearly half-an-hour. Badminton Associaton of India's disciplinary committee recommended a life ban on the Indian star who later challenged it in the Delhi High Court. The matter was sorted out after the Delhi High Court intervened into it.

Archery:

Despiet poor performance in the Olympics in 2012, Indian women's recurve team comprising of Deepika Kumari, Laishram Bombayla Devi and Rimil Buruily clinched gold medals in the World Cup in 2013.

Chess:

India's chess icon Viswanathan Anand lost his World Champion title after he was defeated by Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen by 6.5-3.5. Carlsen became the new world chess champion by beating the legend.

Boxing:

In July 2013, Shiva Thapa became the youngest Indian to win a gold at the Asian Confederation Boxing Championship at Amman, Jordan. He had convincingly defeated Obada Al-Kasbeh of Jordan in the final of the bantamweight (56kg) category.

International sports icons:

Sebastian Vettel: German Formula One racing driver Sebastian Vettel , who is currently driving for the racing team Red Bull, continued his dominating run in 2013 and became the sport's youngest quadruple world champion after he won the title for the fourth time in a row. He also won the Indian Grand prix for the third time in a row. However, we won't see him in 2014 as in August 2013, FIA announced that the Indian Grand Prix will be discontinued in 2014 before returning to an early season slot in 2015.

Usian Bolt: Bolt remained the ultimate sporting icon and showman of the year as he won three gold medals at the World Championships in Moscow with his lighting speed on the track. In a flashing style and unimaginable speed, the world's fastest man won the gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay events.

Lost glory:

Oscar Pistorius: Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius will go to trial in early March next year after he was charged with murder and illegal possession of ammunition following the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February this year. He was granted bail on Feb 22 this year. Pistorius has admitted shooting dead Steenkamp, 29, while she was in the bathroom of his home on Feb 14. He claimed he mistook her for an intruder and denied a charge of premeditated murder.

Lance Armstrong: After confessing in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January ,that he used performance enhancing drugs during career, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was stripped of the seven titles he won between 1999 and 2005. The cyclist, who was once considered an icon by many, had to surrender his Olympics bronze medal and was also banned from competitive cycling for life following his admission of his guilt.

--IBNS (Posted on 29-12-2013)

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Quick Links: Goa | Munnar | Pondicherry | Free Yearly Horoscope '2014

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