2012, a forgettable year for Indian cricket!
The Indian team had an unforgettable time 2012, a year that started and ended with a defeat, says Harish Kotian.
India started the year with three back to back Test defeats in Australia that consigned them to a 4-0 series whitewash, their second in a row after England last year. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys then failed to make it to the final of the tri-series also featuring hosts Australia and Sri Lanka following four defeats in eight matches.
This was followed by another disappointment at the Asia Cup where they were shocked by hosts Bangladesh and failed to make it to the final.
Team India took six months to register their first series triumph of the year when they crushed Sri Lanka 4-1 in the five-match ODI series.
New Zealand, as expected, were no match for the Indians at home, who despite a sub-par showing, went on to register a 2-0 whitewash in the Test matches but the Kiwis extracted some revenge with a 1-0 win in the two-match T20 series after the first game was washed out.
Photographs: Pal Pillai/Getty Images
Test series loss to England at home was most disappointing
India's bubble then burst in the World T20 in Sri Lanka where they failed to make it to the semi-finals despite boasting of a team full of million dollar babies from the cash-rich Indian Premier League.
But the most disappointing result of the year was the Test series loss at home to England. The visitors, who are traditionally weak against spinners, shocked one and all with their gusty comeback following their nine-wicket loss in the first Test. They crushed India by 10 wickets on a turning wicket in Mumbai, which started turning from ball one on the orders of India captain Dhoni.
They registered another easy seven-wicket victory in the third Test in Kolkata, while drawing the fourth Test to win the series 2-1, their first triumph in India in 27 years.
India had hoped to gain some revenge in the T20 series but England's young team held their own with another win in Mumbai to end the series 1-1.
The same script followed in the T20 series against Pakistan that followed as it ended 1-1 before Pakistan thumped India by six wickets in the first ODI to make it disappointing ending to the year for the hosts.
Photographs: Pal Pillai/Getty Images
Dravid, Laxman called it quits in 2012
India's big two moments of the year were the retirements of batting legends Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman and it proved to be a big body blow for the Indian team as they struggled with the transition with not many talented youngsters coming through. India's batting struggled big time in the England Test series except for Cheteshwar Pujara, who shone brightly with consistent performances against New Zealand and England.
Virat Kohli sparkled at the start of the year but his performances faded at the end of a busy year but still he finished as India's top scorer in Tests with 689 runs in nine Tests at an average of 49.21. Pujara was a close second with 654 runs in six Tests at an average of 81.75 but there was nothing much to write about the other batsmen.
Sachin Tendulkar endured perhaps the worst year of his career as he struggled to get his bearings right and calls for his retirement grew ever strongly which many believe eventually forced him to quit the ODIs format at the end of the year. The veteran batsman managed just 357 runs in nine Tests at an average of 23.80, while Virender Sehwag also disappointed with 505 runs in nine Tests at an average of 31.56 despite playing six of them at home.
Image: Rahul Dravid
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
2013 will be another big year for India
Dhoni's captaincy also came under a lot of question marks following the poor showing by the team but he continued to have the backing of the selectors heading into the New Year.
Coach Duncan Fletcher is expected to leave after his contract expires in March 2013 as India endured one of their worst records, both at home and overseas, during his tenure.
2013 will be another big year for India with a Test series against Australia at home in February-March and a tough tour to South Africa later in the year.
If results continue to be poor then it won't be long before Indian cricket undergoes a huge revamp, but the dearth of talent at the domestic level has left the selectors in a fix too. But the junior Indian team gave the fans and the selectors some hope for the future, atleast in the limited overs format, when they won the Under-19 World Cup in Australia.
As 2012 ends and the New Year takes over, the fans will be hoping that India can return to winning ways in 2013 and return to the top of the cricketing world.
Photographs: Hamish Blair/Getty Images