In cricket as with any sport, we all love stories.
Whether it is a player making a comeback or a team choking at an important moment, we love the drama that comes with the game.
And as fans, we have been gifted with many such stories that have really made the game what it is today.
When making this list, the hardest part was to leave out so many wonderful moments that really deserve to be here. But after much deliberation and thought, we have come with 10 stories that speak about the game in all its glory.
Let’s have a look at them.
1. Sachin Tendulkar’s Debut
For many people, the game of cricket is synonymous with Sachin Tendulkar.
It is not an exaggeration to say that he is the most idolised cricketer of all time. He has rewritten every batting record worth having.
And it all started in the middle of November in 1989. Sachin a fresh-faced 16-year-old faced up to the might of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis with inspiring confidence.
The game has never been the same ever since.
2. Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket
This was the rebel league before people even knew the concept of such a tournament. The influence that the World Series Cricket left on the game is felt to this day.
If there is one legacy that this league left behind, it was the entertainment factor that people love. It also showed the business opportunities that the sport had to offer, and we get to see so much of it today in the T20 world.
Oh, and it was also the first tournament to really promote coloured clothing for one-day games and don’t we all love the wonderful kits we get to see today?
3. The Birth of Ashes
It is incredible that a series between the two nations is watched by the entire world.
Rivalries in cricket are one of the most enduring aspects of the game. And there are few rivalries that match the intensity and history that the Ashes has.
On the 2nd of September 1882, after Australia had famously beaten England in a test match, we saw the birth of what has become one of cricket’s most eye-catching rivalries. It doesn’t matter if you are Indian or South African, you are interested in the events of the Ashes.
Such is its influence on the game.
4. The Third Umpire
It is one of those symbols that every cricket fan knows by now.
When the on-field umpire draws a square in the air, it is time to shift to the umpire sitting in a studio. The third umpire was revolutionary in many ways as it helped lessen the burden on the on-field officials. It is not always possible to judge a runout or stumping in real-time.
With the development of technology, these decisions are being made where the margin of error is very minimal.
Here’s a fun piece of trivia for you. Sachin Tendulkar was the first person to be given out by the third umpire
5. MS Dhoni’s Six To Win The World Cup
It is one moment that is burned into the memory of every Indian.
Everyone knows where they were and how they felt when the Indian captain swung his bat off a Nuwan Kulasekara ball to send more than a billion people into raptures.
India had to wait 28 years before they could call themselves World Champions in the one-day game. It was perhaps fitting that it was Dhoni who hit the winning shot. A man who was working as a ticket collector would go on to become an entire generation’s idol and help Sachin Tendulkar win his elusive World Cup.
If ’83 inspired a generation, the same can be said about ’11 as well.
6. Jonty Rhodes Runs Out Inzamam Ul-Haq
For a game that always talks about batting and bowling, fielding was one department that wasn’t really given its due importance.
But one man perhaps unknowingly changed that perception within a few seconds on a fateful night in 1992. The stage was Pakistan vs South Africa with young Inzamam on strike.
A man that was known to get run out in comical style had every right to think that he was safe on this occasion. The ball had spun away to point and Inzy had set off. When he was sent back, little did he know that he would be out within 5 seconds. Jonty Rhodes ran from around 30 yards to send the stumps crashing and a million kids dreaming about pulling off something like that.
He made fielding cool and the game has truly never been the same since.
7. Brian Lara Reaches 400
To put this achievement in context, no player before or since him has reached this figure.
Sure, there are some who came close but none can claim to have reached 400 in a Test match. This might just be the greatest individual batting stat a player can own. Over the years it has become a mythical figure and one that people dream about.
Brian Charles Lara will surely go down as one of the game’s best-ever batsmen and it is feats such as this that make him legendary.
8. Kapil Dev Lifts The World Cup
In 2011, there was pressure on the hosts to win the World Cup and India delivered. In 1983 no one, not even the Indian fans would have expected them to be the champions.
But on 25 June 1983, the game was about to change forever, and India and Indians started to dream. Kapil’s Devils as they were known prevented the famed West Indies from completing a hat trick of World Cups.
All the moments from the game will run through your head every time you think about it. Kapil’s running catch to dismiss Viv Richards. Balwinder Sandhu’s peach of a delivery. And of course, the lasting image of the Indian team holding aloft the trophy on the Lord’s balcony.
Some moments change the game but very few define it.
9. 1999 World Cup Semi-Finals
Australia and South Africa met in the semi-finals of the 1999 World Cup, and it was a thriller or a comedy of errors depending on which side you were on!
Chasing 213 by Australia, South Africa seemed well in at one stage 6-175, after a batting collapse, the score was 9-148 when the last man Alan Donald walked in.
Lance Klusener the “Zulu” was at the peak of his powers batting at the other end. From 16 of 8 balls, it became 1 run required of 4 balls courtesy of a missed catch that was spooned for a six by Paul Reiffel off Glen McGrath in the 48th over and two consecutive boundaries off Damien Fleming. The third ball was hit to Darren Lehmann who missed an easy run out of Donald at the nonstriker’s end, but this proved to be crucial as off the next ball miss-hit down the pitch Klusener scampered for a single only to find Donald turning his back and staying put in his crease!
Both were caught at the same end and it was a formality for wickets to be broken at the batting end. With two balls to spare and one run to score, with their best batsman on the crease, somehow SA managed to lose the match.
It was a heartbreaker for them and loudened the cries of “chokers” they were unfairly tagged with. SA probably hasn’t come out of that self-doubt yet looking at their performances in big tournaments.
10 – 2019 World Cup Final game’s final moments
If there was one defining moment of the 2019 world cup, it was the one above; the moment when Ben Stokes attempting a couple benefitted from the archaic rule of runs being awarded for ball hitting the bat off an overthrow.
The two became a six with the ball crossing the boundary off the deflection. (Should have been only five since they had not crossed when the throw hit the bat, but that is another story!)
England tied on regular time and a super over also saw a tie and an inexplicably inane rule which says the number of boundaries hit would determine the outcome meant that England finally had their hands on the cup, in a game which they had invented after 40+ years of trying.
But cricket is not football and New Zealanders are too gracious to sulk. Kane Williamson won a lot of hearts but lost the cup to England who played strong cricket throughout.
This might induce a soul searching from the lethargic ICC to come out with changes to the overthrow rule which is absurd, to say the least.
Mohan is a Junior Associate at Swag Swami, an online E-Commerce portal that reviews Cricket equipment. He is also an avid gamer who spends his free time logged into Steam. He also practices Yoga and meditation regularly and teaches Yoga at the Cosmopolitan Center in India.