5 Things We Learned from World Cricket in 2015

Batting records are made to be broken.

It doesn’t matter how much a team or batsman scores anymore. Rest assured, the record won’t last for too long. Even though the fielding restriction rules have become tighter to favor bowlers after the World Cup, the damage has been done. There were two double centuries in the World Cup – and none of them seemed magnificent or earth-shattering. That’s just how it is now; with the highest number of 400+ scores Down Under. Rohit Sharma’s 264 isn’t safe, and neither is Lara’s 400. And in ODIs, 400 is the new 300, and 300 is the new 150. RIP, bowlers. 

South Africa is the antithesis of India.

While the South Africans have a long history of performing superbly in bilateral tournaments and test series, they continue to fall short – even with their best ODI team – in ICC tournaments. They crashed out to New Zealand in a heartbreaking semifinal – a stage they’ve reached too many times without playing the decider – a game and tournament they should have won. Instead, Australia, a team in transition, won it once more and cricket felt boring all over again. India, meanwhile, reached the same semifinal stage – this, despite being in their worst form prior to the tournament- with nobody giving them a hope in hell to go past their group stages. But they won 8 in a row before losing to Australia, and all in all, over-performed yet again in an ICC tournament. Last year, they reached the final of the T20 World Cup, too. 

 
The Pakistan cricket team is still gloriously flaky.
Cricket will not be the same if Pakistan doesn’t make the Champions’ Trophy next year. Right now, it’s down to one spot left between three teams – West Indies, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Pakistani team has just won their first full tour of Sri Lanka since 2006, a considerable achievement after performing terribly in the World Cup earlier this year. Their reputation is summed up perfectly by their performance in the second and final T20 game against Sri Lanka on tour. Chasing 173, they were 42/5 in 7 overs, before Afridi – who still plays cricket despite 10 retirements – re-ignited the chase with four sixes and bowler Anwar Ali pulled off the impossible and smashed 45 to get 65 off the last 6 overs. They won with 1 wicket to spare, and oddly, this didn’t seem like a great escape or a miracle. It seemed like just another day for Pakistan. 
 
Bangladesh isn’t just another team. 
 
They’ve been brave and have discovered a few new bowling stars in Rahman, Taskin and Rubel. Apart from the stellar performance in the World Cup, where they defeated England to make the quarters, they have defeated Pakistan, India and South Africa at home. They made the Champions’ Trophy, and have made full use of this home season. They’ve also been smart in a way. By holding the South Africa and India series in the middle of their monsoon, they have managed to get Test Series draws with both teams, thereby getting them points to climb up the table. They have a long way to go before they become a competitive test team, but such wily decisions will serve them well. 
 
Two years after Tendulkar’s retirement, the Indian test team is STILL in transition. 
 
He retired in November 2013, and since then, one can count the number of test matches India have been competitive in. Now with Dhoni’s retirement, the selectors have taken a step backward with Harbhajan’s selection, showing no faith in younger spinners. It is also clear that Kohli can’t handle both formats; if he does well in tests as a batsman, he fails in ODIs and vice versa. It’s important that he leads the ODI team, but the jury is still out in tests. The Sri Lanka tour will serve as a test, and perhaps a reminder that different captains in different formats aren’t such a bad idea. England is finally profiting from this theory. 

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