Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cricket - Highlights of the past 10 years

REUTERS - Factbox on highlights from the past 10 years of world cricket selected by Reuters sports correspondent John Mehaffey:

Player of the decade:

By the end of the decade, Sachin Tendulkar had scored a scarcely credible 88 international centuries (43 in tests and 45 in ODIs) and was still going strong after 20 years at the top.

Beautifully balanced, with a complete range of shots, the 36-year-old Indian succeeded in all conditions against all opposition. He reserved some of his finest performances for Australia, consistently the world's strongest side for the past 15 years.

Defining moment:

On Feb. 20, 2008, eight Indian city-based franchises bid a total of $20 million for players to take part in the new Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 competition. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni attracted the highest bid, emerging richer by $1.5 million before a ball had been bowled.

Cricket compressed into three hours has since become immensely popular with players and spectators alike. The pressing problem now for the game's authorities, who neither organised nor control the IPL, is the precipitous decline in attendances for five-day tests outside grounds in England and Australia.

Match of the decade:

England travelled to the Oval in September 2005, needing a draw to seize the Ashes back from Australia after 16 fruitless years in a series unanimously acclaimed as the greatest ever.

Shane Warne threatened to win the match single-handed for Australia with the sheer power of his personality before a century of breathtaking audacity by Kevin Pietersen saved the day for the home side.

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