India emerge as cricketing superpower
New Delhi December 25:
India emerged as the cricketing world's new superpower in 2008 making top-ranked Australia bite the dust while also exhibiting its financial might with the launch of the highly successful Indian Premier League which revolutionised the sport.
The year also marked the end of an era with Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble bidding adieu to international cricket even as 35-year-old Sachin Tendulkar continued to sore high, making it clear he had no plans to retire in the near future.
As Ganguly and Kumble made an exit, a new era heralded in Indian cricket under the charasmatic captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni who cleverly camouflaged the vacuum created by the departure of the two veterans and led the team to a series of triumphs during the year.
After India defeated the mighty Australia at Perth, the Dhoni-led team inflicted more humiliation on Ricky Ponting's men by defeating them 2-0 at home. It was Australia's worst series loss since a 3-0 setback against the West Indies in 1983. As India prevented Australia from a record 17-match winning run for the second time, the signs were clear that the balance of power was finally shifting away from Ponting's men.
India also humbled South Africa and England in the year which proved to be annus mirabilis for the team. India, placed second in the ICC Test rankings, and South Africa, just a point adrift on third, are now in race to topple Australia from the number one slot.