2020 was a particularly hard year for people all around the globe due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. But the cricketing world was shaken by MS Dhoni’s retirement on India’s Independence Day, August 15 2020. This sudden announcement made fans realise that they won’t ever be able to see Mahi in the Indian blue, leading his team from behind the stumps. 2020 was a weird year and a lot happened during the course of it. Along with MS Dhoni’s retirement from cricket, here are the things which will be dearly missed in 2021.
RECORD ATTENDANCE FOR WOMEN’S WORLD CUP FINAL AT THE MCG
The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) was packed to a capacity crowd for the final of the Women’s T20 World Cup in March. The match between India and the hosts Australia broke the record for the highest attendance at a women’s sporting event in Australia. 86,174 people showed up to witness this spectacle and who would have known that this will be the last time that a capacity crowd will be allowed to watch a sporting event live at the MCG. Australia eventually went on to lift the World Cup and will defend their title in the 2023 edition.
MS DHONI’S RETIREMENT
Just when people were almost done celebrating India’s 74th Independence Day, sadness struck the country. MS Dhoni took to Instagram to break the news of his retirement from international cricket. This announcement marked an end of a fabulous international career for India’s most successful white-ball captain. Even though ‘Captain Cool’ last played an international match in 2019, many fans had difficulties coming to terms with this decision. Not having MS Dhoni behind the stumps instructing the bowlers about which lengths to bowl at is something that all Indian cricket fans are still getting used to. MS Dhoni’s retirement was in typical Mahi style, a nonchalant video compiled together with one of MS’s favourite Hindi songs.
SURESH RAINA FOLLOWS HIS CAPTAIN
Just when cricket fans across the country were coming to terms with the announcement of MS Dhoni’s retirement, ‘Chinna Thala’ Suresh Raina also announced his retirement from international cricket. In the beginning, it seemed like a prank was being played out but soon the tributes started pouring in and it became pretty real. Raina who has been a brilliant servant of Indian cricket for many years, for some reason doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. He was a crucial part of the 2011 World Cup winning squad as well as the 2013 Champions Trophy winning team. He single-handedly improved the fielding standard of the country and not having a chance to say goodbye to him in the Indian jersey still hurts many.
INDIAN T20 LEAGUE IN THE UAE
The Indian T20 League traditionally always starts in March but due to the ongoing pandemic, it had to be postponed. There was a lot of conjecture around the scheduling of the tournament and where it could be played. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) proved to be a no-brainer once again. Remember, this was the second time that the tournament was played in the Emirates and it was one of the best decisions taken by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The UAE provided some riveting cricket across the three month period and the pitches provided at the three venues had a lot to do with that. Fast bowlers excelled and quality batsmen were able to score some big runs. The 2021 Indian T20 League is all set to be held in India itself, so the excitement which comes with the tournament being held in overseas conditions will be missing.
IAN BELL CALLS IT A DAY
England batsman Ian Bell who played his last international game for the Three Lions in 2015, retired from all forms of cricket at the end of the 2020 summer. An elegant batsman, Ian Bell was equally good at Test and ODI cricket. He was a prolific run-getter for England and enjoyed an 11-year long career at the international level. Bell is the third-highest run-getter for England in ODI cricket and has helped his team lift five Ashes trophies. Once he lost his spot in the English team, he played county cricket for five years for Warwickshire and even led the team from 2015-2017. He was a classy batsman and his cover drive was a delight to watch. He was also named as one of the best batters ever to play for Warwickshire County Cricket Club.
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