Chess, Citta, Cricket, cricket story, football, India in 2012, indian cricket team, international cricket council, Mary Kom, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, soccer, Sourav Ganguly, sports, tennis, Virat Kohli, yuvraj singh
- Citta made her first Euro 2012 Championship prophecy in Krakow, June 6.
A lot has happened since India’s cricket team was losing in Australia at the start of 2012, including a certain Sachin Tendulkar reaching an incredible batting milestone in Bangladesh and then hanging up his 50-over gloves just as the year came to a close.
Cricket, of course, dominates every year in Indian sport, but 2012 had plenty more to offer, not least that grand old Olympic shindig in London in August, where India won a record number of medals (though the record still isn’t much to write home about.)
There were also grand designs, or not, for an Indian soccer league featuring some of the biggest names in the sport. And who forgot about Citta the not-so psychic Indian elephant at the Euro 2012 soccer championship? Her fellow pachyderms certainly shouldn’t have, given their reputation.
And there was even something on chess.
Here’s a look back at some of the year’s big sporting stories on India Real Time:
- Virat Kohli at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, October 17, 2011.
The year began with the Indian cricket team in Australia, on what turned out to be a very disappointing tour for the visitors as they suffered a 0-4 whitewash in the Border-Gavaskar Test series. It all got a bit much for Virat Kohli, India’s cricketer of the year, who “flicked the bird” at Australian fans in Sydney and then criticized the opposition for their behavior during matches: As we said at the time, “Bad Move, Virat Kohli.”
Kohli, named One-Day player of the year by the International Cricket Council in September, had a slump in form in the November-December Test series defeat to England, but recovered his poise with a century in the final match in Nagpur. That wasn’t enough for the hosts though, as England came away with its first Test series victory in India since 1985, before Kohli was born.
But the biggest cricket story of the year was inevitably reserved for Sachin Tendulkar, who made his debut for India way back in 1989. His teammate Kohli was just a couple of months old then, by the way. Cricket fans had almost given up hoping and praying for Tendulkar to score his hundredth international century, but the Little Master finally made it, in an Asia Cup match against Bangladesh in March. It had been more than a year since his 99th century, and it still wasn’t enough to win India the match, but an incredible milestone had been reached. This was our tribute: “The Singular Greatness of Sachin Tendulkar.”
- Sachin Tendulkar after scoring his hundredth century in Dhaka, March 16.
And in December, two days before Christmas and a home series of Twenty20s and One-Day Internationals against Pakistan, the great man announced his retirement from ODIs. Here’s what some people had to say.
2012 saw the departure of two other legends of Indian cricket too, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly both decided to call it time on their careers for good, opting for the more comfortable environs of the commentary box.
Ganguly, sometimes known as the Prince of Calcutta, also saw his former Indian Premier League team, the Kolkata Knight Riders, win that tournament for the first time, in May. The subsequent celebrations, led by the colorful West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, drew the state to a standstill, and prompted us to ask, “Did Kolkata Just Win the World?”
This year, of course, also saw the welcome return of Yuvraj Singh to India and the national cricket team after his battle with cancer: “The Second Coming of Yuvraj Singh.” Yuvi was back in time for the World T20 tournament in Sri Lanka, which was eventually won by the West Indies, who celebrated “Gangnam Style.”
Away from cricket, the start of the year featured an ambitious plan for India to launch its very own soccer league, along the lines of the IPL cricket tournament. Indian Premier League Soccer was to take place in West Bengal, with ageing players like Hernán Crespo, Fabio Cannavaro, Robbie Fowler and Robert Pires rumored to be signed on as “icons.” The plan turned out to be too ambitious, and ultimately the league never got off the ground. Were you really that surprised?
- Mary Kom during the 2012 London Olympic Games, August 8.
In more soccer news, there was the Euro 2012 Championship in Poland and Ukraine, where an Indian elephant called Citta grabbed some unlikely attention, and melons. Cast aside your cynicism, and read this” “‘Psychic’ Indian Elephant Flops at Euro 2012.”
A month after that tournament came the biggest sporting event of the year, the Olympics. India hasn’t experienced much in the way of Olympic success, but it came away from the London Games with a record number of medals, though sadly no golds.
We covered the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in depth, from interviews with the athletes and coaches, to coverage of all the events, and even a story on Mary Kom’s father praying for an end to India’s massive power outage so that he could actually watch his daughter box. Here’s a look back on the “The Good and the Bad for India at the Olympics.”
Oh yes, and here’s that thing on chess.