Year Review 2008 /

Timeline - January to March

Scandals, signings, sayonaras

Sydneygate, the IPL, high-profile retirements and more, in our look back at the first three months of 2008

Siddhartha Talya

December 26, 2008

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Harbhajan Singh was at the centre of the racism controversy that marred the Sydney Test © Herald Sun
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January

1 Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lanka captain, is appointed chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket following the resignation of Jayantha Dharmadasa.

4 Graeme Smith scores 85 off 79 balls in the second Test against West Indies in Cape Town to help South Africa win by six wickets and square the three-Test series 1-1.

6 An acrimonious second Test between India and Australia in Sydney ends with the hosts winning by 122 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-Test series. Anil Kumble, India's captain, questions the spirit of Australian players following contentious catches claimed by Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke.

Harbhajan Singh is banned for three Tests for violating the ICC's Code of Conduct after he was accused of calling Andrew Symonds a monkey during an argument between the two players in the Sydney Test. The Indian management immediately appeals against the ruling and Harbhajan is allowed to play in the rest of the series.

The ICL confirms that Shane Bond, the New Zealand fast bowler, has signed a three-year contract with the league.

New Zealand beat Bangladesh in the first Test in Dunedin, by nine wickets inside three days.

7 The ICC replaces Steve Bucknor with Billy Bowden for the third Test between India and Australia in Perth following complaints by India about Bucknor's decision-making at Sydney.

8 Daryll Cullinan is removed from SuperSport's television commentary panel because of his involvement with the ICL.

The venue for Kenya's Intercontinental Cup match against Namibia is switched from Nairobi to Sharjah following ethnic violence in Kenya.

11 Shaun Pollock announces his retirement from international cricket during the third Test against West Indies in Durban. He finishes with 421 wickets in 108 Tests at an average of 23.11 and 3781 runs at 32.31. In ODIs, he ends with 393 wickets in 303 matches at 24.50, and 3519 runs at 26.45.

12 South Africa win the deciding Test against West Indies in Durban by an innings and 100 runs, and the series 2-1.

13 Marlon Samuels is reported for a suspect action by the on-field umpires after the Durban Test. An independent analysis later confirms the umpires' judgment and Samuels is duly suspended from bowling in international cricket.

14 New Zealand seal a series win against Bangladesh, beating them by an innings and 137 runs in Wellington in three days.

India's Sony television network and the Singapore-based World Sports Group secure the rights for the IPL, at a cost of more than US$1 billion.

17 Anil Kumble becomes the third bowler, after Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, to take 600 wickets in Tests, when he has Andrew Symonds caught by Rahul Dravid in the Perth Test.

19 India win the third Test in Perth by 72 runs, ending a 16-match Australian winning streak for the second time.

Gautam Gambhir scores an unbeaten 130 to help Delhi beat Uttar Pradesh by nine wickets in Mumbai and win the Ranji Trophy.

20 The Indian selectors drop Sourav Ganguly for the CB Series to focus on younger players. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman too fail to earn recalls.

24 The IPL names the eight city franchises for the first season of the league, and their owners, who include some of the biggest names in business and Bollywood. Mumbai, owned by Mukesh Ambani's Reliance India Limited, is the most expensive team, costing US$111.9 million.

25 Misbah-ul-Haq is appointed Pakistan's vice-captain. Shoaib Akhtar is again denied a central contract.

Adam Gilchrist goes past Mark Boucher's world record of 413 Test dismissals on the second day of the Adelaide Test.

26 Adam Gilchrist announces his retirement from Test cricket. He finishes with 5570 runs at an average of 47.60 in 96 Tests, and 416 dismissals.

Sachin Tendulkar is conferred the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honour.

27 New Zealand Cricket terminates Shane Bond's contract, upon Bond's own request for a release following his decision to join the ICL.


Shaun Pollock ended an illustrious career with five wickets in his final Test © AFP
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28 Virender Sehwag scores 151 to help India draw the Adelaide Test. Australia win the series 2-1 and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

29 The three-match ban against Harbhajan Singh is lifted after Justice John Hansen finds the charge of racism against him cannot be proven.

Shaun Tait quits cricket indefinitely, citing physical and emotional exhaustion. He makes his comeback later in the year, on Australia A's tour of India in September.

30 Boeta Dippenaar, the South Africa batsman, announces his decision to quit international cricket. He played 38 Tests for South Africa, scoring 1718 runs at an average of 30.14.

31 Mark Vermeulen, the former Zimbabwe batsman, is cleared by a provincial magistrate of charges of arson on grounds of mental illness. Vermuelen was on trial for burning down the Zimbabwe Cricket Board's headquarters and academy.

February

2 Pakistan complete a 5-0 rout of Zimbabwe in their home ODI series, with a seven-wicket win in Sheikhpura.

3 Scott Styris, the New Zealand allrounder, announces his retirement from Test and first-class cricket in an attempt to prolong his ODI and Twenty20 career.

South Africa inflict a 5-0 drubbing on West Indies, defeating them by eight wickets (D/L) in a rain-affected ODI in Johannesburg.

Ian Bishop, Desmond Haynes, Andy Roberts, and Courtney Walsh are dropped from the West Indies Cricket Board cricket committee. They are reinstated after a meeting with WICB president Julian Hunte on February 22.

7 Michael Kasprowicz retires from domestic and international cricket. He ends his 43-Test career with 113 wickets at 32.88 and later joins the ICL.

A delay in the announcement of the South African squad to Bangladesh is attributed to a row between Cricket South Africa president Norman Arendse and the coach, Mickey Arthur, over the board's transformation policy.

10 Chennai Superstars win the 50-over edition of the ICL with a thrilling one-wicket win over Delhi Jets in Chennai.

11 Herschelle Gibbs is dropped from South Africa's tour of Bangladesh following a poor year in which he averaged just 22.40 in six Tests. He is replaced by JP Duminy.

12 Matthew Elliott, the former Australia Test opener, who represented them in 21 Tests, announces his retirement from first-class cricket and signs up with the ICL.

Jane Smit, who represented England women in 109 ODIs, including their win in the 1993 World Cup, retires from international cricket.

13 Eight Pakistani players, including Mohammad Sami and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan sign up for the ICL.

14 DLF Ltd, one of India's leading real estate developers, wins the title sponsorship rights for the IPL, signs a five-year deal worth approximately US$50 million.

Stephen Fleming announces he will retire from Test cricket at the end of the home series against England. Fleming, New Zealand's most capped player, finishes with 7172 runs in 111 Tests at an average of 40.06. He captained New Zealand in 80 Tests, winning 28 and losing 27.

John Gloster, India's physiotherapist, opts not to renew his contract and declares that the CB Series will be his last assignment. India also lose another member of their support staff, Greg King, their trainer, who too decides against extending his contract.

Cricket Australia rules to terminate contracts of players who appear in unsanctioned events.

18 England women retain the Ashes after beating Australia by six wickets in a one-off Test in Bowral.

20 The IPL holds its player auction in Mumbai. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, bought by Chennai for US$1.50 million, and Andrew Symonds, sold to the Hyderabad franchise for US$1.35 million, receive the highest bids.

A thrilling tie in the fourth ODI between New Zealand and England in Napier, where the hosts get to 340 thanks to 139 by Jamie How. They retain their 2-1 series lead, and beat England in the final game in Christchurch to win the series.

The ICC chief executives' committee, after a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, recommends the 2011 World Cup in Asia field fewer teams and run for a shorter duration.


Cricketers "sold like stocks" in the IPL auction where franchise owners including Bollywood stars, like Shahrukh Khan, spent mind-boggling amounts on teams © AFP
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25 Trinidad and Tobago beat Jamaica by nine wickets to claim the US$1 million prize money in the final of the second edition of the Stanford 20/20.

South Africa complete a hard-fought five-wicket win over Bangladesh in the first Test in Mirpur.

Allen Stanford announces plans to stage a US$20 million winner-takes-all match, hinting at England and Australia as potential participants.

26 Brett Lee wins his first Allan Border Medal as well as the Test Player of the Year title.

27 Brad Hogg decides to end his international career at the conclusion of the CB Series. He finishes with 156 wickets from 123 games at an average of 26.84.

The ECB adopts a strong stance against players participating in unofficial tournaments. The decision has implications for overseas players contracted to English counties who participate in the ICL.

28 The PCB bars Pakistan players participating in the ICL from playing county cricket.

The Dubai-based broadcaster Ten Sports retains the global media rights for West Indies cricket, excluding UK, for the next four years at over US$60 million.

29 Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie add an unbeaten 405 on the first day of the second Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong. They go on to break the record for the highest opening partnership, eventually finishing with 415. South Africa inflict a massive innings defeat inside three days on the hosts.

March

1 New Zealand cricketers receive a major financial boost following a lucrative rights deal with Sony TV in 2007.

India win the Under-19 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, beating South Africa in a rain-affected final by 12 runs (D/L).

3 Former Australia middle-order batsman Norm O'Neill dies at the age of 71. He scored 2779 runs from 42 Tests at 45.55.

Andy Kirsten, who played first-class cricket for Western Province in South Africa, is appointed as Kenya's coach until the World Cup qualifiers in 2009, replacing Roger Harper.

4 Praveen Kumar takes 4 for 46 and Sachin Tendulkar scores 91, helping India win the CB Series by beating Australia in the second final, in Brisbane. The match is Adam Glichrist's last international appearance. He finishes with 9619 runs and 472 dismissals in 287 ODIs.

8 Ryan Sidebottom takes a hat-trick against New Zealand in England in Hamilton.

Ruchira Perera, the left-arm fast bowler from Sri Lanka, is banned by his country's cricket board for a suspect bowling action.

Sri Lanka Cricket imposes another ban, on Ranmore Martinesz, the umpire, from officiating in any matches sanctioned by Sri Lanka Cricket, for joining the ICL.

11 Australia postpone their scheduled tour of Pakistan due to security concerns. The boards of both countries, in a joint statement on April 19, announce Australia will tour Pakistan twice in the next two years to fulfill their commitment.

The second round of the IPL auction concludes in Mumbai. James Hopes is the day's most expensive signing - going to Mohali for US$300,000. Dimitri Mascarenhas, the first England player to join, is signed on by the Jaipur franchise for $100,000. Jaipur also sign Shane Watson and Morne Morkel.

13 Taslim Arif, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper, who played six Tests for his country, dies in Karachi at the age of 53 of a lung infection.

14 South Africa claim the No. 1 position in the ICC ODI rankings after completing a 3-0 rout of Bangladesh in Mirpur.

The BCCI votes against a plan for staging a pre-qualifier round for Associate countries to compete for a spot in the 2011 World Cup. The move is consistent with the board's initial proposal to cut the number of Associates in the tournament from six to four.

17 Bill Brown, Australia's oldest living Test cricketer, dies at the age of 95. He played 22 Tests, scoring 1592 runs at 46.82.

Ryan Sidebottom stars in England's 127-run series-levelling win against New Zealand in Wellington. He takes 5 for 105; England's fast bowlers take nine wickets between them to bowl New Zealand out for 311 after setting them a daunting target of 438.

Imtiaz Patel, the chief executive of SuperSport, the South African broadcasting network, is named the successor to Malcolm Speed as the CEO of the ICC. Patel, however, "withdraws his interest" in the role two weeks later.

18 Darrell Hair completes his six-month rehabilitation, following the ball-tampering controversy in the Oval Test between England and Pakistan in 2006, to be reinstated by the ICC as a Test and ODI umpire.

Charl Langeveldt, the South Africa fast bowler, pulls out of South Africa's tour of India following a controversy over his selection - there is speculation he was a quota pick - ahead of Andre Nel. Monde Zondeki is named Langeveldt's replacement.

19 New South Wales beat Victoria by 258 runs in the Pura Cup final in Sydney.

The ICC names Sri Lanka as an alternative venue for the Champions Trophy scheduled in Pakistan for September if the visiting teams' concerns about security in the country are not assuaged.

The ICC confirms Darrell Hair will be "kept away"from officiating in Pakistan matches when possible, following reactions of "shock and disgust" in Pakistan about his reinstatement.

A format proposal by the hosts of the 2011 World Cup, suggesting two groups of seven teams with the top four in each group progressing to the knock-out stage, is approved by the ICC.


Chanderpaul was one of the few bright spots in West Indies' generally dismal year © AFP
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20 Sri Lanka agree to tour Pakistan in April for a five-match ODI series to fill in after Australia pulled out from their scheduled tour of the country.

22 Marcus Trescothick announces his retirement from international cricket after a prolonged struggle with a stress-related illness.

Merv Wallace, the former New Zealand captain, who played 13 Tests between 1937 and 1953, dies at the age of 91.

26 England beat New Zealand in the third Test in Napier by 121 runs to record their first overseas series win in three years. The Test is Stephen Fleming's last; he scores fifties in each innings.

Jagmohan Dalmiya, the former ICC and BCCI president, is arrested for alleged embezzlement of funds from the 1996 World Cup. He is granted bail immediately and the case is later adjourned.

Sri Lanka beat West Indies in the Caribbean for the first time, winning by 121 runs on the fifth day of the first Test in Guyana.

Shane Warne ends his eight-year long association with Hampshire after announcing his retirement from first-class cricket.

28 Herschelle Gibbs is arrested for drunken driving in Cape Town, adding to his list of disciplinary offences.

Cricket South Africa make known their decision to not tour Pakistan in the aftermath of Australia's pull-out, and refuse the option of a home bilateral series against Pakistan in the year owing to a packed schedule.

29 On day five of the Chennai Test, Rahul Dravid becomes the sixth batsman to go past 10,000 runs in Tests.

31 Shivnarine Chanderpaul wins three major awards, including the International Cricketer of the Year, at the West Indies Players' Association awards in Trinidad. In 2007, he averaged 111.60 in Tests and 76.08 in ODI's.

Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo

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