The millennial game
The last 25 years in pictures
The last 25 years in pictures
In cricket, 1993-2017 isn't a block of years that's of special significance to anyone other than us at ESPNcricinfo (and perhaps 25-year-old cricketers - more about them here). Still, if you look at the game's evolution in this period - as opposed to the changes it underwent from 1968 to 1992 (ODIs and all) - it's like it was bitten by a mutant spider, fell into a vat full of vibranium, and then swallowed all the Infinity Stones.
It was the year that Shane Warne bowled his Ball of the Century (above) to Mike Gatting to take the first of his 195 Ashes career wickets. The delivery, taking off stump after pitching outside leg, was jaw-dropping, although enough time has passed to allow some debate over whether it can be legitimately anointed the greatest of them all.
Brian Lara broke Garry Sobers' record for most runs in a Test innings: England stayed in the field for over 180 overs as the 24-year-old Lara lived up to the hype his batting had generated since he was a teenager. Sobers was at the ground to congratulate his successor, who, to this day, remains the record holder.
Only a year on, West Indies were being dethroned as the world's best by Australia at home. In Barbados, they fell by ten wickets, and in Jamaica by an innings and 53 runs, eventually losing the series 2-1. The picture above features the two leading wicket-takers of the series: Courtney Walsh (20 wickets), who was bowled by Glenn McGrath (17) in the first Test, at Kensington Oval.
Aravinda de Silva prevented Australia from becoming world champions in ODIs, with a fluent unbeaten century (plus two wickets and two catches) in the World Cup final, which gave Sri Lanka their first global title.
On England's first full tour of Zimbabwe, they drew both Tests (the first when Nick Knight was run out off the final ball with the scores level) and were swept in the three ODIs - which was Zimbabwe's first international series win. Fast-medium chicken farmer Eddo Brandes took his country's first hat-trick in a five-for in the final ODI, which Zimbabwe won by 131 runs.
It was a dark and stormy night… and Sachin Tendulkar was on fire. He single-handedly dragged India into the Coca Cola Cup final and then won that as well, in the process handing Shane Warne figures of 19 overs, 100 runs, zero wickets (over two games).
A choke that can be called nothing else, except for maybe heartbreak: South Africa didn't lose the 1999 semi-final but they lost a series of World Cups thereafter. A reputation that haunts them to this day began with this extraordinary match at Edgbaston.
About a month after he led South Africa to a historic Test series win in India Hansie Cronje was charged by the Delhi police for fixing ODIs on that tour for money. His team-mates testified that he had offered them money to underperform. Subsequently, players from other teams, particularly India and Pakistan, were also investigated, resulting in a ban for Mohammad Azharuddin, among others.
A contender for the title of the greatest Test of all time, the Kolkata match between India and Australia ushered in a new era for India - one where they won a fair bit, sometimes even abroad. Following on with a deficit of 274 runs, India looked certain to lose this match and series when VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid got together to turn it all around.
The record for the fastest Test double-hundred, held by Ian Botham (222 balls) for 20 years, was broken twice in the space of a month, first by Adam Gilchrist (212 balls) in Johannesburg and then by Nathan Astle (153 balls) in Christchurch. Astle (in picture) still holds the record, although his efforts didn't help New Zealand win that match against England.
In Johannesburg, Sourav Ganguly put Australia in to bat and then spent the next six and a half hours watching the World Cup slip from his grasp. Ricky Ponting started sedately but then zoomed to a 121-ball 140 not out to set India a target of 360. Sachin Tendulkar was out fifth ball of the chase and Australia had won their second World Cup in a row.
From 147 for 8 to 218 for 8, Ian Bradshaw (left) and Courtney Browne added the 71 runs that gave West Indies their first global title since 1979 - a Champions Trophy win.
"Bad luck, mate, well played", or "It's 1-1, you Aussie bastard" - whatever Andrew Flintoff said to Brett Lee at the end of the glorious Edgbaston Test (in photo: Michael Kasprowicz is caught down the leg side and England win the match by two runs) doesn't really matter. What matters is that that Test, and series, revived the Ashes as a contest and triggered the beginning of the end of Australia's crushing domination of the game.
Since the 1980s, England-Pakistan series had been prickly affairs, to say the least, with ball-tampering allegations often playing a part. In 2006, however, the accusation against Pakistan was made by the umpires. During the Oval Test, umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove concluded that the ball had been meddled with and needed to be changed. England were awarded five penalty runs. At tea, Pakistan showed their displeasure at the decision by refusing to come out of their dressing room, and eventually forfeiting the match.
T20s had been around for four years before the first global tournament in the format was played. Not everyone took it seriously at first, but by the time Sreesanth caught Misbah-ul-Haq at short fine leg* to win India the final, in Johannesburg, things had changed. T20 would transform the game like nothing else did in these 25 years.
And the biggest catalyst for that change was the Indian Premier League, with private (celebrity) ownership of teams, televised auctions of the players, and a start - with Brendon McCullum's manic 158 in Bangalore - that rivals that of the Marvel cinematic universe (with Iron Man, which also released that summer). Rajasthan Royals (in photo), led by Shane Warne, won the inaugural edition.
The first time cricketers were directly targeted by terrorists: the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by 12 masked gunmen, who also tried to throw a grenade at the bus, in Lahore. Five Sri Lankan players were injured - Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis (in picture), Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paravitarana - and six security officials and two civilians died in the strike. It was another six years before international cricket returned to Pakistan, in fits and starts.
Pakistan's woes were not over. During the England-Pakistan Test at The Oval, British tabloid News of the World published a report in which a player agent claimed to have bribed Pakistan's bowlers (including Mohammad Amir, in picture) to bowl no-balls on demand. Amir, Asif and Pakistan captain Salman Butt were banned for various durations by the ICC for their involvement in the spot-fixing scandal, and along with Majeed, they were also found guilty by a British court for conspiracy to cheat and sentenced to prison.
In his sixth attempt and towards the end of his 24-year international career, Sachin Tendulkar finally won a World Cup, although the enduring memory of the final is MS Dhoni's six to seal the win (in photo). The final was played between co-hosts India and Sri Lanka in Tendulkar's hometown, Mumbai, and while he only made 18 in that match, he was the tournament's second-highest run-getter. Other memorable matches included Ireland's and Bangladesh's wins over England.
West Indies won their first World T20 after Marlon Samuels took charge with bat and ball (alongside Sunil Narine). Sri Lanka fell 37 short of the target in the home final in Colombo. It was the third successive global final they had played and lost, but they made up for it two years later by beating India to win the World T20 in Dhaka.
It took Mitchell Johnson only 14 days to win back the Ashes Australia lost in 2009, using intimidatory pace to crush England. He took 37 wickets at 13.97 in the five Tests, all of which Australia won comprehensively.
A day cricket will not forget for a very long time: 25-year-old Australian batsman Phillip Hughes died after being struck by a bouncer on the side of his head during a Shield game in Sydney. Hughes underwent surgery after being rushed to hospital from the SCG but did not regain consciousness, Above: David Warner remembers his team-mate and friend before going out to bat against India at the SCG about a month later.
Australia won their fifth World Cup, after beating New Zealand in front of 93,000 fans at the MCG. It was New Zealand's first appearance in a World Cup final (they had made it to the semis six times before), and many believed it was their best chance to win the trophy, but it wasn't to be.
Nineteen runs required off the last over to win a World T20? Let's get them in style, Carlos Brathwaite (in photo) must have thought before he launched four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes to give West Indies their second world title in the format. West Indies Women won the trophy just a few hours before the men, beating Australia by eight wickets, so the teams could celebrate their wins together. Earlier in the year West Indies had won the Under-19 World Cup as well, so it was a happy treble to enjoy.
England won their fourth women's World Cup after beating India by nine runs in the final at Lord's. Fast bowler Anya Shrubsole (in picture) took 6 for 46, wresting the game out of India's hands when they needed 38 off 44 balls with seven wickets in hand.
*June 12, 15.48 GMT: The reference to Misbah-ul-Haq being caught by Sreesanth at the boundary has been corrected.