Flintoff's over and Ganguly's troubled times

Cricinfo and Wisden writers select their best and worst moments from 2005


Edward Craig

Matthew Hoggard was fined for as 'lack' of appeal against Salman Butt © Getty Images
I'm probably not unique in this but that over of Freddie's at Edgbaston was the best cricketing moment of the last 20 years. The crowd, the moment, the celebrations, the speed he was bowling and the look on Ricky Ponting's face when Freddie bowls a no-ball sixth ball. I still cheer when I watch it on the highlights.
Matthew Hoggard's fine for not appealing in the first Test in Pakistan when the batsman nicked it to the keeper. Over-zealous refereeing (Afridi apart) and umpiring did its best to ruin a wonderful (and friendly) series of exciting cricket. Hoggard's fine typified this - it was absurd.
Edward Craig is deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

There were more downs than ups for Sourav Ganguly in 2005 © Getty Images
This was an incredible setting: a run-of-the-mill Duleep Trophy game at dusty Rajkot, not being televised and played out at a ground resembling a construction site, becoming the epicentre of a nation's cricketing future. Sourav Ganguly had recently lost the one-day captaincy and obituaries had been penned. Considering Ganguly's previous flirtations with destiny, nobody could rule out a comeback and it promised a fairytale that was too tempting to resist. Watching Ganguly unveil a classic century stirred the heart. For two journalists, who watched the game thanks to an impulsive decision to board a train, purely because of the magnetic attraction towards the most fascinating cricketer in recent times, the experience was that much sweeter.
If the Rajkot experience was uplifting, the scenes at Bangalore, nearly seven months earlier, were simply depressing. As a Ganguly fan, one accepted his frailties against the short ball but never did one imagine that a man who consistently stuffed slow bowlers in the shredder would flounder against spin, being reduced to a bumbling tyro against Danish Kaneria and Co. He was dropped off the first ball he faced and stumped off the next. If that was saddening, two days later one sunk even lower as he pottered around for 13 balls, made two runs, before he attempted an expansive drive off Shahid Afridi and, inevitably, missed. It was spin, it was the off side, but both Ganguly and God had deserted us.
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo