Mohammad Irfan was out missing in action for a few months earlier in the year upon becoming the first bowler in history to donate a vertebra from his back to each of his ten fellow players on the field. The bowler (and the rest of the team) underwent the complex surgery after a directive from the Pakistan Cricket Board to help prevent injury to players attempting to jump impossibly high to high-five the bowler after the fall of a wicket and injuring themselves upon impact after the fall back to earth. Remarkably, the fast bowler still stands a good foot and a half taller than his team-mates, even after the operation.
Why should guys have all the fun? Or bask hairily in the glow that comes with doing something in the name of charity?
The year 2014 will famously be known as the one in which Sachin Tendulkar revealed all in his bestselling memoir, Playing it My Way. If the nude centrefold was controversial and revealing enough for most people, it was his admission elsewhere in the book that he used to pack his famously heavy bat with raw meat before he went out to bat in his heyday (before they started x-raying bats for precisely this reason) that really drew the gasps.
This was also the year that many slow bowlers, their livelihoods threatened by the vigorous crackdown on suspect bowling actions, elected to undergo a controversial new surgery that removes the elbow joint completely and replaces it with an iron shower-curtain rod that makes it impossible to bowl with a straightening arm, or indeed bowl at all, or do much of anything.
This will go down as the year of which no one will remember whether or not a T20 World Cup was played in it, or whether a T20 World Cup is being held next year, sometime after the 50-over World Cup, or if T20 World Cups are actually played every year or what. Pretty cool.
With every passing year come newer and more extreme modes of individual expression, and 2014 was no different. It became hip this year for fast bowlers the world over to despoil the natural god-given beauty of their tattooed arms with patches of bare skin, for example. Mitchell Johnson was the first to be seen sporting a small but shocking patch of un-tattooed skin interrupting the intricate artistry of a beautiful, sunset-pink koi fish inked along his forearm. Soon, more and more bowlers could be seen with similar, increasingly sizeable patches of hideously naked, unadorned flesh. "It's going to take a lot of time, pain and money, not to mention disapproving looks from my parents," said Johnson, "but I plan to have both my forearms completely ink-free by the end of next year."
This was also the year where the ICC finally agreed, since the first time coloured clothing was introduced into the game by Kerry Packer, to allow teams to play in colours different to one another's on the field. "It seemed like the next logical step to take," said ICC CEO Dave Richardson, leading one to look forward to the next India v Sri Lanka ODI. Or Pakistan v South Africa. Or West Indies v Zimbabwe. Or England v Sri Lanka. Or India v Namibia. Or Australia v Chennai Super Kings.
In August 2014, the Oxford English Dictionary officially added to its lexicon the word "Afridiesque", which according to the dictionary is defined as follows:
This is also the year that will be remembered for Rohit Sharma slamming a record-breaking 264 in an ODI, a feat memorable not so much for the number of runs scored as for the fact that it was Rohit Sharma who made them.
Lest we forget, this is also the year that the ECB and Kevin Pietersen fell out of favour with one another in spectacular fashion, prompting KP to release a tell-all book in which we not only finally learned the batsman's full name ("Kevin Pietersen"), but also were treated to a nude centrefold - not of KP but of ECB managing director Paul Downton. The book hasn't sold very many copies, but Pietersen has been quoted as saying that the inclusion of the surprise centrefold was "totally worth it".
R Rajkumar tweets @roundarmraj