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CEAT CRICKETER OF THE WEEK (DECEMBER 23 - DECEMBER 29, 2016)

by Sunil Gavaskar

After India’s thrilling win in the final test of the series at Chennai, Australia and Pakistan also played a test match that went down to the wire. Pakistan's bold attempt to chase down 490 runs ended 40 runs short but what a spirited chase it was. That’s what test cricket is all about where fortunes keep changing day by day and sometimes session by session.

India’s win vindicated Virat Kohli's decision to delay the declaration to allow Karun Nair the rare chance of getting to a triple century. That only one Indian had got to the triple century mark should have made all the cynics realise that an achievement like that doesn’t happen every other day. Virender Sehwag has done it twice but then batsmen like Viru come once in a century and there won’t be another like him. Nair’s batting on the day was fantastic for the range of shots that he produced and in moving from 71 to 303 he got the most runs by an Indian batsman in day’s play.

Pakistan's second innings was held together by hundreds from Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq but despite their heroics they fell agonisingly short. The Australians as always fought right till the end and Starc produced an unplayable delivery to get Shafiq out as Pakistan inched closer to their target. It was a terrific test match. 

There was no test cricket last week as teams took a breather and New Zealand played hosts to Bangladesh in a one day series. Bangladesh have come on very well especially in limited overs cricket and they have some attractive players but the kiwis proved a bit too strong for them. Bangladesh have the tendency to blow up when a victory is within sight as was seen in the ICC Twenty Twenty last year against India and they did that again after being in a good position chasing a modest New Zealand total and ended up losing the match and with it the series too.

For the Kiwis  Tom Latham who impressed in India with his technique and temperament got a hundred as did newcomer Broom who hit 109 off 107 deliveries to give the Kiwis just the boost down the order that they needed. Colin Mumro also made a decent contribution. Shakib al Hasan tried his best but it wasn’t enough as the Kiwis romped home to win the series.

Tom Latham and Neil Broom for their hundreds are the joint winners of the accolade of the Ceat International Cricketer of the week.