New Delhi, Dec 31: Some stellar performances by seasoned veterans and promising youngsters continued to raise the bar in Olympic sports but there was heartbreak in equal measure when corruption scandals blighted India's favourite obsession, cricket, in a see-saw year for the country's sportspersons.
There was the usual administrative wrangling in some sports but all that was thrown into the backburner by a hectic schedule which included Commonwealth and Asian Games.
On the cricket field, the courtroom drama surrounding IPL spot-fixing scandal, which made N Srinivasan a BCCI President-in-exile, hogged daily headlines, a sad commentary on the state of a game for which India is a spiritual home and biggest money-spinner as well. If the scandal left followers of the game disturbed, they were in for a huge shock when Mahendra Singh Dhoni retired from Test cricket in the last week of the year.
It was a bolt from the blue given that 'Captain Cool' hardly dropped any hint of the "strain" of playing all three formats, which he cited as the reason for bidding adieu to the five-day game. On the brighter side, India found itself back in the Olympic fold after the International Olympic Committee lifted the ban on the IOA in February. This was after the IOA successfully conducted fresh elections in which N Ramachandran took over as the body's new President.
Heartwarming tales also emerged from the Commonwealth and Asian Games arena where Indian athletes came up with sterling performances. The ones who stood out most notably were the celebrated wrestling duo of Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, pistol shooter Jitu Rai and boxer M C Mary Kom.
The year began with the cricket team continuing its dismal away run by going down to a lower-ranked New Zealand in a Test series. But the IPL razzmatazz a couple of months later ensured that the poor result was quickly forgotten. However, the spot-fixing and betting scandal that gripped the glamorous league was so enormous that the impact of it is being felt even now.