The year 2012 has been one of mixed fortunes for international cricket teams. On the whole it has provided many memories, some good and some bad. The year started with Australia finishing off India to take the test series, this was a signal of what was to come from India.
The year has had many ups and downs for England, starting the year as world number one but failing to deliver in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They then took on South Africa who de-throned them from the summit. This series provided the best of test cricket with all the big players stepping up, especially Hashim Amla and Jaques Kalllis. The fallout from this series was the Kevin Pietersen saga, this also saw captain Strauss step down.
Australia had a good year, kicking on from the win against India. The year was good for them in particular to steady their sinking ship of the past few years. A new captain and a new crop of players who look encouraging. India on the other hand have had a terrible year, narrowly beating New Zealand and then being thrashed by England. For Pakistan it has been a good year, the win over England showed signs of improvement. In particular Ajmal has lead the fight.
There have been many good ODI performances this year, one particular game I remember was from January where Dhoni had a repeat of his world cup final heroics to hit the winning runs in a CB series game against Australia. Virat Kohli smashing around Pakistan scoring 183 in the Asia cup. The performance of Bangladesh to get to the final of the Asia cup only narrowly loosing. The rain effected England v South Africa series was also very fascinating as there were many young players on show from both teams. In particular I enjoyed watching Jos Buttler play a magnificent cameo in one the games to win a match.
As for T20 cricket, this year was all about the World T20. This competition started off slowly with many games effected by rain, but the West Indies lit up the tournament. Winning their first international trophy since there heyday in the 1970's. Samuels and Narine playing a key part of this win.
This year has seen the retirement of cricket greats, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S Laxman and Mark Boucher. The later having to retire after being hit in the eye with a bail in a practice game. It could also be a year where Sachin Tendulkar plays his last test match. He has had a poor year by his standards. It has seen the rise of a new group of captains. These being Michael Clarke, Alistair Cook and the part time captaincy of AB Devilliers. These three will have many battles to come in the next few years. It has also been a good year for Yuvraj Singh who had made a successful comeback to international cricket after suffering a life threatening illness.
In domestic matters Warwickshire won the county championship, but lost to Hampshire in the CB40 who also won the FLT20. KKR won the IPL, despite my team Delhi Daredevils being the best team through out the competition. (Actually it seems if they threw away the semi final, by leaving out the leading wicket taker Morkel.) The champions league was rather dull, it was finally won by Sydney Sixers, who were by far the best team in the competition.
Some records have gone this year as well, despite having a bad year Tendulkar scored his 100th international century this year. This coming in a ODI match versus Bangladesh in March. The fastest test century and T20 century were hit by Dave Warner and Richard Levi. Graham Smith also became the captain with the most test wins. Michael Clarke scored four double centuries this year which is a record for a calendar year. England's new captain Alistair Cook became the English player with the most centuries as well the youngest player to 7,000 runs. A record for the Indian captain is that he is the first captain to be run out on 99 in a test match, not one that he really wants.
Match fixing also reared its ugly head this time in County Cricket. Mervin Westfield was jailed for his involvement and a life ban was given to Pakistani spinner Danish Kaneria.
All in all the year has been good for cricket, although with big matches coming up in 2013 it can get even better.