The review of 2022

A look at the year in cricket.

Welcome to the 2022 review. Where I try to remember as many things that happened this year with help from people on Twitter. Some moments mattered, others were funny, or sometimes both. In 2022 we had a ton of cricket, and so here it is, in all its naked morning-after glory.

This is how many of us started our cricketing year. India losing to South Africa, Dean Elgar playing everything to third, and Virat Kohli was spewing out all the frustrations of his last few years to stumps.

But there was also cricket where people were not trying to argue with some wood. And some of it includes some big moments for teams this year. Starting with Bangladesh beating New Zealand over there, wow, that was a huge moment. It isn't that Bangladesh hasn't had big wins before, but beating the WTC winners away is something else. And it just felt like it came from nowhere at all.

They had moments in the World Cup too, and gave India a scare. It feels like there is something brewing in their cricket right now. (But it  often does).

The Women's World Cup started with another upset when the West Indies rolled the hosts. It was an extraordinary tournament, with so many close games, and also England and New Zealand struggling so much early on. The entire tournament got extra press just because of how close much of it was. Except for the Australian part, who continued to be the Harlem globetrotters of cricket.

Women's cricket had great upsets outside of the main event. The Pakistan women beating the Indians was massive. So far the rivalry of the Indian Pakistani women hasn't been as strong as you'd like - especially if you are trying to garner as much attention/money as possible. So Pakistan beating India was a nice twist at the Asia cup.

A month later the Pakistan women lost to the Irish. One step forward, one back. But considering the rise of men, the Irish women have not developed the way they should have. They haven't had a golden generation, so this was an important mark in their history.

Their men had big wins. Ireland travelled to the West Indies. To show how odd the entire thing was, they lost to the USA a few weeks earlier, which was the first win over a Test nation in a major international match for the Americans. But Ireland bounced back, even though they had to use William Porterfield - their fielding coach - to play for them. For cricket in Ireland, this win mattered because even if WI aren't the team they once were, to casual Ireland fans, this is their team travelling to a major well-known nation and beating them.

Perhaps the bigger story later in the year was when Ireland had their first player go in the IPL auction. Josh Little is fast and left-armed, and in truth, had he played for a bigger team I think he would have already got the tap. While the two upset wins were big for Ireland, they can only pay their own cricketers so much, but once there is big money on offer, playing cricket is a genuine profession for people there. Little is their fast bowling totem.

And in the IPL of 2022, one of the new franchises, Gujurat Titans won the title, But you know what is more fun, in the same year we got the fake IPL. A tournament in which we saw some of the funniest cricket ever produced by Russians and a crime syndicate.

It all reminded me of when Sudeept Dwivedi made 70 from 34 balls when playing for the Kanpur SBI and General team, but his name was wrongly entered as Shivang Dubey on the scorecard.

Back in the real IPL they finally announced a Women's edition, and signed a big broadcast deal that you could buy a few European nations with the cash.

On top of Little at the IPL auction, we also saw Zimbabwe's renaissance shown through Sikandar Raza getting picked up. And it is only a year after Ryan Burl's tweet about his shoes. Quite the turn around for Zim cricket. Suddenly Raza is one of the best players in the World Cup, an IPL buy and he did it all as a late-blooming Zimbabwean player. Think of where Zimbabwe cricket was in 2021 and earlier. For them to go from that to one of the year's best stories was crazy.

It actually started before the World Cup, they had been showing some good form for a while since they had come back from a brief ICC suspension. But the first major victory was when they beat Australia in an out-of-season ODI. Sure Australia were looking at the World Cup, and they had already won the series, but even so, Zimbabwe went from basically not in cricket to beating Australia at home.

That's a violent U-turn.

How was this celebrated, by getting out of the first round of the World Cup inspired by the best fans at the tournament. This was already a huge achievement, but it made it look small when a random Zimbabwean fan inspired a rivalry that none of us knew, the Fake Bean controversy. (At one point a man claiming to be Mr Bean had gone to Zimbabwe from Pakistan and it hadn't gone well). That gave us one day of fun content, but we also assumed that the game would go nowhere, especially when Zimbabwe put up a pretty small first innings total. Of course that was very different when Zimbabwe got on top and then off the final ball, double-clutched victory with a run out.

Pak Bean was defeated, but it wasn't the only time. They went into the WTC with a pretty good chance of making the final, and then didn't win a Test at all in seven chances against Australia, England and New Zealand. Their misery overshadows Australia's win, which is interesting in itself. Pat Cummins in an endless arm wrestle with Babar Azam was fantastic. The real win was that Australia - a famously timid tourist - turned up at all.

But obviously the England losses were more dramatic. But also romantic. The end of the first Test was absolutely incredible, England fighting the dying sun was about as beautiful as cricket gets. Not if you are a Pakistan fan though.

It wasn't a great year for Pakistan really. The Tests, losing Asia and World Cup finals and if that wasn't bad enough, they ended the year with a bunch of teenagers, a call to Mickey Arthur and a public spat of administrators that all looks a bit silly.

Afghanistan had a fairly slow year; I had to check four times to see if they played in the World Cup. But they did when it didn't rain. And then afterwards Mohammad Nabi left a fairly big letter saying it was all terrible and he would be stepping down. Something like this does seem to happen to them at almost every major event.

We also saw New Zealand's golden generation slowly fade away. You wonder if is the last time for a while we'll see a smaller team at number one. One of the reasons is that now IPL owners own the entire monopoly board, going freelance is the best option. We saw Trent Boult make the first major move. This may not have been the biggest news story of this year, but in ten years, it might be the most important.

The interesting thing it was not just the men who started going freelance. We saw two of the best women players in the world step away from their national teams when they still had a few years left. Deandre Dottin left the West Indies in what seems to be a captaincy snub. Lizelle Lee left South Africa, after they complained about her fitness. But in truth, they both left because they could. Women were starting to get the same opportunities as men. And they were taking them.

Two big hits to women's international cricket
Deandre Dottin retired recently. It feels like she's played forever, so if your first thought was, well good on her, hopefully she makes some coin at the back end of her career that was mine. However, Deandre Dottin is 31. She made her debut in 2008, which means she's already had a 14-year international career, that's long for anyone. And not only does …

One of the main choices that the women now have is the Fairbreak invitational. The first truly global T20 league with a limit on international players, and also a hugely important moment in women's cricket. It's not just extra work for cricketers from major nations, but also the associate cricketers. And now there is talk of having two tournaments a year.

But there were moves to help the women by the major boards. The Women's CPL has started, PSL has also been announced. But from a non-league situation, it was when Cricket New Zealand decided to pay equal match fees. It doesn't mean they are getting the same money, but baby steps.

Another big move in women's cricket was Matthew Mott, the coach of the all-conquering Aussie women left that job to run the England men's whiteball team. For a long time if you coached women, it meant you had almost no chance getting a high-profile job with men. To go with that, it all worked so damn well, Mott will have to build a bigger trophy case.

And there were Women Tests, South Africa's first one in eight years. But it was the was the women's ashes Test that went off. We get so few of them that the chances of them being any good is pretty low. But to have it come down to the last day with both teams having a chance to win, and then for England to hold on for a draw nine wickets down. These are the kinds of moments that can kick-start the game.

It was actually a ridiculous year for women's cricket, because they also had the commonwealth games. I don't care that much for that as an event, but again it wasthe chance to grow the women's game, and as a stand alone without the men helped the reach.

And we saw the women's game grow in ways we didn't really expect. The most fun was when the Rwanda U19 team qualified for a World Cup. These are sentences that ten years ago would have seemed impossible.

It's also worth mentioning that two of the best and most important players in the women's game left this year. Jhulan Goswami played her final match against England, and then fairytaled herself to a last over wicket. What a bowler she has been.

Mithali Raj was something even more.

Lots of players retire, so you can't talk about all of them, but I picked these two, because these two left bigger and longer legacies. Ross Taylor and his role in New Zealand cricket was huge.

But Goswami, and more importantly, Mithali were the Indian women's game. In a way that men can never be. Mithali was a player for so long, she made her deubut before Lance Armstong one his first tour de France.

Starting more than a decade before professionalism was a dream, let alone a reality. And she ends when women can play in the commonwealth games, fairbreak, and the IPL.

The Indian women also had some mad crazy moments even outside those retirements. Two ties with Australia, and the second one was one of the most watched women's games ever, inside and outside the stadium. That it was just a random bilateral made the entire thing more incredible.

However, the biggest moment had to be the run out of Charlie Dean by Deepti Sharma. If you wanted to know how far the women's game had come, you only had to read the many, many articles about how immoral and lawful this run out was. That kind of viral attention and anger is what its detractors said would never happen.

South Africa's best story was probably Dewald Brevis made 162 which was talked about everywhere. But mentioned almost as much was the fact he wasn’t with South Africa in England, but was touring with Mumbai Indians instead.

But the 162 was while South Africa were on its way to creating a new World Cup heartbreak. Kind of ridiculous that Brevis was in the news this year for being with Mumbai Indians developing in England, and this knock. He has very much been the star in waiting of this side. All while Temba Bavuma battled through in a format he once tried to drop himself in.

How did all this play out in the World Cup? They somehow lost to the worst batting team in the tournament who made runs against their strength, the bowling. Plus, the guy who took the catch that ended it was a former South African player. That shirt is haunted.

The year ended poorly as well, their Test batting kept being non-existent as they toured in Australia. If you needed a visual representation of how they went this year, Anrich Nortje was smacked in the head by the spidercam.

You would think that was the funniest - unless you are Nortje - thing to happen in Australia this year. But it wasn't even number one this month when the Sydney Thunder somehow were dismissed for 15, the lowest score any team has ever achieved against the white ball.

The West Indies had a bit of a shocker too. They lost a couple of captains, a coach, didn't get to the second round of the World Cup, and along the way made everyone laugh at them when Shimron Hetmyer missed two flights. To miss one plane might be regarded as a misfortune, two is carelessness.

In truth, outside Kyle Mayers' six, and their win over England that might have helped Test cricket forever, there really wasn't much to talk up for them. But they did have Rahkeem Cornwall's double century in a T20 game. Which of course might have meant more if they hadn't ignored him for ages.

However, closer to home, they found Tagenarine Chandrepaul. Sure, he may not be as good as his dad, but in a year like this, him standing up to the aussies was something worth remembering.

If it was bad for South Africa and the West Indies, then Sri Lanka had something of a bounce back. They actually started winning again, so much so they only went and won the Asia Cup. They celebrated that by losing to Namibia in the opening game of the World Cup.

While it was a better than recent years for Sri Lanka, this was the year of England. And it was their World Cup too, even half fit they rode through it. Despite a random loss against Ireland along the way.

It wasn't even their only victory in Australia. Their learning disability team also won the Ashes there.

Other incredible things happened with them as well, like they went to the Netherland's and they got higher than any ODI side had ever done.

Hell, England changed cricket so much that they to England leave 2022 as the first holders of the dual white ball crowns, and they are either changing Test cricket or at the least entertaining the hell out of us. And yet, they still gave us a moment that was one of the most hilarious things in cricket, when Stuart Broad bounced Jasprit Bumrah into a World Record. Like England, Broad claimed a dual crown, the most runs ever in T20I and Test Match overs.

In any other year we'd probably be talking about weird things in English cricket, like that Blast final that finished at least three times from what I could tell. Or Sam Northeast and his 400 runs.

But let's be honest, this year is really about bazball.

And if there was any moment that it will be remembered for, it is when Jonny Bairtsow went nuts at Trent Bridge. A casualty of modern English cricket, dropped, promoted, relegated, shunned, rested, degloved: Bairstow is an oddity of English cricket.

And then suddenly, he plays an innings that might have helped change our game. I saw every ball live there, and I still quite get my head around it. It felt like watching your world shift.

What Bairstow and Stokes did led to the 506 day. Where England flipped everything we understood about Test cricket and played it the way they destroyed the white ball. Without Bairstow even playing. We don't know what will be important in years to come. What will last and fade, but right now, this year was all about BazBall.

And considering that it happened in a match watched by a decent percentage of the entire world saw Virat Kohli hitting a backfoot drive for six and India winning against Pakistan with a leave.

It tells you what an impact England had this year.

I mean, who on earth thought one year ago that a review of 2022 would be telling you the biggest story this year was Jonny Bairstow and England in Test.