0International Cricket Council logoWhat happened to 2018

It’s been a long while since we shared our thoughts on the world of crick­et. A lot has happened in that time. With Eng­land and Aus­tralia set to do battle once again, in both ODI and Test crick­et for both men and women no less, it is high time we covered some of the last 18 months.

The best ODI side in the world

So Eng­land are the best ODI side in the world. They were briefly dis­placed by India but are now back atop the pile. The style of crick­et Eng­land have played has been fant­ast­ic, includ­ing a 5–0 maul­ing of the Aus­trali­ans in 2018 which included a world record ODI score of 481. We were lucky enough to be there. Eng­land and India are rightly clear of the rest, but play­er-for-play­er Eng­land are the bet­ter side. Any ODI world 11 would cer­tainly con­tain a num­ber of Eng­land play­ers: Roy, Bair­stow, Root, But­tler and Stokes would all have a very strong shout, and whilst England’s bowl­ers may be more closely chal­lenged by oth­ers they are a very effect­ive unit with no weak links.

Sandpaper-gate

Let’s get it over and dealt with. It was very tempt­ing to write some­thing at the time, but we try really hard to stay focused on the pos­it­ives of the game. There are plenty of pos­it­ives to be found here. (1) The Aus­trali­ans have been reminded of the import­ance of the spir­it of crick­et and can hope­fully start to play hard but fair as their great side(s) of the 90’s/00’s did. (2) The author­it­ies dished out appro­pri­ately hard pun­ish­ments which have sent a loud and clear mes­sage. (3) The play­ers weren’t the only people held respons­ible: quite rightly the tox­ic cul­ture in Aus­trali­an crick­et was recog­nised and heads in Crick­et Aus­tralia rolled. We feel that per­haps Steve Smith was giv­en a harsh­er pun­ish­ment than jus­ti­fied if it is true he wasn’t involved in the plan­ning. On the oth­er hand, Dav­id Warner has been giv­en far too many chances, if it was up to us he wouldn’t be play­ing inter­na­tion­al crick­et again.

Captain Cook

What an abso­lute legend and incred­ible ser­vant of the game. He will be very sorely missed. Over 12,000 runs at an aver­age of 45 is a fant­ast­ic record for any bat­ter in the mod­ern era, and even more so an open­ing bat­ter. His excep­tion­al 147 was a fit­ting final innings for a true legend of the game.

The world cup

What a topsy-turvy world cup it has been. Eng­land hav­ing a wobble but then fin­ish­ing strong. New Zea­l­and start­ing strong but then scrap­ing into the semi-finals, and then mak­ing it through to the final. A very aver­age Aus­trali­an team thrash­ing Eng­land in the group stage and nearly fin­ish­ing top of the group. Afgh­anistan didn’t win a game but were involved in sev­er­al very close and excit­ing games which provided enorm­ous enter­tain­ment and more than jus­ti­fied their inclu­sion in the tour­na­ment. Pakistan their mer­cur­i­al best almost mak­ing the semi-finals depite being crushed in the first game by the West Indies.

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