England end-of-year ‘awards’

Yesterday saw England’s last match of 2012, a last ball win in a T20 against India. Overall 2012 was not a good year for the England men’s cricket team. They won only five of 15 Tests whilst losing seven and the world number one ranking. But they finished the year with a historic series win in India and can go into next year with some optimism. Now is, therefore, a good time to look back on 2012:

Top run scorers
Alastair Cook – 1249 (48.03 4×100 3×50)
Kevin Pietersen – 1053 (43.87 3×100 4×50)
Jonathan Trott – 1005 (38.65 2×100 6×50)

Top wicket takers
Graeme Swann – 59 (29.93 3x5WI 1x10WM)
James Anderson – 48 (29.50 1x5WI 0x10WM)
Stuart Broad – 40 (31.70 2x5WI 1x10WM)

High point of the year
Even if it were not the case that there was only one real contender for this, it would have to be the 2-1 series win in India. The Nagpur Test was perhaps one of the worst that one will see on an absolutely terrible pitch, but the draw meant that England had won in India for the first time in 28 years.

Low point of the year
There is quite a bit of contention for this, but for me it was the 72 all out debacle at Abu Dhabi back in February. Not only did it ruin a very good chance to level the series at one-all, it seemed to rattle England in a way from which they did not fully recover until December.

Innings of the year
There were several good innings for England this year, but I think the best one was probably Alastair Cook’s record-breaking 190 at Calcutta. He was the only batsman on either side to pass three figures and although he was fortunate to have been dropped twice he almost single-handedly accounted for England’s first innings lead as they went on to win. Kevin Pietersen’s century in the previous Test comes a very close second; it was a fantastically constructed innings on a difficult pitch.

Bowling performance of the year
One could almost pick any of James Anderson’s efforts for this; he was so good all year. But I think the best one was the 5-72 he took on an unhelpful pitch in Galle, including getting Kumar Sangakkara first ball. England went on to lose that Test after the batting failed, but Anderson had bowled brilliantly to put them in a good position after the first innings.

Player to watch in 2013
There are a number of good candidates after some very impressive performances by players who made their debut this year. But the standout one was probably Joe Root who looked very impressive in the only Test in which he played.

Player about whom to forget in 2013
Eoin Morgan narrowly beats out Ravi Bopara because at least Bopara actually was dropped. Morgan was inexplicably included in the squad to play in India, but with Bairstow and Root impressing and James Taylor having done little wrong there is no reason Morgan should get another game in England whites.

Next year England play only New Zealand and Australia (the former five times, the latter nine times). The back-to-back scheduling of both tours is annoying; it’s certainly not ideal to play a team twice in three months then not again for four years. It’s hard to say right now who will be the tougher of the two opponents, so it is an excellent chance for England to make a push for the number one spot again.

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