Year Ender 2022: The Birth of 'Bazball' And Women's Cricket Moves Forward

It’s that time of the year again. Time to celebrate the arrival of a new year and reviewing the good, bad and ugly of the last 12 months. In cricket, while T20s and Tests dominated the headlines, ODI continues its fight for survival and relevance. England continue to revolutionise the game, across formats and women’s cricket took steps in the right direction.

The Emergence and Rise of ‘Bazball’

If you stopped following England cricket after their twin drubbings at the start of 2022 including Ashes humiliation followed by Caribbean disaster, time to sit down and read on what happened next. England’s Test approach appeared drab and devoid of energy. Enter Bazball revolution. Yes, the word took the cricketing world by storm once Brendon McCullum was named England Test coach with Ben Stokes succeeding Joe Root as their captain. It won’t be wrong to say that England have reinvented Test cricket by throwing away the established rules and adopting an ultra-aggressive approach that saw them produce a string of thrilling performances culminating into victories over New Zealand, India, South Africa and a historic first in Pakistan. Before McCullum-Stokes teamed up, England had won just one of their previous 17 Tests. The duo’s risky approach has seen then win nine of their next 10.

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England Establish White-ball Supremacy

Oh and it wasn’t just red-ball where England dazzled. They had already set new standards in ODI cricket under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan who announced a surprising retirement months before the T20 World Cup. However, under new skipper Jos Buttler, England continued to climb up the ladder and created history by becoming the first men’s team to hold both the ODI and T20 world titles at the same time. After barely making it past the Super-12 stage, England thrashed favourites India by 10 wickets and then edged past Pakistan in the summit clash to win their second ever T20 world title.

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Gripping India vs Pakistan Battles – On The Field

It’s hard to recall when the men’s cricket team of India and Pakistan met regularly at the international stage. There was potential of them squaring off as many as five times. They met thrice and in a stark contrast to their recent meetings, ended up producing nerve-shredding ties. The first two came at the Asia Cup with each winning once. The next was at the T20 World Cup in Australia and Virat Kohli produced one of the greatest knocks in the format’s history to seal a win witnessed by 90,000 plus fans at the big MCG.

..And Then Some Off the Field Drama

The bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan remain suspended with no signs of revival anytime soon. So the two only clash at the international stage. India haven’t toured Pakistan since 2008. However, Pakistan are to host next year’s Asia Cup meaning but BCCI rejected possibility of its men’s team traveling to the neighbouring country for the continental event. An irked Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) called for an emergency meeting to tackle the situation and also threatened to boycott the 2023 ODI World Cup which India are to host in a tit for tat.

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T20 Leagues Take the Centre-stage

2022 was all about T20 cricket. Of course it was the year of T20 World Cup and hence the teams across the world prioritised the format. The format apparently continues to gain popularity every passing year. Why else would the likes of Cricket South Africa and Emirates Cricket Board announce their own T20 leagues? Demand and supply anyone? It’s another story that a majority of team owners in UAE’s ILT20 also have teams in IPL. And all six franchises of South Africa’s SA20 belong to various IPL team owners.

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Associates, Underdogs Punch Above Their Weight

The T20 World Cup in Australia began with a stunning result. Former champions Sri Lanka succumbed to a big defeat against Namibia in the tournament opener. And then Scotland humbled two-time T20 world champions West Indies as well. Minnows Ireland then defeated West Indies and England while Zimbabwe defeated Pakistan by one run. However, for Afghanistan, a full-time member, the world cup was a forgettable affair as they remained winless. The performances of the underdogs seemingly justified ICC’s decision to expand the event to 20 teams from the next edition onwards.

Women’s Cricket Moves Forward

2022 was a memorable year for women’s cricket. It made its debut Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and late into the year, the BCCI announced a women’s T20 league will begin from 2023 on the lines of its cash-rich men’s IPL. As far as on-field performances were concerned, there’s no team that came close to matching Australia as they became the ODI world champions dethroning England whom they beat in the summit clash. In the 2022 CWG, Australia made the final and defeated India to win the gold medal. Besides that, they beat England in a bilateral T20I series, won a T20I tri-series and bossed India in a five-match series as well.

What Next for West Indies?

The decline of West Indies cricket isn’t a news anymore. However, they did raise some hope by showing the world they have cracked the T20 code by winning two world titles and several of their cricketers played prominent roles in various leagues around the world. However, 2022 was a year when it seemed that the rust has spread. If it wasn’t humbling enough that West Indies, two-time world champions, didn’t make a direct cut for the Super-12 stage of 2022 T20 World Cup, the team, led by Nicholas Pooran, crashed out from the first round itself after suffering defeats against the likes of Scotland and Ireland. Of their six bilateral T20 series, West indies won against England and Bangladesh (both at home) while losing to India (twice), New Zealand and Australia.

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