2012 Review

Shakib to the rescue, and NZ's bad PR

In part two of our best and worst of 2012: a case for Mankading, and farewell to Punter

January 1, 2013

Comments: 24 | Text size: A | A

South Africa give Ricky Ponting a guard of honour, Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Perth, 4th day, December 3, 2012
Ricky Ponting gets a guard of honour from the South Africans in his final Test © Getty Images
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Brydon Coverdale

assistant editor

Best: Ricky Ponting's farewell
Australia lost, Ricky Ponting made few runs, and it wasn't the fairytale ending he hoped for, but the way he handled his exit from international cricket was something to behold. "I've made up my own mind that I feel I'm not good enough to get there," was his simple answer when asked if it would be difficult not to be part of the 2013 Ashes tour. There was no wallowing in self-pity. Sitting in the dingy WACA gym, Ponting announced his decision in dignified fashion and then focused on the Test against South Africa. Graeme Smith's South Africans gave Ponting a guard of honour as he walked to the crease for the last time and as he walked off having been caught, they ran over and shook his hand again. After the match, Ponting reflected fondly, and with some emotion, on the path he had taken to the top. He made special mention of his club in Launceston. Ponting was one of the greats but never forgot his roots, and his handling of his retirement highlighted that he always put the game, and Australia's interests, ahead of his own.

Worst: New Zealand's captaincy shambles
When you're the eighth-ranked Test team in the world, you cannot afford to marginalise your best batsman. Ross Taylor was New Zealand's captain in all formats when they headed to Sri Lanka in October. But after their disappointing performances in the one-dayers, the new coach, Mike Hesson, told Taylor he would be recommending a change in leadership when the team returned to New Zealand. Whether Hesson meant in all formats is a matter of conjecture. He claims he meant only for T20s and ODIs; Taylor firmly believes he meant in Tests as well. Either way, the timing was awful - Hesson told Taylor just before the Test series. Nevertheless Taylor managed to score 142 and 74 in the second Test in Colombo to secure New Zealand's first Test win in Sri Lanka since 1998. Then the team flew home and Taylor was offered the chance to stay on as Test skipper, while Brendon McCullum would take over in T20s and ODIs. Taylor refused, and also decided not to take part in the next tour to South Africa. Taylor was treated poorly, and it was a public-relations disaster. New Zealand have enough trouble competing on the field without having to deal with infighting off it.

Sidharth Monga

assistant editor

Best: Australia's celebration of their whitewash of India
It was a warm Adelaide afternoon. Australia had completed a 4-0 whitewash of India hours ago. The stumps had been taken out, the volunteers had finished cleaning the ground, the broadcasters had moved out with their equipment. Anyone with any sense had left Adelaide Oval, except for the lazier journalists. And the Australian team. Every now and then an Australian player would come out of the dressing room to take telephone calls and then go back in. A year ago they were hammered all over on their own grounds by England; they were now staying back to celebrate the end of a remarkable series.

Four hours after the last wicket was taken, Peter Siddle came out to an empty ground, still in his whites. He went to the top of his run-up at the Cathedral End and bounded in without a ball in hand. With the same intensity with which he bowls in Tests, Siddle went through a delivery, turned, appealed to an imaginary umpire, and then celebrated an imaginary wicket. What joy.

Worst: Moaning about Mankading
Let's get it straight. Mankading is not sharp practice. Beginning to run before a ball is delivered is. It is covered under Law 42, which deals with unfair play. That it has been a practice for years and years doesn't make it fair. The ICC has recognised the advantage batsmen gain by backing up before the ball leaves the bowler's hand, and has empowered the bowler to run the non-striker out at any time before he lets go off the ball. There is no need to warn; a wicketkeeper doesn't warn the batsman before stumping him.

There should be no stigma involved in Mankading a batsman who is gaining an unfair advantage. For the record, according to the bowlers involved in Mankading incidents this year - R Ashwin in an ODI in Australia and Murali Kartik in a county game - batsmen were warned first. For crowds to boo them and for umpires to question the seriousness of their appeals was not just. It was unfair.


Flowers start to collect in memory of Tom Maynard, The Oval, June 19, 2012
Tom Maynard's death cast a shadow over the game in England and Wales © Getty Images
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George Dobell

senior correspondent

Best: The power of cricket
This has been my first year working full-time with ESPNcricinfo, and the opportunity to report on the batting of Kevin Pietersen, the bowling of Saeed Ajmal, the resurgence of Pakistan and, eventually, England, West Indies' success in the World Twenty20, and Warwickshire winning the county championship has been a thrill.

But the biggest pleasure - and the biggest surprise - has been the opportunity to witness and report on the positive impact cricket can have around the world. This job has given me the chance to see the unifying power of the sport in Afghanistan (even the Taliban claim to like it), the inspirational skill of the Pakistan disability squad in the UAE (I'll remember the batting of Matloob Quresh and the bowling of Farhan Saeed as long as I live), and to see the positive impact the sport can bring in places as diverse as the Maasai villages of Kenya, gangland LA, and the inner cities of Britain. Working for ESPNcricinfo has given me the opportunity to travel to France, where, in an area many had never heard of cricket until recently, the sport has been introduced into many state schools as teachers believe that the values inherent in it encourage respect and teamwork.

In every one of these places I've seen the ability of cricket - maybe its unique ability - to heal, unify and teach. It has been a pleasure to witness.

Worst: The death of Tom Maynard
In the first few weeks of the 2012 county season, I was lucky enough to see two innings, against Sussex at The Oval and Worcestershire at New Road, that convinced me that Tom Maynard was a batsman of real class. Talking to him afterwards, it was also clear that he was a modest, good-humoured fellow with gentle wit and charm. He had a golden future. Sadly it wasn't to be. Whatever the details of that tragic night - and personally I don't need or want to know any more - a young man on the brink of wonderful things, on and off the pitch, was killed in a terrible accident. My own view is he made the sort of mistake that, if we're honest, many of us make when we're young and look back on as a learning experience. He wasn't so lucky.

His death cast a shadow over the game in England and Wales that will not easily be dispersed and has left a number of lives shattered. This was the first Christmas for his family without a son and brother; the first for team-mates without their friend. It's just very, very sad.

Daniel Brettig

assistant editor

Best: Australia's win in the Barbados Test
Given that most of it took place while the nation was asleep, it would be easy to overlook Australia's first Test victory over West Indies in Barbados. Yet for those present at the Kensington Oval this was a significant and stirring match, culminating in a final day that brought Michael Clarke's team a victory that had never looked assured until the winning single was scrambled by a pair of tailenders in light that would barely have permitted another over.

Initially Australia wrestled with themselves as much as with their stubborn opponents, playing patchily for three days. It took the example of the bowlers while batting - Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus and Nathan Lyon added a pesky and ultimately pivotal 121 for the last two wickets before Clarke declared - to swing the match. Clarke's belief in victory, even when his team had lurched to 285 for 8 in response to 449, was reminiscent of Shane Warne's in the Adelaide Ashes Test of 2006-07. And the playing out of a genuine contest in the Caribbean was something to behold, given the poverty of West Indian cricket in recent times.

Worst: Australia's ODI series defeat in England
For a glimpse of what Australian cricket is losing with Michael Hussey's departure, one need only look back to the out-of-season ODI visit to England. Hussey missed the tour for family reasons, and without his example in the dressing room and out in the middle, Australia were crushed 4-0 by Alastair Cook's team. Rain every other day, an out-of-sorts bowling line-up and what is likely to be a career-ending run of low scores for Peter Forrest were some of the features of the tour, which also marked Brett Lee's last appearance in Australian colours when he hobbled off with injury in Durham. As Ashes previews go, this was a horror, and in 2013 it will take a mighty effort to reverse the result, with no Hussey around to hold the ship together.


Shakib Al Hasan smashes one to the leg side, Bangladesh v India, Asia Cup, Mirpur, March 16, 2012
Shakib Al Hasan: thinks like a winner © AFP
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Mohammad Isam

Bangladesh correspondent

Best: Shakib's 49 v India, Asia Cup
In the last five years Shakib Al Hasan has become the embodiment of Bangladesh cricket. So, on their biggest occasion of 2012, a match against India, the team needed him to turn things around. He took just over half an hour to revive a flagging chase and soften India for the final assault.

Shakib started with an inside edge, but as the asking rate climbed towards nine an over, he blasted Ashok Dinda twice through midwicket in an over that gave Bangladesh 18 runs. He continued to attack, taking on R Ashwin and Irfan Pathan, but was stumped on 49 in controversial circumstances (one replay angle suggested his boot was inside the line).

That didn't deter the next man in, though the required run rate remained close to nine. It should have been a forgettable 49 but it provided the thrust Bangladesh needed to beat India. If he had batted to type, it would have been a respectable loss, but Shakib chose to think like a winner.

Worst: The BPL semi-final mess
For Bangladesh, it was a year in which two cricketers clashed on the field, the team was hustled out of the World Twenty20, umpires were named in a corruption sting, and two head coaches quit within six months of each other. But all these incidents are cast into the shade by the drama that went down in the Bangladesh Premier League's first season. The T20 tournament had contract issues, negligence in player payments, a spot-fixing claim, and even an arrest inside the stadium during a game.

But the worst was the injustice faced by Chittagong Kings. Less than 12 hours before the first semi-final, Duronto Rajshahi didn't know who they were to play in the match, as the BPL governing council tried to figure out whether Chittagong or Barisal Burners had qualified. Eventually it was decided, at 2.45am, that Barisal were through despite Chittagong having won more games in the three-way head-to-head, because Barisal had a better net run-rate. Under the rules, head-to-head results were to be given precedence over net run-rate. A fuming Chittagong went to court but failed to stop the tournament. That didn't stop the media from shouting "shame shame" when BPL secretary Sirajuddin Alamgir and match referee Mike Procter hurried off the stage without finishing the press conference that evening.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by cairo on (January 4, 2013, 22:42 GMT)

Sakib is one of the best cricketer in this time. but he is out of international focus. if he were in India or England he were have many many international achievement. anyway, we are Bangladeshis are proud of him. He is our biggest Mineral resources. Salyut to great Sakib.

Posted by uzyaz on (January 3, 2013, 3:23 GMT)

I am glad to see Bangladesh cricket progressing in the right direction. If cricket has to become a global sports like soccer, then teams like Afghanistan, Ireland and Netherlands have to step up like Bangladesh. I am not saying Bangladesh is anywhere close to teams like South Africa or Australia, but they have become more competitive and in future we can have World Cups with more teams participating and increasing spectators around the globe.

Posted by The_Ashes on (January 3, 2013, 0:27 GMT)

Nobody is comparing Shakib with Kallis or Sobers we're not silly. In terms of now and recent all-rounders, only 2 stand out.

Posted by Purbo23 on (January 2, 2013, 22:23 GMT)

Shakib is good player and BD fans need to stop here. Shakib is better than Kallis, Sobers, Botham.... such comparison is pointless. We don't need to compare honestly. If Shakib able to play another 10-12 years like this, automatically it will be recognized by others.

Besides, we did mistake with Ashraful once when he scored that (unfortunate!!) century against Murali and Vass co at the age of 16. pls don't repeat it

Posted by NZ_0_crowd_future_minnow on (January 2, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

I'm a Pakistan fan and whoever is comparing a player like Stuart Broad to Shakib needs to have a laugh at themselves. These other all-rounders are good players but Shakib and Watson at this moment, are the best all-rounders in World Cricket right now.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 9:41 GMT)

Shakib Al Hasan already proved that he is the best player of the modern cricket.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

lets not say too much about Sakib..if we really want more performance from Sakib..let him play his natural game.What he did for a weak team like BD is amazing ..but we have to judge other performers around the world..Bangladesh could win Asia cup if we have player like Ricky Ponting, Chris Gayle..Truth is we Bangladeshi people never seen a class player like Sakib and we are too much emotionally driven ..

Posted by ars29 on (January 2, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

Shakib is really a match winner! he did it for KKR, Worcestershire, & continuing for Bangladesh! He did excellent job in 1st BPL, that earns him man of the tournament! If BD have some more we supporting player, they have a good chance to climb up high on the ranking!:)

Posted by Satan_in_Game on (January 2, 2013, 3:53 GMT)

@EnglishCricket: Define "somehow"?

Posted by maf17 on (January 1, 2013, 22:37 GMT)

In what concievable way could the ODI series be considered an Ashes preview? It was a cobbled together Australian side that hadnt played a match together for months, out of season while England were in the middle of theirs, and the series was designed, with the limp agreement of Cricket Australia, to advantage England and disadvantage Australia in every way possible.

Posted by EnglishCricket on (January 1, 2013, 22:10 GMT)

Shakib is a good player but I in my opinion feel that Stuart Broad is somehow better than him.

Posted by iftekharmukul on (January 1, 2013, 20:37 GMT)

its absolute pleasure to see as Bangladeshi, Bangladesh team getting imaging big shot in ODI. as a team of some outstanding youngsters, they are now well prepared to threat any giant team. Well done Bangladesh !

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (January 1, 2013, 14:53 GMT)

Why is an ODI series considered an Ashes preview? (Daniel Brettig)... I know that confidence is important even between formats, but considering many teams use completely different players/team formations/mentalities etc. between formats - I fail to see how/why an ODI series carries any bearing on a big test series like the Ashes. I doubt even the most avid Aus. fans are losing any sleep over this.

Posted by Warm_Coffee on (January 1, 2013, 11:57 GMT)

One of the few to have taken a test 100 and 5 wicket haul in the same test innings. Other all-rounders like Watson, Hafeez, Afridi, Yuvraj, Bravo, Malik, Jadeja, Broad, Matthews, Oram, Vettori etc etc despite playing many more games have still failed to do so. Won't be surprised if Shakib breaks Ian Bothams record one day but lack of test Cricket for Bangladesh is the problem for him to achieve that.

Posted by The_Ashes on (January 1, 2013, 11:20 GMT)

Shakib was player of tournament at Asia Cup and scored a wicked 84 against Pakistan at World T20.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 11:03 GMT)

Shakib Al Hasan will be the next legend in the future...

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

I'm an umpire. "Mankadding" is perfectly legal. The non striker has to be out of his ground, and the bowler has to do it before his back foot lands in his delivery stride. Thats all the law requires. Yeah, maybe its a bit tacky or a way to get a batsman out, but if a batsman leaves his ground, he's liable to be run out. End of story.

Posted by greatshinwari on (January 1, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

the best part of the year was PUP's 4 innings of 200+....dont forget that it is only player in the whole history to do so.....the worst part of year was losing of bangladesh in the final of asia cup after very hard work in the final and also in the other games againes indians and srilanka.....

Posted by TheRisingTeam on (January 1, 2013, 9:56 GMT)

Shakib the best all-rounder in the world.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 9:44 GMT)

Shakib is the heart of the Bangladesh cricket team. Dont forget the dramatic series win over West Indies too. and yeah a decent brief article by Isam, you have been very active with all the news update especially dedicated to Bangladesh cricket. Thanks.

Posted by Mad_for_Shakib on (January 1, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

Well writen by muhamad ilsam.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 8:09 GMT)

Shakib comes back strong will never forget that quickfire 49 (wrong dismissal) against India which put them to rest.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (January 1, 2013, 4:10 GMT)

I also have to agree with Sidharth regarding Mankadding. Why exactly people think it is against the spirit of the game is beyond me. It's not like a bowler tries it every few deliveries just in the hope that the batsman may be out of his ground. The subject only ever comes up when a bowler notices that a batsman is leaving his crease by a significant amount before the ball is bowled. Surely if some element of that is against the spirit of the game it is the batsman's attempt to gain an unfair advantage by having to run a shorter distance after the ball is played. In the case of Ashwin running out Thirimanne, a warning was given beforehand and then, when he was legitimately dismissed, the appeal was withdrawn and the batsmen allowed to remain and yet he continued to leave his crease early even after. In that case, either the batsman is just plain stupid or else he is abusing the so-called spirit of the game to a degree that is a hair's breadth away from cheating.

Posted by   on (January 1, 2013, 3:41 GMT)

Sidharth Monga is totally correct re the Mankad. I've never heard the wicket-keeper go "Ohh, next time you edge the ball and I catch it I'll appeal and get you out!" It's a legal mode of dismissal. Batsmen never go "Ooohhh, next time you over-step your front foot I'll ask the Umpire to call it a no-ball, but carry on this time, ol' chap". Batsman is out of his ground, he is giving the opportunity to the opposition to get him run out. It's the same ones I reckon who whinge about getting caught by hidden speed cameras at the bottom of hills - if they weren't speeding it wouldn't matter where the camera was located!

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