The year began with Pat Cummins' Test side completing a 4-0 Ashes victory over a demoralised England (but how that changed in the months ahead) with a lone wicket standing between them and a whitewash. Though Australia would later in the year surge through their home Test summer against West Indies and South Africa, their most significant result came in Pakistan, where, having billed it as a 15-day marathon, they grabbed a historic series win on the final day.
Expanding on the theme of re-engaging as good tourists, the men's team also earned significant plaudits for completing the tour of Sri Lanka amid the country's crippling economic crisis. The scenes in Galle, where a Test match took place against the backdrop of anti-government protests will not be forgotten in a hurry. On a purely cricketing level, having taken a 1-0 lead on a raging turner, it was something of a missed opportunity when they lost the second match.
It was the all-conquering women's team who, almost inevitably, won the global prizes. They went unbeaten through the ODI World Cup in New Zealand, capped by Alyssa Healy's stunning 170 in the final, then followed that by taking the gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. The Ashes Test in Canberra was a classic. Their depth is astonishing and Meg Lanning will also be back early in 2023 for the T20 World Cup.
For the men, the major prize that escaped was the big disappointment of the year. Their T20 World Cup campaign never got going after a huge defeat to New Zealand in the opening game and it's likely to be a very different team that fronts up in 2024. However, before then, it's eyes on the ODI World Cup and a year that will define how great this Test side is.
It would have been a surprise if Australia had not held aloft the World Cup in Christchurch in April, but that in itself brings significant pressure. The women's team, though, show little sign of losing their aura. For the men, winning the deciding Test of the Pakistan tour was a huge feather in Cummins' cap - it was his and Mitchell Starc's brilliant reverse swing that finally burst open the series.
A home World Cup brings so many opportunities, but this year's men's T20 event fell flat for Aaron Finch's team. In one sense they were caught out by the format's fine margins - they lost fewer games than Pakistan - but a muddled build-up permeated the campaign and they could not haul in the huge run-rate hit they suffered against New Zealand at the SCG. Interestingly, and perhaps significantly, their exit did not damage the tournament itself, which was a compelling three weeks.
by Andrew Fidel Fernando
This is not something we are used to saying about Sri Lanka's international sides over the past few years, but in 2022 there were genuine moments of joy. Across both the men's and women's sides, there were heartening tournament runs, and emerging stars who suggested they could be consistent for years to come.
For the men, Pathum Nissanka put his mark on the T20 format, having initially emerged in Tests, while others such as allsorts fingerspinner Maheesh Theekshana and left-arm seamer Dilshan Madushanka also promised plenty - Theekshana outperforming the world-class Wanindu Hasaranga in some matches.
While the year's best moments came in white-ball matches, Sri Lanka weren't particularly awful in Tests either, though they were hardly spectacular. They lost badly in India, as expected, but they will be hurt more by the Test match losses at home to Australia and Pakistan. They did bounce back in both those series to draw, but their hopes of making the World Test Championship final are very slim.
For both men and women: the Asia Cup. The women made a run into the final, despite their board having essentially forgotten they existed through the course of the pandemic. They lost to India in the title match but won five of their eight matches in the tournament, beating Bangladesh, and then Pakistan in the semi-final.
The men's charge to the trophy was spectacular. They lost to Afghanistan in the first game but then scorched their way to the final, winning close games initially, before speeding past Pakistan in consecutive games to win the title. Given the difficult year Sri Lanka has had with its economic crisis, this was a victory that boosted the national mood. Beating Australia in a five-match ODI series (albeit one that didn't count toward the Super League) had a similar effect.
Having won the Asian title, Sri Lanka had serious hopes of making a run at the men's T20 World Cup. But they lost their first match, to Namibia, and then lost to New Zealand, Australia and England in the main competition. That they had lost most of their top-choice seamers to injury made it all seem worse.
by Firdose Moonda
A year that started off with much promise spiralled downwards alarmingly and South Africa ended 2022 at a crossroads. The national set-up, including the teams and the administration, is floundering, while a new franchise T20 league, the SA20, has been launched in a bid to save the game from a financial abyss. The question on everyone's minds is whether the SA20 can inject new life into the game, especially the domestic game, which has been completely neglected.
After beating India and Bangladesh at home and drawing the series in New Zealand, South Africa rose to the top of the World Test Championship points' table, but they could not sustain their run. With injuries robbing them of at least one main batter on their next two tours, and inexperience rife in the line-up, they were dismissed for under 200 in seven successive Test innings and lost series in England and Australia.
South Africa have only four Tests scheduled for this year. With a diminishing first-class structure, the future of the red-ball game is under scrutiny in the country. The white-ball game isn't faring much better. After losing series to Bangladesh and India and forfeiting a rubber in Australia to accommodate the SA20, South Africa remain out of contention for automatic qualification for the 2023 ODI World Cup.
The women's team followed a similar trajectory. They started the year well, with an ODI series win over West Indies. They lost only one match in the round-robin stage of the 50-over World Cup and looked set to challenge for their first final but fell away completely in the semi-final against England. The team went on to lose ODI and T20I series in England, were disappointing at the Commonwealth Games, and said goodbye to two key players, Lizelle Lee and Mignon du Preez. The 2023 T20 World Cup, at home, will be a tough test.
The person tasked with dealing with these multiple problems is director of cricket Enoch Nkwe, who began work in July. His most pressing task is to appoint national coaches - the men's team need a replacement for Mark Boucher, while the women's team coach Hilton Moreeng's contract runs out at the end of March.
Back-to-back successful chases against India suggested South African cricket was on the up at the start of 2022: they scored 240 to hand India their first Test defeat in Johannesburg and 212 in Cape Town to complete a morale-boosting victory. Keegan Petersen, the Player of the Series, scored three fifties in four innings, suggesting South Africa had found a new mainstay at No. 3.
In what could well be remembered as the lowest point since readmission, South Africa were booted out of the T20 World Cup after losing their final group match to Netherlands. After beating India in what was considered their toughest match, South Africa sleepwalked through what should have been their easiest, failing to chase 159. Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi went at more 11 runs an over each and none of the batters scored more than 25. It was a result that beggared belief and brought an ignominious end to Boucher's term as the national men's coach.
by Deivarayan Muthu
The last year was one of unprecedented change in New Zealand cricket: Trent Boult, Jimmy Neesham and Martin Guptill all turned down their central contracts to pursue gigs in T20 leagues around the world. Boult's partner-in-swing, Tim Southee, took over the Test captaincy from Kane Williamson, who is still in charge of the white-ball sides. The women got match-fee parity with the men in a new five-year deal.
On the field, however, it wasn't as rosy as in 2021. The World Test champions of the inaugural cycle suffered a sharp decline, losing five of eight Tests they played, including a 3-0 whitewash in England.
But New Zealand men enter the ODI World Cup year in better health: they are the No. 1 team in the format and have beefed up their spin resources for the tournament in India. Wellington allrounder Michael Bracewell has emerged from the fringes to become a vital member of the side.
On the T20I front, New Zealand surprised Australia en route to progressing to the knockouts of the men's World Cup for a second successive time, but Pakistan raised themselves from the dead and stopped them in their tracks in the semi-final.
Overall New Zealand men navigated the changing landscape well, as their win-loss ratio of 1.80 suggests; only India and Australia are above them on this list among Full Members.
Finn Allen's no-holds-barred assault that produced 42 runs off 16 balls set the scene for New Zealand's first victory against Australia in Australia since 2011. At the SCG, Devon Conway dovetailed beautifully with Allen to propel New Zealand to 200 for 3 in the opening game of the Super 12s in the T20 World Cup. Mitchell Santner, Southee and Boult then skittled the hosts for 111. It put Australia on the path to an early exit and New Zealand into the semi-finals.
From the zenith of their WTC win in England in 2021, New Zealand hit a nadir when they were swept 3-0 on their return to the country in 2022. Southee and Williamson looked cooked at different points, but there was a bright spot: Daryl Mitchell notched up three centuries in as many Tests on that tour.
by Danyal Rasool
Pakistan drew a clear line between white- and red-ball cricket in 2022. T20I success headlined the narrative again - Babar Azam's side continued to lay strong foundations in the format, reaching the final of the Asia Cup, and then of the T20 World Cup, though defeats in each, as well as a 4-3 series defeat to England left Pakistan frustrated at multiple final hurdles. A tri-series win in New Zealand did not seem to adequately compensate.
The 8-1 record in ODIs in 2022 is encouraging going into a World Cup year, though a dismal showing in Test cricket cast a shadow. Just one win in nine Tests killed their WTC final hopes; they were second on the table this time last year. There were no home wins all year, and they suffered their first ever home-series whitewash. Throw in yet another administrative shake-up, with Ramiz Raja out and Najam Sethi back in, and Pakistan look to be in transition both on and off the field heading into 2023.
Pakistan needed a Netherlands win to avoid elimination from the T20 World Cup, and when that happened, their campaign burst into life. They beat Bangladesh to make the final four, then swept New Zealand to reach a World Cup final - a showing that seemed unlikely at the start of their campaign.
A fortnight after England bested them in the World Cup final, they arrived to play a three-match Test series in Pakistan. They had only ever won two Tests in the country, but a Pakistan bereft of ideas and inspiration were blown away in all three Test matches, their dynamism throwing Pakistan's stale approach to the format in sharp relief.
by Peter Della Penna
The bar had been set quite low in 2021 by both the men and women - losses to UAE, Netherlands, Namibia and USA for the former; finishing runner-up in the T20 World Cup European Regional Qualifier to Scotland for the latter - so any sort of improvement in 2022 would have been seen as a success.
Both sides managed to put the previous year behind them, and how. The men began the year pulling off an improbable 2-1 ODI away series win over West Indies with a Covid-depleted squad. A month later, they exorcised some of their demons from the T20 World Cup in 2021, besting the qualifier hosts Oman in a knockout semi-final to secure their spot at this year's T20 World Cup in Australia.
When they got there, not only did they beat West Indies at the end of the opening round to secure a spot in the Super 12s - their first time in the second phase of the tournament since 2009 - they went on to hand eventual champions England their only loss of the tournament.
But come July the team turned a corner, starting at the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. Under interim coach Ryan Cook they won four in a row, including a semi-final encounter with USA, to clinch a spot in the T20 World Cup. Cook eventually took over full-time, and Campbell returned to see out his tenure as a consultant by the time the team arrived in Australia.
by Peter Della Penna
After a series of historic firsts in 2021 - including maiden T20 World Cup appearances for Namibia and Papua New Guinea, and a maiden T20I victory over a Test nation recorded by USA over Ireland - 2022 represented a mixed bag for the next rung of Associate teams.
Having made it to the Super 12s of the T20 World Cup in the UAE in 2021, Namibia looked like they would repeat the feat in 2022, having started the opening round with a thumping win over Sri Lanka. But they then managed to stumble against the two Associate sides, including a previously winless UAE on the last day when a simple victory would have taken them through to the Super 12s.
Nepal went undefeated in the group stage of their T20 World Cup Qualifier field in Oman, only to be tripped up by UAE in a semi-final contest with a spot in the T20 World Cup on the line. Head coach Pubudu Dassanayake's second stint in charge of the national team ended abruptly in July, when he was released from his contract early to take a head coaching role closer to home in Canada.
Papua New Guinea's streak of 18 straight ODI losses was finally broken when they beat UAE in March. Still, their woeful record in Cricket World Cup League Two (two wins out of 28 matches with eight matches remaining) resulted in the dismissal of Carl Sandri as head coach and means they may struggle to retain ODI status when pitted against Canada and Jersey, who will be coming up from the ICC Challenge League to compete in the six-team repechage tournament ahead of the ICC World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe in 2023.
Namibia demolishing Sri Lanka by 55 runs in the opening encounter of the T20 World Cup at Geelong.