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Feature

England step on the gas, India stutter at the crunch, Bangladesh take a step up

Our first batch of team report cards for 2022 also includes Ireland, Afghanistan, West Indies and Zimbabwe

31-Dec-2022
Attack of the killer Bs: England made this year their own, with bat and ball, Ben and Baz  •  John Walton/PA Photos/Getty Images

Attack of the killer Bs: England made this year their own, with bat and ball, Ben and Baz  •  John Walton/PA Photos/Getty Images

England

by Andrew Miller
I'll try to keep it brief… but good grief.
This was a year like no other for the England men's Test team, one where winning a World Cup to become the first team to hold both white-ball world titles at the same time was arguably not the greatest of their successes. It began amid existential despair at the Ashes, and ended with a triumph in Pakistan as absolute as it was unprecedented. It began with an abject record of one Test win in 17, and ended with nine incredible wins in ten. It began with Joe Root clinging on as Test captain because there were no realistic alternatives, and ended with Ben Stokes being hailed as England's best since Brearley.
And by the end of the year, England had desecrated Test cricket in the best and most literal sense - "Bazball", as everyone bar the team themselves were describing Stokes and Brendon McCullum's new liberated approach to the ancient format, had stripped back the pomp and unleashed that inner white-ball beast.
Suddenly England were playing a version of the game in which nothing mattered bar the endgame - "Strip it back, it's only you and the bowler there," as Jonny Bairstow put it after his sensational century in the second Test against New Zealand at Trent Bridge, the moment at which it was clear that this England team had entered a collective zone quite unlike anything the game has ever before witnessed.
For the women, it wasn't quite such a cathartic year, for all that it began with a similarly shattering trouncing in the antipodes. Nat Sciver's heroic century against Australia in the World Cup final ensured a dignified end to a gruelling winter, but it couldn't disguise the sense that a champion team had reached the end of its road.
At least in the likes of Issy Wong, Alice Capsey and Freya Kemp, the team had a knot of oven-ready starlets, honed in the Hundred and ready to step. But the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham came too soon for an exciting but raw side, and India proved too strong. With Heather Knight and Sciver missing key portions of the summer, it wasn't until December's tour of the Caribbean (under new head coach Jon Lewis) that they returned to regular winning ways. Unlike the men in Pakistan, however, their clean sweep raised barely a mutter of recognition.
High point
Nine Test wins in ten, and every one of them a stunning display in its own right. But the Rawalpindi victory was in a different league entirely. That first-day total of 506 for 4, that last-day surge after Stokes' impeccably judged declaration. And all achieved in spite of a debilitating sickness bug on the eve of the Test. All the recipes for instant greatness.
Low point
Did the Ashes even happen this year? The midwinter misery of 2021-22 could not seem a more distant memory. But if we have to dredge into long-forgotten horrors, then the loss of ten wickets for 56 runs in 22.5 overs on the final day of the series in Hobart seems a suitably bum note to hit.
Results
Men
Tests: P15 W9 L3 D3
ODIs: P12 W5 L6 NR1
T20Is: P27 W15 L11 NR 1
Women
Tests: P2 D2
ODIs: P21 W11 L10
T20Is: P18 W13 L4 NR1

India

by Sidharth Monga
Losing a Test series in South Africa, losing the decider of the Test series, brought forward from last year, in England, an early exit in the Asia Cup, losing in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup in Australia, losing an ODI series to Bangladesh in Bangladesh - this is hardly the honeymoon period either Rohit Sharma, the new captain of the men's side, or Rahul Dravid, the new coach, would have hoped for. Especially after the heady highs of last year's Test series win in Australia.
The disappointment from both the fans and the board despite the best win-loss ratio among ICC Full Members in all international cricket should tell this team in transition that they aren't expected to just get by but to win big Test series away and win ICC tournaments.
The women finished fifth in a field of eight in the ODI World Cup. They played no Test matches. They lost a home T20I series to Australia. Musical chairs involving the coaching staff remained the stuff of intrigue. Two of their greatest players, Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj, retired during the year.
Yet there were some silver linings: they made the final of the Commonwealth Games, beat England 3-0 in ODIs in England, and finally got a WIPL.
High point
India Women went to the home of the ODI World Cup runners-up, England, as absolute no-hopers. However, after finishing the Commonwealth Games two shots from the title, they continued their good form in the bilateral ODIs against the hosts, providing Goswami with a perfect farewell . Harmanpreet Kaur, the captain, scored 221 runs while getting out only once, Renuka Singh emerged as a new fast-bowling hope, and they rattled a few cages by running out a batter who was backing up too far before the ball left the bowler's hand.
Low point
The men could smell a series win in South Africa. In fact, after the first Test, which they won comprehensively, and after three innings of the second, it looked like it was theirs. This team was known for winning if it won the toss, especially when it had well above 200 to defend in the last innings. However, they failed to defend 239 and 211 in that second Test and the one that followed, on spicy tracks. It was not just that they lost; they lost by seven wickets each time and conceded the runs in a hurry. India had a good attack but the pitches suited the taller South African bowlers more, costing the visitors their best chance at a series win in South Africa to date.
Results
Men
Tests: P7 W4 L3
ODIs: P24 W14 L8
T20Is: P40 W28 L10 T1 NR1
Women
ODIs: P18 W10 L8
T20Is: P25 W14 L11

West Indies

by Shashank Kishore
Three wins and two draws in seven Tests, including a series victory over England at home, should count as a good year, but by the end of 2022, West Indies' tendency to fail in Australia, where they haven't won a series since 1992, once again elicited the age-old debates about their Test future.
If the debacle in Australia to wind down the year was utterly predictable, their T20 fortunes - which plummeted to an all-time low with their failure to qualify for the Super 12s of the World Cup - is something many didn't see coming.
It all started with Kieron Pollard's retirement in April following a testy relationship with the cricket board. No inkling of his stepping away was on the horizon even two months prior, when he led the team on their white-ball tour of India, but rumblings began after they were blanked 6-0.
In ODIs as well, West Indies endured a horror home run, losing 2-1 to Ireland and New Zealand and 3-0 apiece to India and Bangladesh. They were equally poor away, losing to Pakistan, and being swept aside in India.
West Indies only success this year overseas was in the Netherlands, where they won 3-0 with a young team under new captain Nicholas Pooran - though he eventually stepped down from the post after their ignominious World Cup exit. Their qualification for next year's 50-overs World Cup a year out isn't a done deal yet; they are tussling with three teams for one remaining spot.
The women's team perhaps exceeded expectations by reaching the semi-finals of the 50-over World Cup, but off-field issues were ever present. If Covid proved challenging, their immediate future without talismanic allrounder Deandra Dottin could be tougher yet.
Dottin retired in the middle of Barbados' Commonwealth Games campaign citing a less-than-ideal "current climate and team environment" and taking potshots at the administration.
Like at the start of the year, West Indies cricket at large is once again at the crossroads and in need of a thorough rejuvenation.
High point
Beating hosts New Zealand and England back to back to begin the Women's World Cup with two massive wins many didn't anticipate.
Low point
The men's home ODI series loss to Ireland, who would also knock them out in the first round of the T20 World Cup with a nine-wicket pounding.
Results
Men
Tests: P7 W3 L2 D2
ODIs: P21 W5 L16
T20Is: P24 W8 L15 NR1

Women
ODIs: P18 W5 L11 NR2
T20Is: P10 W1 L9

Bangladesh

by Mohammad Isam
The numbers don't suggest it but 2022 was one of Bangladesh's most productive years in international cricket - they won more matches in 2021, but 2022 is comparable to 2015 in terms of the quality of the opposition they defeated.
They beat New Zealand for the first time in a Test match, and in New Zealand at that. They also beat South Africa in the ODI series in March, in that team's backyard. Bangladesh were previously winless in both countries, so these were two special performances. They rounded off the year with a second successive ODI series win at home against India, and nearly toppled them in their last Test this year, in Dhaka.
Litton Das had a stellar year in all formats, while Mehidy Hasan Miraz established himself as a reliable allrounder for the team. The rise of Bangladesh's fast bowling across formats has been noteworthy too.
The sole highlight for the women's team was the win over Pakistan in the World Cup. They struggled in the T20 Asia Cup later in the year, where, despite being defending champions, they couldn't reach the semi-finals. Captain Nigar Sultana had a good year with the bat, topping the batting charts in ODIs and T20Is, while Salma Khatun and Nahida Akter were among the main wicket-takers.
High point
The miracle at Mount Maunganui and the 2-1 wins over South Africa and India in ODIs were high-water marks in Bangladesh's cricket history.
Low point
Bangladesh lost to Zimbabwe in ODI and T20I series for the first time in nine years.
Results
Men
Tests: P10 W1 L8 D1
ODIs: P15 W10 L5
T20Is: P21 W6 L14 NR1
Women
ODIs: P10 W1 L7 NR2
T20Is: P17 W10 L7

Afghanistan

by Peter Della Penna
Afghanistan may not have the seismic upset results over the years that other teams have had on the pathway from Associate to Full Member status, but 2022 showed that they continue to make steady progress in gaining respect with a steady march up the global rankings.
In the ODI World Cup Super League, they beat the teams they were supposed to (sweeping a pair of three-match series against Netherlands and Zimbabwe) as well as winning a few games that were not nailed-on results (winning one match each against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka). Their consistency in ODIs has helped secure an automatic berth into the 2023 World Cup with a guaranteed top-eight finish in the 13-team tournament, which is all the more remarkable considering they still have nine matches left to play.
As for T20Is, they once again showed flashes of immense promise thanks to their factory line of T20 franchise stars. Afghanistan advanced to the Super Four of the Asia Cup, but stumbled once there. Their T20 World Cup experience was severely rain-affected, with two matches washed out, though they gave defending champions Australia a scare in what amounted to a consolation match to end the group stage. It showed that a victory over the Aussies, which may have seemed far-fetched a decade ago, is not so hard to envision anymore.
High point
Beating eventual champions Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to top Group B in the first round of the Asia Cup.
Low point
Continued inactivity for women's cricket initiatives at domestic and national team level, which is part of the criteria to be a Full Member of the ICC.
Results
Men
ODIs: P12 W8 L3 NR1
T20Is: P18 W8 L10

Zimbabwe

by Firdose Moonda
A year of two halves started with Zimbabwe's men's team losing 11 of their first 14 international fixtures - including series defeats to Afghanistan and Namibia - before winning 13 of their next 25 matches. The difference? A change in coach.
Dave Houghton, the country's first Test captain, had an immediate impact after he replaced Lalchand Rajput - who moved sideways into the position of technical director - in June. Zimbabwe won the T20 World Cup Qualifier, held at home, a month later and earned a spot at an ICC event for the first time since 2016. They also had an impressive run through the T20 World Cup, where they got into the Super 12. They also beat Bangladesh in an ODI series for the first time since 2013 and won an ODI in Australia for the first time ever, but remain out of automatic contention for the 2023 World Cup.
Zimbabwe did not play a single Test in 2022 and only have five scheduled in 2023 (two against West Indies and one against Ireland at home, and two against Afghanistan away). Their focus seems to be shifting to the shorter formats, and they will even host a T10 tournament in January 2023. They do, however, remain committed to long-format players. Gary Ballance, who was schooled in Harare and has played 23 Tests for England, opted out of his Yorkshire contract early and has signed a two-year deal with Zimbabwe Cricket.
The women's team did not play any ODIs in 2022, but came agonisingly close to qualifying for the 2023 T20 World Cup, their hopes being ended by a four-run loss to Ireland.
High point
Zimbabwe stunned eventual finalists Pakistan in the T20 World Cup by defending an under-par 130 in Perth. Pakistan were on track on 88 for 3 before Zimbabwe's man of the year, Sikandar Raza, took three wickets in five balls. Richard Ngarava and Blessing Muzarabani squeezed the Pakistan batting and Brad Evans defended ten runs off the last over to secure a massive upset.
Low point
It's tough being always eclipsed by South Africa, but imagine when even Namibia overshadow you? In May, Zimbabwe lost a T20I series to their lower-profile neighbours, but they did make up for it by qualifying for the Super 12 at the T20 World Cup when Namibia didn't.
Results
Men
ODIs: P15 W4 L11
T20Is: P24 W12 L11 NR1

Women
T20Is: P15 W12 L3

UAE

by Peter Della Penna
Having not played in a World Cup of any kind since 2015, UAE made a spectacular splash in 2022. Not only did they qualify for the men's T20 World Cup by winning the qualifying event in Oman in February - a performance that included a pair of victories over Ireland in both the group stage and the final - they also managed to spring a surprise upset of Namibia to end the group stage of the T20 World Cup itself, a result that denied Namibia what would have been their second straight trip to the Super 12s.
In ODIs, the year started off in positive fashion for UAE before tailing off significantly. The loss of form was not without consequences. After the team went winless on their ODI tour of Scotland, Ahmed Raza was sacked as captain and replaced with CP Rizwan. Initially the move was announced as a change for T20Is only, but Rizwan continued to lead UAE in ODIs in their next series, against Nepal, as well. That apart, long-time allrounder Rohan Mustafa was shockingly left out of the T20 World Cup squad despite having been one of UAE's better-performing players in the Qualifier.
The men were not the only team to make waves in the year. The Under-19 Women beat Thailand to clinch the Asia Regional Qualifying spot in the inaugural Women's U-19 World Cup in South Africa. The senior women continued a streak that began in 2021, to ultimately win 18 T20Is in a row before the run was snapped by a loss to Thailand. Though they could not secure a spot at the T20 World Cup, the women scored a famous win over Zimbabwe at the qualifier in Abu Dhabi, winning off the last ball by four wickets.
High point
Fighting off the cold in Hobart, and a talented opponent in Namibia, to win a match at the men's T20 World Cup.
Low point
Very nearly blowing a chance to reach the T20 World Cup in the first place with a two-run loss to Bahrain to end the group stage of the men's qualifier in Oman.
Results
Men
ODIs: P21 W10 L10 T1
T20Is: P16 W8 L8
Women
T20Is: P28 W16 L10 NR2

Oman

by Peter Della Penna
After a spate of successes under the leadership of head coach Duleep Mendis, Omanwere underwhelming in 2022. Less than four months after being co-hosts of the 2021 Men's T20 World Cup with the UAE, they could not secure a berth for the next edition of the tournament, despite hosting the qualifier. A loss to Nepal in round-robin play meant they finished as runners-up in Group B, pitting them against Group A leader Ireland in a crossover semi-final that wound up being fairly one-sided.
In ODIs, they became the first team to wrap up the full slate of 36 matches in Cricket World Cup League Two, ending with two wins out of four against USA and Nepal in Texas to take 44 points from 36 matches. Though they will not finish as winners of the seven-team competition, their spot in the top three is nearly assured, which will put them into the ten-team ICC World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe in 2023. It will be their first appearance in the 50-over World Cup Qualifier since 2009, bringing them full circle from the depths of World Cricket League Division Five in 2016.
On the women's side, Oman won four of five T20Is on home soil to finish runners-up to the UAE in the six-team Gulf Cooperation Council Women's T20 Championship. However, they were less successful away from home, losing all three completed matches at the Asian Cricket Council Women's T20 Championship in Malaysia.
High point
Bilal Khan finishing as the leading wicket-taker in CWC League 2 with 76 wickets.
Low point
A clumsy chase against Ireland that saw Oman go from 68 for 2 at the halfway points chasing a target of 166 to 109 all out in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Results
Men
ODIs: P16 W7 L8 T1
T20Is: P15 W6 L9
Women
T20Is: P9 W4 L4 NR1

Scotland

by Peter Della Penna
Change would a recurring theme for Scotland in 2022, both on and off the field. Allegations by former spinner Majid Haq, among others, sparked an independent review that concluded that Cricket Scotland's governance and leadership practices were "institutionally racist". In anticipation of the report findings being made public in July, the entire Cricket Scotland board resigned en masse.
Earlier in the summer, long-time men's captain Kyle Coetzer stepped down from the national team captaincy and retired from T20Is. New captain Richie Berrington led his charges to a famous win over West Indies to start their T20 World Cup campaign in Hobart, but they were unable to sustain that momentum and were beaten by Ireland and Zimbabwe in successive matches to fall short of the Super 12s. Scotland's ODI form, however, was mighty impressive and they ended the year in first place in the seven-team CWC ODI League Two competition.
As for the women, they could not maintain the progress made in 2021, when they defeated Ireland to be champions of the Europe Regional T20 World Cup Qualifier. Two losses in Edinburgh in early September to Ireland were followed by another in a must-win match at the T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE, ending Scotland's dreams of advancing to the Women's T20 World Cup in South Africa. However, the junior women were able to defeat Netherlands to secure a berth in the inaugural Women's U-19 World Cup.
High point
Not just beating West Indies, but the manner in which they did it. A thumping 42-run win highlighted by Mark Watt's trio of wickets off deliveries bowled from 25 yards away.
Low point
Calum MacLeod abruptly announcing his retirement at age 32, following the end of the T20 World Cup after a summer in which he was in blistering form with the bat.
Results
Men
ODIs: P21 W15 L6
T20Is: P5 W1 L4
Women
T20Is: P11 W4 L7