Monday, January 9, 2023

The Twenty22 LineUp

We are already a few days into 2023 and the laws of cricket have been called into question in the Big Bash League. Before the year gets too far ahead, here is looking back at the year gone by. 2022 was a packed year for cricket with many countries clearing their covid backlogs. It was also the year in which we moved away from Covid with players participating actively in games even after testing positive. A far cry from the days when even those who had potentially come in close contact with them had to be put in isolation.

Here is presenting the Slipstream XI for 2022!

1. Cricketing Term of the Year – BazBall
BazBall is the real deal. Winning multiple improbable 4th innings chases, taking out a dead Rawalpindi pitch and bad light out of the equation, England are showing that Test cricket can be played differently! This after a horror start to the year after another pounding in Australia in the Ashes!

2. The Question of the Laws
Ben Stokes took a DRS Review after being given caught behind. Replays showed ball missed bat, hit the stumps but the bails did not fall off. Given not out on review, everyone had a hearty laugh, but it once again brings into question of LBW is a valid form of dismissal at all?

3. Coach of the Year
Given the headline dominating BazBall, Brendon McCullum should have been a cert for this award. But it goes to the other England coach, Matthew Mott, who in 2022, first lead the Australian women to an ODI World Championship and followed it up by leading the England Men to a T20 World Championship!

4. The Perseverance Award
12 Years after his Test debut, Jaydev Unadkat got to play his second Test for India. He may never play again, but what a story it has been, toiling year after year on the domestic circuit, and finally getting his second Test cap, and first wicket

5. The cricketing moment of the Year
There were a few contenders - Virat Kohli hitting that six off Haris Rauf (18.5), Stuart Broad conceding 35 runs in an over to Jasprit Bumrah, surreal scenes in BPL where the fielder’s throw hit both sets of stumps and the second one was runout. But the most talked about incident turned out to be Deepti Sharma running out Charlie Dean at the non-strikers end. The so called guardians of “Spirit of Cricket” were all up in arms on social media, where the debate raged on and on. The players themselves moved on fast with Deam attempting a run-out the very next day. Only issue was the non-striker had her feet firmly plonked behind the line!

6. Rivalry of the Year
Move over the Ashes, India-Pakistan, England-West Indies or even the Naagin rivalry (Sri Lanka – Bangladesh for the uninitiated). There is a new rivalry in town which has in origins in a Mr. Bean’s Pakistani duplicate being sent to an agriculture event in Zimbabwe a few years back! It came to light only in the T20 World Cup clash between Zimbabwe and Pakistan (won by Zimbabwe). Such was the storm on social media that even the Heads of States of both countries got involved!

7. Friendship of the Year
On the other hand, there were the Argentine fans of Bangladesh cricket, who were reciprocating their support after learning that there were more Albiceleste fans in Bangladesh than in Argentina itself. Result – Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s series winning exploits against India were also written in Spanish across the interwebs! That is one interesting way to grow the game.

8. Karma bites back
In the Ranji Trophy pre-quarter finals, Jharkhand batted on and on, scored 880 runs, shot out Nagaland for 289, then batted again and declared at 417 taking a lead of 1008 runs (first 4-digit lead in first class history). However in their very next game, they were at the receiving end. In the Quarter-finals, Bengal batted first scored 773, shot out Jharkhand for 298 and then batted again to pile up 318 runs. Just a small lead of 796 runs!

9. Ypu Gate
A journalist threatening an international cricketer and getting caught by his typos. Well done Wriddhiman Saha for exposing one rotten apple. But one wonders what else goes on behind the scenes. This ypu can’t be the only one who has indulged in such activities!

10. The Debutantes of the Year
ODI (W): Thailand
T20I (M): Cook Islands, Croatia, Fiji, Gambia, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Mali, Slovenia, South Korea, St. Helena
T20I (W): Bahrain, Barbados, Denmark, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Isle of Man, Malta, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain

11. The New Format of the Year
West Indies compressed the game to 60 balls and made random changes along they way and came with The 6ty. It had its own set of bizarre innovations. Lets see which format comes along in 2023! 

That was the Slipstream selection from 2022. Hoping for an action-packed 2023 with its two World Cups and Test Championship Finals. 

Wishing all readers a Very Happy and statistically fun-filled cricketing Year.

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