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Year Ender 2019: World Cricket: Steve Smith, Warner, Archer and England headline the year

Steve Smith hogged headlines

Bengaluru, December 16: The 2019 was a significant year for cricket. We have seen a number of innovations like concussion substitute and TV umpire monitoring front foot no-ball coming to existence. The year was also that of the ICC World Cup which was eventually won by England.

MyKhel takes a look at some of the fine points of the year that is about to stroll past us.

1. England on one-day pinnacle

1. England on one-day pinnacle

Apart from a T20 World Cup, England had not won any major ICC trophies till this year, an anomaly on a nation that boasts of rich cricketing history. Since crashing out of the ICC World Cup 2015, England changed their approach to 50-over cricket. From conservative, they transformed into a bionic unit and batting was all about muscle. It was quite vindicated that England won their maiden 50-over World Cup in their backyard playing this new brand of cricket. The rather gully-cricket looking boundary rule created a flutter around England's win but it cannot be denied that they were deserving winners.

2. The Smith-Warner show is back

2. The Smith-Warner show is back

The return of Steve Smith and David Warner was one of the most hotly anticipated episodes of 2019. It was worth the wait too. Smith played brilliant cricket throughout Ashes to score upwards of 700 runs in the series, a major reason behind Aussies winning the Ashes on English soil after a long time. However, Warner could not meet the expectations failing to negotiate English pacers, especially Stuart Broad. However, Warner has turned the tables since going through a blast Test series against Pakistan at home. Australia will be that much a bigger force now. Amidst that, England pacer Jofra Archer too made a name for himself in the Ashes. A constant threat because of his high speed, Archer also forced Smith to sit out of a match after hitting him on his head.

3. Test cricket returns to Pakistan

3. Test cricket returns to Pakistan

Pakistan had not played host to Test cricket since the attack on Sri Lanka cricketers back in 2009. But the Lankans arrived in Pakistan for a two-Test series in December and it would boost their efforts to stage more cricket in the country. Pakistan are already mulling the idea of hosting Australia in near future for a Test series. For long, they have played in Abu Dhabi as home venue and it seems that they have taken a big step in hosting top-flight cricket again in their own soil.

4. General picture

4. General picture

Apart from the three frontline nations - India, England and Australia, there was not much to cheer for others and especially for South Africa. Once the No 1 team across the format, the Proteas seemed to have hit a downward curve. They have lost some big names like Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn this year to retirement and crumbled in an away series to India quite badly. Off the field, they are struggling to find a way out of the dispute between players' association and Cricket South Africa.

Bangladesh went through an even bigger turmoil. Apart from losing to Afghanistan in a home Test match, the Tigers suffered lop-sided defeat against India in an away series and also saw leading all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan getting banned by the ICC for not reporting the approach by a bookie. West Indies found a late bloom when they defeated Afghanistan in a one-off Test and being competitive against India in the limited-over series.

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Story first published: Monday, December 16, 2019, 12:57 [IST]
Other articles published on Dec 16, 2019
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