21 of the best, worst and weirdest cricket moments of 2023

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Most of us can only accommodate so many cricket events in our heads for a given year. It’s therefore striking just how many should-be-memorable events took place before the Ashes even began – most of which we’d completely forgotten. So buckle up, everyone – this is a long one. You can at least just scan through the subheadings though if you’re happy to get just a vague whiff of the year instead of tasting the full flavour.

1. R Ashwin taught everyone chess

R Ashwin enjoys chess. We know this not just because he has said so, but because he went so far as to make a series of online videos with Grandmaster RB Ramesh titled “Learn the Basics of Chess”.

2. Neil Wagner dismissed Harry Brook with a 78mph bouncer

Of course he did because this is what he does. This particular wicket was significant because Brook at the time boasted a Test average and strike-rate that were both 94. He was, it’s fair to say, in a bit of form. But even a man playing like the bastard offspring of Bradman and Sehwag is vulnerable to a 78mph half-tracker from The Great Neil Wagner. One day we will have to stop trying to make sense of this. Until then, let’s just make the most of it while we still can.

3. England deployed The Nighthawk

Batting at number four against New Zealand, Stuart Broad utterly skied a hook shot second ball. Broad the batter being Broad the batter, he of course survived because bowler and keeper left it for each other.

4. Jimmy Anderson was a majestic island of chuntering irritation and sadness

England lost a Test match to New Zealand by a single run. Jimmy Anderson was completely pissed-off about it and didn’t hide it. In so doing, he showed upbeat phlegmatic enthusiast Ben Stokes what sport’s all about. Sport needs conflict, sport needs losers – that’s what makes it magical and powerful.

5. Moeen Ali demonstrated his backlift AND follow-through

Again, not really an unusual thing in itself, but like Neil Wagner’s idiosyncratic modus operandi, surely worth celebrating while we still can.

6. Aussie pundits’ brains short-circuited when their team beat India on a pitch that turned from day one

If you’re an Australian commentator, it’s a real philosophical quandary, this one. Can a pitch still be doctored or unfair when Australia win on it? And if it isn’t, what does that say about all the other pitches that aren’t basically just exactly the same as the Gabba?

7. Travis Head completed his look

We knew it would be a big year for Trav when we saw him combine that moustache with a trucker’s hat back in March.

8. New Zealand won a Test off the final ball with a bye

You’ll have to click through to read this one because just look at that image above – we can’t do it justice in a sentence or two. The winning bye? What a concept! What a sport!

9. The IPL made cricket worse

Look, unlike a lot of cricket sites, we’re not in the business of IPL-bashing by default. We are however very happy to say that tactical substitutions miss the point of cricket and therefore make it worse.

10. The Rajasthan Royals forgot to serve dinner

The Rajasthan Royals held an absolutely nightmarish food-free team bonding thing. Whatever bad things happen to us in life, at least we didn’t have to go to this.

11. James Anderson bowled in a bobble hat

An ostensibly mundane thing that is in actual fact a hallmark of greatness.

12. People got angry that Zak Crawley was picked ahead of a wicketkeeper

Crawley then gleefully goaded these people by almost exclusively employing the inside edge of his bat against Ireland.

13. Harry Brook came on to bowl with Australia 39-2

Just a magnificent way to press home your advantage – try and embarrass the middle-order out.

14. The rest of the Ashes

Pat Cummins’ heroism with the bat; the Test of a trillion bouncers; Mark Wood’s perfect arrival; Zak Crawley nonsense; Stuart Broad. This one demands a sub-page all of its own.

15. There was a very fine deflect-o-run-out in The Hundred

Poor Danni Wyatt was run-out after team-mate Georgia Adams walloped the ball into her at the non-striker’s end.

16. Glenn Phillips got some really good air

Just a really, really satisfying diving catch in a game no-one gave a toss about.

17. Achini Kulasuriya was dawdled out for 0

A spectacularly passive non-event of a dismissal in real time, yet one to really marvel at afterwards.

18. There was a World Cup

As with the Ashes, this needs a whole page of its own if we’re to get through this round-up before the 2024 one’s due.

19. There was an “international” series between “India” and “Australia” straight after the World Cup

We don’t want to get melodramatic, but this was a pointless abomination the mere existence of which definitely shortened the lifespan of many billions of people.

20. England picked a lad who’s taken 10 first-class wickets at 67.00

Fully insane. 10/10. More of this kind of thing. We just absolutely cannot wait to see him take 9-15 in three overs on his debut. If you aren’t rooting for the same thing, you are dead inside.

21. We picked out the best, worst and weirdest cricket moments of 2023

And lo! They were many in number and he did resort to linking to a couple of subpages where he had previously picked out best, worst and weirdest moments for specific series and tournaments that fell within that bonkers year that was 2023. And verily, he did forget how to write normally by the end of the article and did think to himself that maybe it was time to call time on this exercise and instead go and do something more productive, like overeating or drinking heavily.

Well there’s no time to fit anything else in today after all that. You may as well write the day off and go and read some of our features. Alternatively, if you’re feeling mad, generous, or ideally mad-generous, go and take a look at our Patreon crowdfunding campaign.


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  1. Nice piece, KC.

    Totally agree that the “winning bye” story (No 8) deserved to be the headline picture story, but in my humble opinion the “wormhole picture” within that story is the best picture of the year on this site. Readers with short memories (as was mine) will need to click through to see that picture and read the “logical” suggestions as to how the final image might have arisen.

    Happy new year to you, KC and indeed to all.

  2. Thanks for the great recap of the really important news stories of the year, KC.
    Glad to see you have resisted the trend of “the best 23 stories of 2023” or “24 things to look forward to in 2024”, which no doubt you have foreseen as only increasing the workload as the years nurdle on.
    Happy New Year to everybody.

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