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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
An ostensibly mundane thing that is in actual fact a hallmark of greatness.
Crawley then gleefully goaded these people by almost exclusively employing the inside edge of his bat against Ireland.
Just a magnificent way to press home your advantage – try and embarrass the middle-order out.
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.
Poor Danni Wyatt was run-out after team-mate Georgia Adams walloped the ball into her at the non-striker’s end.
Just a really, really satisfying diving catch in a game no-one gave a toss about.
A spectacularly passive non-event of a dismissal in real time, yet one to really marvel at afterwards.
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.
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.