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Cricketing year 2012 winds down

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Such is the proliferation of international cricket matches these days, that, though the year is coming to a close, several international clashes, of one type of cricket or another, are still being contested.{{more}}

Caribbean fans are still breathing a sigh of relief that the West Indies team narrowly escaped from further humiliation at the hands of Bangladesh, edging out the home team in the lone and concluding Twenty20 fixture, after losing the five-match ODI series. That loss was particularly disappointing, especially after the 2-0 win in the Test series and the revival of fortunes promised by the fabulous World T20 championship, recently won.

It was a mixed tour for the Windies where performances were concerned. On the positive side there was the continued extension of Marlon Samuels’ fulfilment of his early promise. What a fantastic year he has had! He was by far his team’s best batsman in all forms of the game, world top-ranked Chanderpaul only playing Test cricket. Samuels played outstanding cricket, totalling more than 1,500 runs in the three forms of the international game, including 866 runs in seven Tests, at an average of 86 per innings.

The selectors can also be pleased with the performances of young Nevisian opener Kieran Powell, the development of Roach, in spite of injury, to be one of the top speedsters in the world and the debut of Permaul on the international stage. There will be concern that Narine’s excellent one-day bowling has not been replicated on the Test scene.

LEADING FROM THE FRONT

2012 has been marked by some outstanding batting performances. Although Australian skipper Michael Clarke has been the most prolific batsman, (1,358 runs with two Tests against Sri Lanka to follow), pride of place must go to his English counterpart, Alistair Cook. Taking over the England captaincy, he has led from the front, picking up the pieces after England suffered defeats to Pakistan and South Africa.

Last week, he became the first man to score hundreds in his first five Tests as captain. In so doing, Cook set a new English record of 23 Test hundreds, surpassing such English legends as Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoff Boycott, all who, like current player Kevin Pietersen, scored 22 centuries. Cook is just 27 and became the youngest ever player to reach 7,000 runs in Test cricket. Given his temperament and determination, much more can be in store.

(to be continued)

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