Astounding U-turn of the year
Haroon Lorgat's assertion that the ICC "would love to have a Test Championship" quickly changed to "...You have to understand that the ICC can't go against the wishes of the powerful boards. The board needs to balance several objectives" when it became clear that money would prevail. The lack of a guarantee that India would remain in the top four sides in the world and subsequent risk attached to immensely lucrative TV rights proved critical, and the competition was promptly hurled onto the back burner once more.
Epic fail of the year
It has not been a good year in any respect for Australia, from the culmination of a disastrous Ashes campaign to being skittled out for 47 in humiliating fashion by South Africa. Australia's worst total for all of 109 years unbelievably represented something of a recovery from having been a galling 21-9 at one stage, and it epitomised the downward spiral they have suffered.
Technical/political shank of the year
In hindsight, England would have been happy if the TV blackout which blighted the start of the first one-day international in Hyderabad had not been resolved. British TV viewers were subjected to a still image (pictured) with broadcasters David 'Bumble' Lloyd and Nick 'I've always said that...' Knight forced to provide a radio-style commentary over a mobile phone as a result of a 'pictures blackout'. Lloyd coped admirably with the farcical situation as he reported live on air that there were 'licence issues' which had not been resolved while the match began out on the field with viewers unable to watch.
The blackout was caused by a breakdown in negotiations between rights-holding production company Nimbus, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, and the Indian government. The knock-on effect ensured that no coverage was possible. Televised coverage finally resumed at 10:15 UK time after Lloyd joyously reported in commentary that the dispute had been successfully resolved.
Celebration of the year
Okay, so there may not be photo evidence, but Graeme Swann revealed to Cowers that he ended a night of "epic celebrations" with a lampshade on his head after England won the Trent Bridge Test against India. He apparently looked very good, but does not know how the lampshade came to find itself upon his head.
Worst excuse of the year
The recently imprisoned Salman Butt claimed that the thousands of pounds found in his London hotel room following the News of the World's successful spot-fixing sting came from an ice cream parlour in Tooting. He was found guilty; caught very cold.
Worst banter of the year
Again, it's up to Swann to dish the dirt as he enlightened Cowers on which man has the worst banter in the England dressing room, and it was little surprise to discover it was Jonathan Trott. "It's a toss-up between Jonathan Trott and Jonathan Trott," Swann said. "He absolutely can't take a joke, but he thinks he can. He is funny, but just can't take a joke. We can't wind him up because he gets too angry. You wouldn't wind up Andrew Strauss because he's the captain - it would be like tying a noose to your neck."
Ill-judged punditry of the year
Outrage and indignation has followed commentator Nasser Hussain's 'donkey' jibe at Indian players. "I would say the difference between the two sides is the fielding. England are an all-round good fielding side. I do believe that India have a few... three or four very good fielders and one or two donkeys in the field still." Oh, Nass, you've made a right Ass of yourself.
Most pathetically infantile feud of the year
It all started when Simon Katich reportedly grabbed Michael Clarke by the throat back in 2009 after Pup attempted to hurry up the Australia team song so that he could scurry off to see his Missus, but oh how it has escalated out of all proportion. An angry Katich recently claimed his dressing-room blow-up with Clarke after the Sydney Test had led to his contract being torn up this year, and insisted he would never play under the present Australia skipper... as Bob Willis would say with a typically withering look, "get a grip, man!"
Greatest fans of the year (at the World Cup)
The Cricket World Cup saw some colourful characters, and not just the fellas in pyjamas out on the field. These fans particularly caught the eye, and for a wide range of reasons. From pork pie hats and the idea that if you have a flag, a T-shirt in addition is rendered entirely superfluous, to World Cup trophies planted on heads with the help of some string and perhaps even an awkward line of cut-out heads of the stars. Cowers has a lot of respect for every one of these 'super fans'.
Dropped clanger of the year
The audacious nonchalance of this England fan to embark on snaffling an enormous MS Dhoni six over deep midwicket with one hand while clutching a pretty full pint of Guinness in the other was breathtaking. And, well, rather stupid. His enormous hat may have helped shield his eyes from the Edgbaston sunshine, but his hand let him down terribly. He proceeded to shower the nearby punters in the Eric Hollies stand and it's fair to say that no one was clamouring to buy him a new pint of the black stuff.
Top tormentors of the Fun Police...
While cricketing crowds, particularly in Australia, England and South Africa, may have become increasingly boisterous in the age of Twenty20 and NPower girls, the stewards - or Fun Police, as they are not at all affectionately known - have grown ever more heavy handed and petulant. Some fans, however, to widespread admiration, have managed to both thwart and frustrate the fluorescent-bibbed aficionados and milked the applause of thousands.
Disruptive publication of the year
Anyone who was expecting Swann's forthcoming autobiography 'The Breaks Are Off' to be the latest in a long line of drab, anti-climactic cricketing books hastily knocked up while adopting the 'strike while the iron's hot' mantra was jolted. Swann's book has already made its mark, and not solely for absurd antics involving cats and floorboards.
He wrote: "Kev ended up shouting 'F***ing bowl f***ing straight' at everyone. There is no doubt that Kev is a good player, a really fine batsman, but he was never the right man to captain England. Some people are better leaders of men, and Kev, for all his abundant talent, is not one. I wouldn't say he was a useless captain, but he wasn't my sort of captain, and we've ended up with the right man."
The ever calm, collected and unflappable England coach Andy Flower's assessment was typically understated but telling: "Perhaps upon reflection, Graeme would accept that it was not the best timing." Indeed, England proceeded to suffer a 5-0 drubbing in India.
Cringey tweet of the year
Yes, Liz Hurley did tweet Warne a "special lick", but the former Australian bamboozler appalled his 600,000 followers with the following 140-character monstrosity: "Playing with Michael Vaughan today, want a pic on the first tee ? Won't show my lucky spinners underwear I have on though !!! Hahahah!"
Stupidest injury of the year
Oh dear, it's that man Warne again. The professional poker player burnt his spinning hand while whipping up a bacon buttie, and was left with a heavily blistered red paw which badly affected his Melbourne Stars debut at the inaugural Big Bash.
And the plastic medal goes to...
Warne and his brand new face. The Australian rocked up to shock the cricketing public at the start of the English summer with a brand spanking new complexion, permanently pert eyebrows and a distinct lack of wrinkles or natural facial movement.
Statuesque figure of the year
Poor Warney said all the right things about being "humbled", "honoured", "touched" and "grateful" after a statue was unveiled in his honour outside the MCG. But the uber-metrosexual former Australia spinner was appalled at the rotund figure of the bronze statue, and upset that his comically white teeth were not reflected. "It's 300 kilos that statue!" Warne said on seeing his chubby likeness, before admitting that, "it's pretty lifelike for when I played." That's the trouble with make-overs, they make statues look even more absurd.
What were your 'alternative' cricketing moments of the year? What awards would you like to dish out for 2011? Post your suggestions and comments below...