Cow Corner

  • Alternative cricket awards for 2011

    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

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  • Shell-shocked Australia declare ‘cricket crisis’

    When Australia were skittled out for 47 in humiliating fashion by South Africa it was described by many as their lowest ebb in recent history. That has since been eclipsed after an even more inauspicious showing.

    Australia is now bemoaning its supposed nadir having suffered a dramatic and crushing defeat to 'little sister' New Zealand in the second Test at Hobart.

    While Michael Clarke's side capitulated to their worst total for all of 109 years against the Proteas, the manner of their implosion against the Kiwis was even more ignominious.

    "Aussie cricket crisis", "Black Monday", the "Lowest of

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  • Alastair Cook: A year to remember

    On the week that Alastair Cook was presented with an MBE by the Queen for his outstanding performance against Australia Down Under, Cowers looks back on a truly sensational year for the England batsman.

    To say Cook has been prolific this season would be like saying Shane Warne has had a slight makeover. The left-handed opener's exploits have been remarkable.

    The 26-year-old plundered an incredible 766 runs in seven Ashes innings to anchor England's emphatic 3-1 victory - their first in Australia for 24 years.

    He also went past 5,000 Test runs and, in so doing, became the second youngest

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  • Can Arthur transform ailing Australia?

    Former South Africa cricket coach Mickey Arthur has been tasked with completing a sweeping revamp of a beleaguered Australia side after he became their first foreign head coach.

    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.

    Can it possibly get any worse, and is

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  • Swann snipes KP ahead of ‘payback’ series

    The series billed as 'payback' for a wounded India side has already been preceded by a furore surrounding one England player sniping another.

    All the attention surrounding the tourists has concerned to what extent Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen are now on speaking terms following the spinner's outspoken remarks about his team-mate's inauspicious efforts at captaincy back when English cricket was languishing in mediocrity.

    England netted at the Ranjiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad on Monday ahead of their hotly-anticipated one-day series with world champions India, and all cameras were trained

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  • TV blackout can’t spare England’s blushes

    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.

    Andy Flower's side suffered a chastening defeat to an India side who had been salivating at the prospect of a revenge victory ever since their dismal English summer culminated in a 3-0 series defeat in the NatWest Series.

    The local media billed it as 'The Payback Series' and spent weeks transforming their heroes into gun-wielding warriors on Photoshop.

    England enjoyed fleeting periods of being in contention, but were ultimately thrashed

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  • England’s reality check

    Remember
    when England were walloping India every time they played? Of course you do - it
    was only last month, after all.

    A month and
    a day ago England and India lined up in Cardiff in the final one-day
    international of the summer. England won thanks to a precocious knock of 41
    from 21 balls by Jonny Bairstow to complete a 3-0 series win.

    There are just four changes from
    the two line-ups between Cardiff and Delhi. India have replaced the retired Rahul
    Dravid with the returning Gautam Gambhir, while RP Singh has made way for Umesh
    Yadav, and Praveen Kumar's return has dislodged Munaf Patel. For

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  • The great Trott debate

    England may have suffered a third successive chastening defeat, but most of the post-match debate was focused upon the innings of 98 played by Jonathan Trott.

    Such is the apparent obsession with the England number three's style of play that he can fall two runs shy of a one-day international century, and still have his contribution heavily scrutinised.

    It was certainly to type, no doubt about it. One accusation which can never be levelled at the ICC's cricketer of the year is a lack of consistency.

    Trott made 98 off 116 balls
    as he effectively anchored the England innings with no intention of

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  • Beleaguered ICC must get a grip

    Cricket's world Test championship has been shelved - until 2017 at least - and the proverbial climbdown represents another humiliating defeat for the ICC.

    World cricket's governing body is still reeling from the barrage of criticism it received following the spot-fixing scandal, with its image and reputation at a new low and Andrew Strauss describing the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit as a "toothless tiger".

    Chief executive Haroon Lorgat cuts a fairly beleaguered figure. There are constant accusations of deference to the BCCI, feelings of abandonment from associate nations and frustrations

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  • What next for England after golden year?

    What a year it has been for English cricket.

    Andy Flower's men now find themselves top of the ICC world rankings in two different formats having won the Ashes, thrashed India at home and created history in the process.

    England now have an unprecedented two months off in which they can bask in their achievements and rest their weary limbs from the proverbial treadmill of international cricket.

    But equally, they will be bracing themselves. What ensues is a virtually unbroken and gruelling sequence of 30 months of international cricketing toil.

    Next year, starting in the United Arab Emirates of

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