Season Review 2005-06 and 2006
Russell Degnan

Like last year, no cricket worth mentioning this month. Instead, a season review.

Pakistan 5th 1111.77 +65.28
P:12 W:4 D:5 L:3

Pakistan were the form team of this year, at least until their disastrous tour of England. Three series wins, two at home. A mountain of runs from Mohammad Yousuf, Inzaman ul-Haq and Younis Khan, and supported by a fine bowling attack when injuries weren't an issue. They still need to settle on some decent openers, but otherwise the rebuilding of the last few years has paid off.

Australia 1st 1378.77 +36.67
P:11 W:10 D:1 L:0

Ten wins, no losses, plus the rubbish ICC games. Australia made changes after the Ashes loss and were much stronger for it, even if they did bring back large parts of the old team by the time the Bangladesh series rolled around. There are still a lot of question-marks over the make-up of the side, and the opposition was weak, but you can't fault the results.

Sri Lanka 4th 1120.5 +34.04
P:14 W:7 D:3 L:4

Two-test-series specialists, Sri Lanka fought hard to draw in England, and to finish the series against South Africa, but are far too dependent on Muralitharan and Jayawardene. Those two are sufficiently talented to win them games though, and their record -- even accounting for four tests against hapless Bangladesh -- was solid.

West Indies 8th 832 +15.61
P:10 W:0 D:4 L:6

Sure, they didn't win any, and their away record had just the one draw to recommend it, but the West Indies still improved this season, pushing India at home, and New Zealand away. It is hard to say what shape a post-Lara West Indies will take, but one suspects that it can't be any worse, and maybe, just maybe, the powerhouse of old might return.

New Zealand 7th 1028.9 -5.18
P:8 W:4 D:2 L:2

Neither here nor there. A winning record was achieved by smashing Zimbabwe, and crawling over the West Indies. The losses came in a farcical late summer series against South Africa. New Zealand aren't terrible, but nor are they much good.

Bangladesh 10th 599.39 -14.9
P:6 W:0 D:0 L:6

Almost, but if only. Bangladesh almost pulled off the biggets upset ever, against Australia, but otherwise lost as has been their custom. The home losses have been getting better, and it can only be a matter of time until they get a break-through win against a decent side. In the meantime, their ratings slides and slides.

India 3rd 1123.44 -19.2
P:15 W:6 D:2 L:7

On the surface, India's record of six wins and two losses looks quite good. But an unconvincing win over the West Indies away from home, a drawn home series against England. and a one-nil loss away to Pakistan, are the results of an under-performing team. Once again, failing to convince.

England 2nd 1222.47 -30.46
P:13 W:5 D:4 L:4

Having had their best year since god knows when last year, England were truly woeful in this. It could have, indeed should have been, worse, had Pakistan not thrown the last game of their series by forfeiting. Any way you look at it, this was a return to earth for last year's stand-out side. To be fair though, injuries hurt, and the sub-continent is a tough place to play decent sides. Expect England to continue to improve next season -- depending on the Ashes result that is.

Zimbabwe 9th 672.64 -34.8
P:4 W:0 D:0 L:4

You'd lament Zimbabwe's performance if it wasn't self-inflicted. While the national team was repeatedly annihilated in a mercifully short tour program, some of their former players were racking up huge numbers of runs in county cricket. Still ahead of Bangladesh. For now.

South Africa 6th 1076.33 -50.86
P:11 W:2 D:2 L:7

Playing Australia six times can be hard work, but this was still an ordinary year for a young South African side. After playing reasonably well without luck or success in Australia, they were comprehensively thrashed at home, and away to Sri Lanka. Victories over New Zealand were unimpressive. South Africa has now dropped to their worst ranking since readmission.

Idle Summers 3rd October, 2006 00:10:44   [#] 

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