2012: A titanic year on the world's cricket fields

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Kevin Pietersen, Ricky Ponting, the Sydney Sixers, Chris Gayle and Michael Clarke.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Kevin Pietersen, Ricky Ponting, the Sydney Sixers, Chris Gayle and Michael Clarke. Getty Images

RETIREMENT, runs and rows - it all happened in a titanic year on the world's cricket fields.

A legend retires

RICKY Ponting had some immense battles against South Africa over the years, but even the Proteas stood in awe of his incredible career when he walked out for his final Test innings at the WACA in December.

Ponting, who amassed 13,378 runs at an average of 51.85 from 168 Tests, was given a guard of honour by the South African team.

While the batting legend could survive only 41 minutes for eight runs, his career was something to treasure.

The gritty Tasmanian, who possessed one of the best pull shots in the game's history, left the sport after captaining Australia to two World Cup victories, although he also had the dubious record of leading the country to two Ashes losses (in 2005 and 2009).

Ponting made 41 hundreds in Testsand 30 in one-day internationals.

Clarke's Bradmanesque 2012

IT WAS something not even Don Bradman could achieve.

Michael Clarke's breathtaking 2012 included four double centuries, making him the first man in the history of Test cricket to achieve the feat.

Clarke recorded scores of 329 not out and 210 against India last summer, and 259 not out and 230 against South Africa this summer, to cement himself as a true superstar of the game.

The Australian captain's sublime year has put him second highest in the world rankings, behind evergreen West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Clarke could possibly have passed Matthew Hayden's Australian record of 380 and West Indian Brian Lara's 400 not out during his incredible 329 against India, but unselfishly declared to allow his side to go on and win the second Test.

Michael Clarke of Australia hugs team mate Michael Hussey at the close of play during day two of the Second Test Match between Australia and India.
Michael Clarke of Australia hugs team mate Michael Hussey at the close of play during day two of the Second Test Match between Australia and India. Getty Images

Sixers crowned the world's best

WINNING the inaugural Big Bash League last summer was not enough for this star-studded Sixers side.

The Sydney outfit went on to be crowned world champions in October, belting the Highveld Lions by 10 wickets in the final of the Champions League tournament in South Africa.

It was the team's 12th straight victory, with English import Michael Lumb blasting an unbeaten 82 including eight boundaries and five sixes.

The victory came on the back of a seven-wicket win against the Perth Scorchers in last summer's BBL final at the WACA.

Pietersen's spat with the ECB

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen AAP

KEVIN Pietersen's stoush with the England Cricket Board appeared long gone after he scored 186 in game two of the recently completed series against India, which the Poms won 2-1.

Pietersen rated his innings in Mumbai as his best, but it came after a bitter chain of events that led to his retirement from the England one-day and Twenty20 teams after he was criticised by Sky Sports commentator Nick Knight.

Pietersen then had a change of heart, but went on to admit he had inexcusably sent provocative text messages to members of the South African Test cricket team about his captain Andrew Strauss, who subsequently retired but said he had made the decision prior to the Pietersen issue.

The divisive batsman was dumped as a result, but "re-integrated" by the ECB for the series against India.

Windies dance to the Twenty20 crown

THE West Indies won their first title since the 50-over World Cup triumph in 1979, at Sri Lanka's World Twenty20 championship in October.

And they were so thrilled about it, they broke into a team Gangnam Style dance following the 36-run win over the host nation.

The Windies scored a modest 6-137 on a spinning wicket at Colombo's Premadasa Stadium, helped greatly by Marlon Samuels's 78 off 56 balls. But Sri Lanka could score only 101 in reply in front of a silenced packed house, with offspinner Sunil Narine taking 3-9 from 3.4 overs.

Australia came into the tournament ranked 10th in the world, below first-round opponent Ireland, but performed well to make the semi-finals.

Topics:  cricket editors picks kevin pietersen michael clarke ricky ponting

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