Michael Clarke, captain of Australia: 11 matches, 18 innings, 1,595 runs – Most Test runs in 2012, calendar year. Average: 106.33. Hundreds: Five.
Alastair Cook, captain of England: 15 matches, 29 innings, 1,249 runs – 2nd Most Test runs in 2012, calendar year. Average: 48.03. Hundreds: Six.
If that does not whet your appetite for the 2013 Ashes, then nothing will. Two captains at the absolute height of their powers.
Though, of course, truthfully, Cook was not captain for the bulk of the year. However, in just four matches as captain, he scored 562 of his 1,249 runs and averaged a whopping 80.28 with three centuries. The armband suits him.
He suits England.
The first Test of the five Test series starts on 10 July at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.
And that is just one amazing series to look forward to next year.
There is also South Africa v Pakistan, India v Australia, and the second incarnation of the Ashes, this time in Australia, in November.
There will be 94 Test matches next year. The four series mentioned above account for 17 of them.
Well, India will go to South Africa in the fall of next year for a few, Pakistan will “host” South Africa for a few more, and the resurgent West Indies will host Pakistan over the summer for a couple.
The rest of the matches feature non-Test-hardened sides like Sri Lanka, and New Zealand (sorry to all my Kiwi friends), and Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh – and after watching Australia toy with Sri Lanka, I really cannot say I am dying to watch the Lankans or the rest play Test cricket again any time soon.
So the bulk of the fun, for Test fanatics, will be the four series mentioned above: The Ashes in England, the Ashes in Australia, South Africa v Pakistan, in South Africa*, and Australia in India.
17 matches to savor.
My 2012 round up and 2013 resolution posts should go up this weekend.
*Matches in the UAE are not available here in the States, so I did not include these reverse fixtures