The Newsletter, as we all know, is a thorough, in-depth recap of all happenings in the world of cricket in a particular week but today is a special day, and a special day calls for a special article.
Which is why we’ve decided to switch things up this week. Why stop at a weekly recap when you have the power to do a yearly recap? Sounds mad, but that is precisely what we’re going to be doing today. We’re going to start from January 1 and traverse through the key plot points of 2023, one by one.
Buckle up. This is going to be a wild ride!
January 2023: Gill’s breakthrough, WPL’s inception & more
> Shubman Gill did not waste any time in hitting the ground running, scoring three tons in January, including a double-ton against New Zealand in Hyderabad. In the same month, India went W W W W W W against New Zealand and Sri Lanka in ODIs and registered, in Thiruvananthapuram, the largest margin of victory in ODIs.
> New Zealand and Pakistan played out ‘this’ thriller in Karachi, where play was agonizingly called off due to bad light with Pakistan needing 15 more to win with one wicket in hand. There was this epic field set-up employed late on Day 4 by the Kiwis, if you recall
> Steve Smith scored a ton against South Africa in the New Year’s Test in SCG but, more pertinently, went BERSERK in the BBL, going 101, 125* & 66 in consecutive games.
> The first ever U-19 Women’s World Cup was held in South Africa, and it was India who emerged victorious, thrashing England in the final. It was a breakthrough competition for Titas Sadhu among others.
> Lastly and most significantly, it was in January 2023 that WPL became a reality. In the bidding process for teams, held in Mumbai, the BCCI managed to sell the franchises off for a record sum of INR 4669.99 crore 🤑 RCB, MI, DC & GT snapped up 4 of the 5 slots, with U.P Warriorz taking the other.
February 2023: BGT Madness, Australia win the Women’s T20WC & more
> The 2023 Border-Gavaskar Trophy kicked off in February and, anticlimactically enough, India absolutely mauled Australia in the first two Tests. At one point in the second Test in Delhi, the series was actually in the balance but that was when Australia went through one of the worst implosions in recent times to surrender the BGT to India.
> It was heartbreak for the Australian Men but the Australian Women reigned supreme YET AGAIN as they won the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup that was held in South Africa. But more than Australia, that particular T20WC was all about hosts South Africa, who heroically managed to make the final despite a controversial start to the tournament, thanks to the last-minute axing of incumbent skipper Marizanne Kapp.
> Months after quitting ODIs, Aaron Finch drew curtains on his T20I career as well, bringing to an end a fine international career.
> The first-ever WPL auction was held on February 13 and a total of 87 players were sold for a total of 59.5 crore. Smriti Mandhana (3.4 crore) became the most expensive buy, with Ashleigh Gardner (3.2 cr) and Nat Sciver (3.2 cr) being the other 3+ cr buys.
> The inaugural edition of the SA20 concluded in February, and it was won by the Aiden Markram-led Sunrisers Eastern Cape.
> Kraigg Brathwaite & Tagenarine Chanderpaul put on a 336-run stand for the first wicket against Zimbabwe in the first Test of the two-match series in Bulawayo. West Indies won that series 1-0 after a drawn first Test.
> February was also the month in which Harry Brook smashed a ridiculous 186 (176) on this green mamba you see below. Remember?
> But Brook aside, the aforementioned series ended 1-1, with New Zealand and England playing out one of the greatest Tests EVER in Wellington.
March 2023: MI win the inaugural WPL, Australia bounce back & more
> Mumbai Indians won the inaugural WPL after triumphing over Delhi Capitals in the final. But while MI tasted success, it was ‘same old, same old’ for RCB, who finished second to bottom. Either way, the inaugural WPL proved to be a huge success, in many ways exceeding expectations.
> Meanwhile, in the Border Gavaskar Trophy, Australia launched a solid comeback despite not being able to draw the series. They humiliated India on a raging turner in Indore before drawing the fourth Test on a flat pancake in Ahmedabad. The fourth Test saw Virat Kohli break his Test drought, notching up a red-ball ton after 3.5 years.
> It was also in March that South Africa scripted the highest ever chase in T20 history, chasing down 258 against West Indies in Centurion. The Proteas actually got home with SEVEN balls to spare.
> Jasprit Bumrah, meanwhile, underwent back surgery for a recurring back injury. At this point, many Indian fans were fearing the worst, expecting Bumrah not to be a part of the 50-over World Cup squad.
> Lahore Qalandars won the 2023 Pakistan Super League (PSL) after triumphing over Multan Sultans in an absolute thriller. LQ won the final by one run after posting 200 batting first.
> March, meanwhile, proved to be a month to forget for Suryakumar Yadav, who registered not one, not two, but THREE CONSECUTIVE GOLDEN DUCKS against Australia in the three-match ODI series. The ODI series happened in the wake of the Tests, and Australia triumphed over the Men in Blue 2-1.
> Former Scotland skipper Kyle Coetzer called it a day, bringing an end to two decades of representing his country on the international stage.
April 2023 and May 2023: IPL & more IPL
We’re just going to do a speed run and skip most of April and May because, well, let’s be honest, these two months are all about the IPL. Rarely does anything meaningful happen outside of the IPL. But anyway, here’s a brief recap of April and May:
> Chennai Super Kings won the IPL for a record-equalling fifth time after triumphing over Gujarat Titans in the final in Ahmedabad. The final proved to be an absolute humdinger: with 10 needed off 2 balls, Ravindra Jadeja went 6 & 4 to clinch it for the Super Kings in dramatic fashion.
But of course, plentyyyy happened over the course of 2 months in the IPL.
> International games were few and far between but Pakistan & New Zealand played out an extended white-ball tour (NZ had their second-string team) in which the five-match T20I series ended 2-2 before Pakistan thrashed New Zealand 4-1 in the ODIs. In the ODI series, Fakhar Zaman smashed a hat-trick of tons. Meanwhile, in the T20Is, Mark Chapman enjoyed a breakthrough series.
> Elsewhere, April / May were a rough couple of months for Ireland, who after losing 2-0 away in Sri Lanka (Tests), lost 2-0 at home to Bangladesh (ODIs).
June 2023: Australia win the WTC Final, Ashes DRAMA & more
> Australia might have fallen short in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but they hammered India in the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) to complete the sport, becoming the first team to win every single title. The victory was set-up by tons from Travis Head and Steve Smith, who pretty much batted India out of the final on the very first day.
> For Australia, though, there was actually a bigger fish to fry in June, and that was The Ashes. And they got off to the perfect start imaginable in enemy territory, going 2-0 up after the first two Tests. There was no paucity of drama in both the Tests.
While Edgbaston proved to be one of the greatest Tests of the century, Lord’s provided unmatched drama, thanks to Carey’s controversial stumping of Bairstow & then Ben Stokes’ stunning onslaught. It was cricket in its rawest, purest form.
> There was Ashes delight for Australia on the Women’s side too, as they won the one-off Test in Nottingham by 89 runs.
> The World Cup qualifiers kicked off in Zimbabwe and we witnessed some of the finest cricket of the year. Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka dominated the initial stages but the entire month belonged to the Netherlands, who secured a scarcely believable win over West Indies after Logan van Beek took 30 RUNS OFF JASON HOLDER’S SUPER OVER! The tie actually came on the back of Netherlands scoring 374/9 in response to West Indies’ 374/6.
> In June, Bangladesh registered the third-largest margin of victory in Test history by thumping Afghanistan by 546 runs (!!!). After scoring 382 & 425/4 in their two innings, the Tigers bowled out Afghanistan for 146 & 115 respectively.
> Two legendary figures for their respective countries, Anya Shrubsole and Nahida Khan announced their retirement from international cricket.
July 2023: England’s Ashes comeback, Netherlands’ WCQ heroics & more
> 2-0 up after two Tests, Australia thought they had the Ashes in the bag but England launched a sensational comeback to eventually draw the series. If not for the intervention of rain in the fourth Test at Old Trafford, Stokes’ men would certainly have won the series 3-2. The series came full circle as it ended in the same fashion it started, with an absolute epic. Only this time, it was England who triumphed in the end, winning by 49 runs.
> Mid-way through the final Test of the Ashes, Stuart Broad announced that he would retire from cricket after the series. Sure enough, Broad had a fairytale ending, taking the final wicket of the game to bowl England to a famous victory and help the hosts avoid defeat in the series.
> Equally heroically, Netherlands sealed their World Cup qualification by beating Scotland in a stupendous encounter. They needed to chase 278 in 44 overs and they got there with 7 balls to spare. The Dutch were single-handedly dragged over the line by Bas de Leede, who took 5/52 with the ball before scoring a 92-ball 123 with the bat, in what was arguably the single greatest all-round performance in 50-over cricket history.
> It was Sri Lanka who won the CWC qualifiers, though, thanks to sensational showings from their lead spinners Wanindu Hasaranga & Maheesh Theekshana.
> Australia Women, meanwhile, retained the urn once again, despite an inspired comeback from the England side, who won both the ODIs and T20Is.
> The Indian men, after a break, resumed cricket with a tour of West Indies and they won the two-Test series 1-0 after rain interrupted the second Test in Trinidad. It proved to be a nice introduction to international cricket for Yashasvi Jaiswal, who struck a 171 on debut.
> The Indian Women, meanwhile, had a challenging tour to Bangladesh, where they won the T20Is 2-1 and tied the ODI series (1-1). But more than the actual series itself, what garnered attention was the actions of Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who lost her temper on the field following a few debatable umpiring decisions. Harmanpreet eventually got suspended by the ICC for her conduct.
> Also in July, Pakistan played the ‘Pakistan way’ and won away in Sri Lanka 2-0, with the two-Test series witnessing them score at an unusually high rate.
> And lest we forget, July was also the month in which the whole Tamim Iqbal drama unfolded, where he retired and then un-retired immediately after intervention from Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina.
> Andrew Balbirnie, meanwhile, stepped down as Ireland skipper after the side’s horrifying showing in the World Cup qualifiers, where they failed to make it out of the group.
August 2023: UAE secure historic win over NZ, Prithvi Shaw madness & more
> Not a lot happened in August, but UAE did secure a historic victory over New Zealand in Dubai, beating a full-member for the first time in their history. They lost the three-match series 2-1, but sent a huge message with their statement victory in the second game.
> Pakistan whitewashed Afghanistan 3-0 in Sri Lanka, but the series was closer than what the scoreline suggests. In the second game in Hambantota, Pakistan chased down 301 despite being 272/8 at one stage.
> August saw Jasprit Bumrah return to action for the first time in nearly a year, away in Ireland. The series was rain-affected but Bumrah impressed in the few overs he bowled. He also captained India to a 2-0 series win.
> In August, Alex Hales announced his retirement from international cricket, making it clear that he preferred to end his career in franchise cricket. Hales was a part of England’s T20WC winning squad in 2022.
> Prithvi Shaw, meanwhile lit up the Royal London One Day Cup, smashing 244 against Somerset off just 153 balls. Shaw then followed it up with an unbeaten 125 against Durham in the very next game. However, he then suffered an unfortunate season-ending knee injury that ruled him out for the rest of the year.
> In a very key development (at that point, at least), Ben Stokes did a u-turn and un-retired from ODI cricket.
> On the other hand, Wanindu Hasaranga quit Test cricket.
> The Southern Brave Women won the Women’s Hundred; Oval Invincibles won the Men’s Hundred. B-Love Kandy won LPL 2023.
September 2023: India dominate Asia Cup; AUS vs SA insanity & more
> A month ahead of the World Cup, India showed why they are favorites for the Mega Event by breezing through the Asia Cup. After thrashing Pakistan in Super Fours, they embarrassed Sri Lanka in the final, bowling them out for 50 before knocking the target down in 6.1 overs.
But though Sri Lanka lost, young Dunith Wellalage had a breakthrough tournament. For India, while Bumrah & Siraj were on point, KL Rahul enjoyed the perfect comeback tournament.
> Australia & South Africa, on the other hand, played out a stupendous ODI series, which ended 3-2 in the Proteas’ favor despite them being 2-0 down at one point. In the fourth ODI in Centurion, South Africa hammered 220 runs off the last 16 overs of the innings to post 416 on the board. Heinrich Klaasen (174 off 83) ripped apart Zampa, who in that game registered the (then) joint most expensive figures in ODI history (10-0-113-0).
> Meanwhile, England dominated New Zealand 3-1 in an ODI series. This series marked the return of Stokes to the format and he smashed England’s highest ever ODI score, a 124-ball 182 coming in at 13/2.
> September witnessed a very tragic event as well, with former Zimbabwe skipper Heath Streak passing away. Streak passed away at the age of 49, losing his life to cancer.
> Quinton de Kock announced that he would be retiring from ODIs post the 50-over World Cup.
> Barbados Women won the Women’s CPL 2023 after falling short in the 2022 edition, beating Guyana Women in the final.
> Sri Lanka women scripted a historic away in England in the T20Is (2-1), but lost the subsequent ODI series. The tour witnessed the rise of young left-armer England seamer Mahika Gaur.
> The Men’s Asian Games kicked off in September in stunning fashion, with Nepal, in the curtain-raiser, becoming the first Men’s team to cross 300 in a T20. In the same encounter, Dipendra Singh Airee smashed the fastest fifty in T20 history, off just 9 balls.
> The Women’s Asian Games, meanwhile, was won by India, who clinched gold after beating Sri Lanka in the final. Bangladesh won Bronze after beating Pakistan in the third-place playoff encounter.
> Guyana Amazon Warriors won the CPL for the first time in their history after triumphing over Trinbago Knight Riders in the final. The star of the tournament for GAW was young Pakistan opener Saim Ayub, who finished the competition with 478 runs @ 43.45 avg and 142.26 SR.
> In the same month, Ireland’s Tim Murtagh announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.
October and November: Australia win the World Cup (yet again)
We’d love to recap the World Cup but unfortunately, there’s no time and space, so we’re gonna do yet another speedrun here. Australia won the 50-over World Cup against the odds, downing India in Ahmedabad in an encounter that was supposed to be a special one for the hosts. In Ian Smith’s words, ecstasy for Australia, agony for India.
There was other cricket too, outside the World Cup, across October and November
> Indian Men clinched Gold in the Men’s Asian Games. Like the Women’s games, Bangladesh grabbed Bronze here too. Afghanistan won the silver medal.
> West Indies Women and Australia Women locked horns in an entertaining tour in which Hayley Matthews won the Player of the Match award in 3 of the 5 completed matches.
> Adelaide Strikers Women won the Women’s Big Bash League after beating Brisbane Heat Women in the final.
> Meg Lanning announced her retirement from international cricket, at just the age of 31. Australia eventually named Alyssa Healy as Lanning’s successor.
> Uganda created history by qualifying for the 2024 T20 World Cup. They qualified alongside Namibia, who finished the Africa Region Qualifier 2023 unbeaten. Zimbabwe, crushingly, missed out on qualification.
> India beat Australia 4-1 in a pretty inconsequential bilateral T20I series.
> Sri Lanka made the final of the Asia Cup and then upset England in the World Cup, but on November 10th, they got banned by the ICC due to government interference. The ICC Board determined that Sri Lanka Cricket is in serious breach of its obligations as a Member, in particular, the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government interference in the governance, regulation and/or administration of cricket in Sri Lanka.
> November also witnessed IPL 2024 trades and retentions. And in the biggest shock of the year, Hardik Pandya got traded back to Mumbai Indians. Meanwhile, Cameron Green got traded to RCB to facilitate the Hardik Pandya trade. The Titans named Gill as Pandya’s successor.
December 2023: Beginning of a new cycle, IPL / WPL auctions & more
After a quiet couple of weeks late in November, Cricket resumed in full flow in December
> England and West Indies lit up the world with a fascinating T20 series which ended 3-2 in West Indies’ favour. But though the hosts won, the show was stolen by Phil Salt, who smashed consecutive tons in the series.
> After playing out an underwhelming T20I series and a middling ODI series, South Africa and India clashed on Boxing Day in red-ball cricket and played out a high-octane game that went in the hosts’ favour. South Africa ended up humiliating India, handing just their second ever innings defeat in the country.
In the lead-up to the series, Dean Elgar announced that he would be retiring from international cricket after the series. And it was Elgar who powered South Africa to victory, smashing his second-highest Test score in his second-last international match.
> The Indian Men got humiliated in whites, but it was a sweet return to red-ball cricket for the Indian Women, who hammered both England and Australia in the space of a week. The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side registered two thumping wins, with the victory against England being the largest margin of victory in Women’s Test history.
> The IPL and WPL auctions were held in December and what unfolded was MADNESS! Particularly on the Men’s side, where Cummins and Starc got purchased for a combined 45 CRORE! That’s right, Mitch Starc hit a 24.75 crore jackpot in the single-most ridiculous moment in the history of IPL auctions.
> Sticking to the IPL, Mumbai Indians announced that Hardik Pandya will skipper the side going forward, bringing an end to Rohit Sharma’s legendary tenure that saw MI win 5 IPL titles. The announcement, though, did not go too well with the fans.
> Elsewhere, New Zealand registered their first ever ODI win in New Zealand, on the back of a 169 smashed by Soumya Sarkar.
> Meanwhile, the ACB have banned the trio of Mujeeb, Naveen & Farooqi from participating in Franchise Cricket, for 2 years, for declining a contract extension.
We’re nearing the end of this looooongggg recap, and it’s only fitting that we end it with Australia, who ended up ruling the calendar year 2023.
The Kangaroos started off their home season against Pakistan, and it was a special couple of Tests. In Perth, David Warner started off his farewell series in Tests with a swashbuckling ton. Later in the same game, Nathan Lyon breached the 500-wicket mark to edge closer to Glenn McGrath.
Things got a bit tight in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, but skipper Pat Cummins bagged a 10-wicket haul to seal the match and the series for his side.
It was a poetic end to the year not just for Australia but for cricket itself: Cummins, the best cricketer of 2023, leading Australia, the best team of 2023, to victory in a tight contest to bring the curtains down on a remarkable year of cricket.
All this side, 2023 witnessed several records getting shattered. You can check out the complete list of all the records broken in 2023 in this article