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  • New South Wales, who had probably been the best team in the competition up to that point (and who may yet win the thing) were made to look foolish by Kieron Pollard when they should have cruised to victory. Could this be an Australian side choking?

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In honour of Umar Gul’s remarkable 5-6 yesterday (youtube here), here are four more of the best-ever T20I bowling performances:

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It’s more than a year now since I named my 11 to watch, so it’s probably time to weigh up (briefly) who’s lived up to their potential and who hasn’t:

Nasir Jamshed is still under 20, but had little chance to impress this year given Pakistan’s effective exile from international cricket; Virat Kohli made some waves, and is still well-placed for a call-up to the Indian Test side after some good ODI performances and a strong showing in domestic cricket; Tamim Iqbal has shown some promise, but Bangladesh’s continued position at the bottom of the cricketing pile has frustrated his ability to shine; Fawad Alam is probably the one that got away; Steve Davies has finally been called up to the England side, and looked good for a while when he got his chance; Adil Rashid has also won some recognition from the ECB, and will probably play Test cricket in the next year or two; Beau Casson has sunk from the international picture seemingly without trace; Sulieman Benn gave England a torrid time in the Tests and looks set to be a part of the Windies side for some time to come; Tim Southee hasn’t quite lived up to the early hype but still shows promise; Ishant Sharma continues to scare batsmen (especially Ricky Ponting) the world over; Mitchell Johnson continues to do the same to everyone that isn’t Australian.

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So, that was 2008, then. Pretty exciting, by all accounts. As for 2009, there’s quite a bit to look forward to:

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The ICC handed out their awards today, in a ceremony a bit like the Oscars, but with fewer tears and less photogenic winners:

  • Ryan ten Doeschate won Associate Player of the Year, which was nice for him as the Impressive Name Award was not included this year (and he probably would have lost out to Vernon Philander on that front anyway).
  • There were other awards, about which I am less motivated to write, which you can see here.

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More cult figures, this time from A Land Down Under:

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Another batch of cult heroes, this time of the umpiring variety:

  • Billy Bowden is also well known for his occasionally eccentric behaviour on the pitch, with his unique signals, especially the infamous crooked finger. The fact that a flamboyant character such as Bowden can still officiate at the highest level brings a smile to the face on a regular basis.

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