The King Cricket review of 2006

We were all set to do a big retrospective thing today. We went back and read all the posts over the last year (at least the headlines anyway). We even made notes. Then we looked at our notes and it looked like some kind of BBC-type article. We don't do articles like that as well as the BBC does. They don't get distracted by blind prejudice or petty vendettas or anything like that.

So instead we just sat still for a minute and tried to think if anything stood out from the cricketing year. Then we wrote down what we'd thought of on a piece of paper. Then we typed up what was on the piece of paper.

Murali Week

Bloody hell. Will you look at the size of that heading. We should probably have just put it in bold, but we didn't just learn loads of technical internet stuff for no reason. We're about as technically-minded as a slow-witted hamster suffering from dementia, so if we know something, we use it.

The first thing that we remembered happening during 2006 was that we declared that the second week in March should eternally be known as 'Murali Week'. The reasons for this are that this year, during that week, our man Muttiah Muralitharan passed one or two landmarks.

They were as follows: 1,000 international wickets. At the time of writing he was the only person to have achieved this. He also played in his 100th Test during this period. He took his 600th Test wicket and his 50th Test five wicket haul. His FIFTIETH. No-one else is within a country mile of that. Take our word for it.

Paul Collingwood: More than 'a bit of ginger'

That heading's even longer. There's no hiding from a heading like that.

Also during Murali week, elsewhere in the world, Paul Collingwood hit his first Test century. This probably wasn't a big deal for most people. But we were massively impressed. It was a blinding hundred.

England were playing India and after various injuries and personal problems for others, Paul Collingwood was finally being given a chance for England. Very few people were particularly interested. Having batted admirably in Pakistan prior to this series, Collingwood went one better in the first Test against India.

To further put this innings into context, England's injury-depleted squad had fallen from their Ashes high by getting soundly beaten in Pakistan and had been looking shaky against spin in India, as always. Overnight, they were 246-7 and Paul Collingwood was 53 not out with Hoggard, Harmison and Panesar to aid him.

The tail wagged. England make 393 and Paul Collingwood 134 not out. Most impressively, he managed to coax a 66 run last wicket partnership out of Monty Panesar, who had been depicted as some sort of poor-man's Phil Tufnell up until that point.

At a stroke, England could play spin and had a chance in the series. Paul Collingwood was to be taken seriously and respected and Monty Panesar was deemed 'not terrible' with the bat.

Rob Key lighting up the world like ten blazing suns becoming supernovae

As with any other year, the undisputed highlight of 2006 was Rob Key lighting up the world like ten blazing suns becoming supernovae. This year, it was a hundred for England A against Pakistan that did the trick.

We've only used that picture on the right because we've never used it before. In truth, it's not a particularly good one. He actually looks quite trim, for one thing.

If you've more spare time than you know what to do with, why not send us a nice picture of Rob Key with a halo or on a throne or with a backdrop of fire or something. We can assure you that we'll be happy with what you produce. Even if it's shit.

Paul Collingwood's double hundred against Australia

There's nothing to add to that. It was a rare high-point on an Ashes graph of pleasure that more resembled one of those Japanese dining tables. You know: Low and flat.

Unsung Paul Collingwood had his day on the biggest stage. He did what so few English batsmen are capable of and went on to a BIG hundred. Aussie bowlers toiled. We cheered. It was magic.

Then England made a complete balls of the whole thing by throwing the match away. In the second innings Paul Collingwood was left on 22 not out, batting at four no less. That's exactly the kind of thing that's rendered Paul Collingwood's double hundred so priceless. It stands a mile above everything else, like King Kong's dad frowning at some sea-monkeys.

Happy New Year

There you go. Sorry that the article's so massive, but it is a whole year, you know. Normally we split these things up into chunks, but we wanted to keep it all together today in the spirit of summarising (yes, there is such a spirit). There was other stuff too, but it didn't always get defined by a moment. Either that or it's been done to death and we're sick of it.

However, there should be a special mention for the day when we were at Old Trafford when Steve Harmison, but more importantly, Monty Panesar, bowled England to victory against Pakistan. That was really something and Monty Panesar is really the big thing this year, we guess. We just didn't have anything funny to say about him on this occasion, as you'll be able to tell as you near the end of this paragraph.

Maybe we'll do some predictions for the coming year in a few days. Who knows? More likely we'll forget or our mind will feel lumpen and unproductive like it usually does.

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