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County Cricket Awards 2022: The Spin’s final word on the season | County Championship

OWe are close to the finish line but there is still time for one last stumble in the mud. For once, however, the Spin is ahead, laden with gongs to hand out at the best, worst and most memorable events of the Championship’s 2022 season.

This is a league which may – depending on how the counties vote on the Strauss report, probably before the matches are released in November, possibly in the spring of 2048 – be in its final incarnation of two divisions with promotion and relegation. A lot then, to celebrate. Without further ado: please join your hands to…

The Micky Stewart Team of the Season Award Surrey, a cut above the rest. Well led by Rory Burns, 22 concentrated players, including 10 locals, who took a 16-point lead in September and did not slip. More tellingly, Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes were desperate to return and play for their club in the penultimate game of the year and help seal the title. A class act.

The Kwasi Kwarteng Award for Inept Ads The ECB, for releasing the High Performance Review final results on the same day Surrey won the Championship. This ensured that players were quizzed on their thoughts on Strauss’s fine print straight after taking a victory lap of the Oval, and pushed to the side of their own story.

The Joe Root Award for Outstanding Excellence with the Bat Harry Brook, head and shoulders above the other young English contenders, who dominated the first part of the season before being called up by England. His absence in September proved a glaring hole in Yorkshire’s batting line-up as they battled to avoid relegation.

The price are we still there The Cricket Disciplinary Committee’s investigation into the Azeem Rafiq saga in Yorkshire is dragging on. Interviews are due to take place this fall with a final report expected before Christmas. Don’t hold your breath.

The canary warning in the coal mine July 19, 2022, the hottest day on record in the UK, when temperatures around the pitch reached 40C. Most spectators stayed home with the curtains drawn, but county cricketers n had nowhere to hide. Hampshire and Gloucestershire and Lancashire and Northants have accepted the ECB’s offer to reduce playing time to 90 minutes per session with additional drinks breaks. This is a huge issue for cricket to consider: as the experts say, this is the coldest summer of the rest of your life.

The Steve Waugh Award for Brotherly Love Jamie Overton from Surrey, who sent a bouncer to his brother Craig who threw him onto the Taunton turf. As others gathered, Jamie frowned and strutted his way. Shortly after, a beaming Craig handed Jamie his first test cap.

Moment of Madness reward for dropping the ball Hampshire, whose chances of winning their first championship since 1973 disappeared in the blink of an eye after being knocked out for 57 at home to the most unlikely opponents, Kent.

The Ciderabad Award for Interesting Pitch Chelmsford in the penultimate innings of the season where 26 wickets fell on day one, 14 the following day as Essex failed to chase 98 and it all ended just after lunch of the second afternoon. At the gnashing of teeth in Taunton, and despite the pitch being marked as poor and reports of unexpected holes, no points were deducted as it could not be proven that Essex had done so on purpose.

The Jordan Clark Treble of the Season Award There were three in 2022: Gloucestershire’s Tom Price v Kent, Hampshire’s Kyle Abbot v Gloucestershire, but the prize goes to 21-year-old George Balderson of Lancashire, who pulled the rug under Essex in the mad dash final in Chelmsford.

Cricket’s Diplomacy Award for Image of the Season Mohammad Rizwan and Cheteshwar Pujara bat together for Sussex – happy to see after India and Pakistan have played no bilateral cricket since 2012-13.

Cheteshwar Pujara (left) and Mohammad Rizwan beat together for Sussex in Hove in April
Cheteshwar Pujara (left) and Mohammad Rizwan beat together for Sussex at Hove in April. Photography: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The New Coke Award for Worst Product Launch The 2022 Dukes Ball, which for reasons still unclear – is hiding? The dye ? – behaved erratically, often not lasting 80 overs. At the Riverside there were five unscheduled ball changes in one day and the sight of disgruntled players watching the ref squeeze a ball into his stirrups became one of the sights of the season.

The Ben Stokes Award for making an entry Ben Stokes, who celebrated his first game for Durham as England captain by pinning an 88-ball 161 against Worcestershire. Later that night, Stokes sent a message of sympathy to 18-year-old left-arm spinner Josh Baker, whom he had beaten for five sixes in a single.

The John Emburey and Graham Gooch Award for bromance Hassan Ali and Jimmy Anderson. Hasan won 25 wickets in five games for Lancashire at the start of the season and referred to “Jimmy-bhai” as the reason for coming to Manchester and living at the Hilton Hotel in Old Trafford with his wife and his little girl. Anderson called Hasan an ‘absolute legend’ and, as he presented his Lancashire cap to him outside the pavilion, he said: ‘I know you were expecting a little more weed – sorry, maybe next time.”

The Rahul Dravid Prize for a Classy Goodbye Kent, who dubbed September 27 Stevo Day to mark the retirement of legendary Darren Stevens, retired his No. 3 jersey and handed the old boy a lunchtime lap of honor.

The Muttiah Muralitharan Award for Best Signing Abroad Almost impossible to call after the first part of the season was brightened by an influx of top players from Pakistan, unable to play in the IPL, with bowlers as brilliant as Shaheen Shah Afridi taking their turn to probe the Dukes ball. Left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar has worked hard for struggling Gloucestershire, but the prize is shared between Cheteshwar Pujara in Sussex and Shan Masood in Derbyshire – who have both completed over 1,000 runs and become leading figures in their counties .

The showcase price for the winter tour Shared between Keaton Jennings and Sam Cook. Jennings, long sidelined by England, is the top running scorer and, until Jamie Overton snared him at 199lbs, was close to joining Frank Watson as the only player in Championship history to mark a triple and two double centuries in one summer. . Essex’s reliable little boss Sam Cook has moved ever closer to English honors while playing for the England Lions against South Africa. His Essex captain Tom Westley called him the natural successor to Jimmy Anderson. Durham’s Matthew Potts, who caught England’s eye this summer, is the role model.

Sam Cook of Essex in full swing against Northamptonshire at the County Ground.
Sam Cook of Essex in full swing against Northamptonshire at the County Ground. Photography: Andy Kearns/Getty Images

The Ashes Recovery Price He cut a sorry figure in Australia, a veritable walking wicket after scoring just 28 runs in his last six Ashes innings, but Haseeb Hameed has quietly enjoyed a golden season. He increased his scoring rate, making four centuries on his way to scoring over 1,000 runs, and helped lead Nottinghamshire back to Division One.

The Sterling Award for a Precipitous Decline Last year’s champions Warwickshire, who have had a rotten summer, plagued by injuries and a loss of form and – with two days to go – look very likely to join Gloucestershire in Division Two for 2023 They would follow in the footsteps of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Lancashire and Middlesex – all winners relegated the following year.

This is an excerpt from the Guardian’s weekly cricket email, The Spin. To subscribe, simply visit this page and follow the instructions.

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