The pundits go through each of their favourite moments of what has been quite an incredible summer
There has never been a summer quite like this one!
The outbreak of coronavirus at the start of the year means it has been truly unique. Bio-secure bubbles and no crowds may have given it a completely different feeling at times but the one thing that has not suffered is the quality of the cricket.
Test series against West Indies and Pakistan, ODIs with Ireland and Australia and T20Is against Pakistan and Australia – and each and every series had was filled with drama.
At the end of such a memorable summer, Sky Sports Cricket pundits David Lloyd, Nasser Hussain, Shane Warne, Michael Atherton and Rob Key pick their favourite moments…
Black Lives Matter
A special moment was Black Lives Matter, so eloquently expressed by Ebony Rainford-Brent and Michael Holding. That was powerful, and not forgotten.
England and the West Indies have taken the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the first Test
Jimmy Anderson’s 600th Test wicket
For me, England’s greatest ever bowler, one of our own, someone who was brought up in these parts, Burnley Cricket Club, Lancashire County Cricket Club. Seventeen years of bowling fast for England, 17 years of strapping on the boots and going again, 17 years of your skipper telling you ‘can you go with that second new ball at half past five on day two?’, 17 years of the pain of being a fast bowler.
Anderson became the first fast bowler to take 600 Test wickets when he dismissed Pakistan’s Azhar Ali at The Ageas Bowl
I thought it was fitting, I know he said 599 is not a bad number but I think with everything that has gone on this summer, on the last day of the last Test – and if you remember we waited for about five hours with the covers on – and he just went out there, it just ended the Test series and the Test summer perfectly. He could do it in Sri Lanka but it was nice for one of our own to do it at home.
The spirit of the games
I think some of it is down to franchise cricket but people have understood that it is about going hard, it is about going tough but it is also about appreciating each other. I’m sure Rob Key will go with Zak Crawley’s 267 but I love the way every single one of the Pakistan players – and they were exhausted that day – went to Zak and all the support staff, to a man, stood to Zak Crawley. It was a great moment for Crawley but I think it just summed up the spirit in which the cricket has been played.
Buttler and Woakes lead England to dramatic win over Pakistan
When you look back at the Test matches, they were so good. I thought the spirit was great but the skill that was on display – when you go back to that Pakistan Test match, England were in all sorts of trouble when Jos Buttler walked to the crease, with Chris Woakes, and they put on one of the most remarkable partnerships.
Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler rallied England from 117-5 as the hosts pulled off a famous win over Pakistan on day four of the first Test
It was just such a shame with all these great moments that there wasn’t a crowd to share them because this was some special cricket, this was special batting and a special partnership. I’ve always said it, it’s not your averages, it is how you play the game and when your team needs you, what can you do? In this game, Jos Buttler produced and Chris Woakes produced. No one gave England a chance and the way they went about it against pace and spin on a wearing pitch, I thought was outstanding.
Stokes forgets social distancing at the toss!
What made me giggle was after all these meetings and ‘are we going to be able to play any cricket?’ The first toss, Ben Stokes in his first match as captain, West Indies have arrived, toss the coin and what does he do? He goes to shake his hand! I just found that very, very funny.
Stuart Broad’s 500th Test wicket
It was a very difficult start to the summer for Stuart Broad. Nasser went for Jimmy Anderson’s 600th wicket but I’m going to go for Stuart Broad’s 500th. After being left out, he showed the champion cricketer that he is by bouncing back in very dramatic fashion, he showed the selectors what he is made of.
Stuart Broad became the second Englishman and seventh bowler overall to take 500 Test wickets when he trapped West Indies’ Kraigg Brathwaite lbw
He is sometimes in Jimmy Anderson’s shadow but that was a moment for him to really dominate the stage, he’s been a wonderful competitor and performer for England over many, many years. I thought that was a fabulous moment – with his dad in the crowd! There weren’t many people there but his dad was there to appreciate the moment.
Kids Coaching Clinics
I’ve doing those coaching clinics because what it is attempting to do is bring the top end of the game and the bottom end of the game together, to bring elite cricketers and junior players, who are playing at a much lower standard, together. We’ve had a variety of guests that have done it and I thought Mark Wood, when he joined us from the Player Zone at the Ageas Bowl, his insight and humour was excellent.
Zak Crawley’s brilliant double hundred
I’ve gone for Zak Crawley. He’s been in and out of the side, he’s opened, he’s batted four and then he got to No 3. He hadn’t played a lot of cricket and I know him pretty well but when he goes out to bat, I’m so nervous, you just want him to get to 10.
It was a day of domination for England in the third Test against Pakistan as Zak Crawley scored 267
The fact he got a hundred and then went on to 267, that is one of my favourite days I’ve watched on a cricket field ever. He went past my highest score and all the Pakistan players must have thought, ‘what on earth are they clapping for that he’s got past 221? Who the hell is this Rob Key?’
Watch England Women’s five-match T20I series against West Indies Women live on Sky Sports Cricket. The first match takes place on Monday, September 21.