The last 12 months have seen some massive cricket news stories. Here are 20 of the biggest!
1) Australian Test team re-emergence
Under new skipper Michael Clarke, Australia recovered from the heartache of consecutive Ashes defeats and a tough away series loss to India in 2010/11 to be one of the powerhouse Test teams of 2011/12.
The Aussies won nine of 13 Tests and very nearly pinched the No.1 ranking.
They drew with New Zealand 1-1, thrashed India 4-0, swept the West Indies 2-0 in the Caribbean, and lost a tight series this summer against world number South Africa 0-1, before securing at least a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka with one Test still to play.
2) The emergence of new Test keeper Matthew Wade - APRIL
Wade truly made his mark in the national team in 2012, the right-hander took his chances, scoring runs and keeping tidily in Twenty20 internationals and ODIs.
His big break came when Brad Haddin was forced to miss the Test series in the West Indies for family reasons.
Wade grabbed his chance, scoring 106 in the third Test and dominating the bowling on a pitch where most of the other batsmen struggled to score quickly.
He realised his dream of donning the Baggy Green on Australian soil in November in the summer-opening Test against South Africa.
3) Ch 9's Howzat! - AUGUST
The most-anticipated drama of the year, 'Howzat! Kerry Packer's War', took Australian television by storm.
The first episode enjoyed the best start to a two-part mini series ever, attracting 2.097 million Aussies, and the follow up averaged 2.091 million viewers across the five capital cities. Regional areas added another 840,000 viewers.
The two-part series told the extraordinary story of how legendary media mogul Kerry Packer, played by Lachy Hulme, fought a cricket war by secretly signing up 50 of the world's greatest players to form a breakaway tournament.
Packer took on the Australian Cricket Board and the Marylebone Cricket Club and changed the cricket world forever by creating World Series Cricket.
4) Cricket Australia's new governance structure, independent Board, new signed MOU and financial model- SEPTEMBER
Cricket Australia underwent the biggest administrative shake-up in its 107-year history with the new Board including three independent directors and one director per state. Jacquie Hey became CA’s first female board member.
The governing body also reported a record operating result of AU$45.6 million, which was significantly boosted by record revenue from overseas television rights, especially those sold to the Indian Broadcast market.
5) Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars won the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka - OCTOBER
It had everybody chewing their finger nails and on the edge of their seats, but Australia's Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars celebrated victory over the old enemy, England, to claim back-to-back World Twenty20 crowns in early October.
Victorian Jess Cameron starred with the bat, lifting her team to an intimidating total of 142. The English fancied a chase and sent Australia in, but fell agonisingly short.
The Aussie men weren't disgraced in Sri Lanka, exiting in the semi-finals with a loss to eventual champions West Indies, and Shane Watson was named player of the tournament.
6) Cricket officially named #1 participation sport in Australia with 880,000 participants - OCTOBER
A huge leap in the number of women and girls picking up a bat and ball in 2011-2012 was the catalyst for a 3.54 percent increase in the number of people playing cricket in Australia.
Cricket becomes the most played sport in the country ahead of AFL, soccer and netball.
7) Champions League Twenty20 and Vodafone Test preparations - OCTOBER
Sydney Sixers star Shane Watson was in scintillating form at the Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa, but was called home before the finals to prepare for Australia's all-important Vodafone Test series against South Africa.
Meanwhile back in Australia red ball specialists play a string of Bupa Sheffield Shield games in October to build their case for selection, as Australia prepared to attempt to dislodge South Africa from the number one Test ranking slot.
8) Sixers winning CLT20 in South Africa - OCTOBER
Champions of the first KFC T20 Big Bash League, the Sydney Sixers enjoyed a flawless Champions League T20 tournament in South Africa during October.
The men in pink cruised through the group stages before narrowly winning their semi-final with a two-wicket victory over local team Nashua Titans.
The Sixers then smashed Highveld Lions by 10 wickets to win the final in Johannesburg. Led by some inspired captaincy from Brad Haddin and a brilliant effort with the ball, the Sixers totally dominated the game to limit the Lions to 121 and easily chase down that total with 45 balls remaining.
9) Shane Watson's injury woes - NOVEMBER
The gifted all-rounder was frustrated by a string of injuries this year which saw him miss the whole of the 2011-12 Test summer with hamstring and calf problems, and the first two Tests against South Africa this summer.
The 31-year-old will now miss the Sydney Test against Sri Lanka after injuring his calf while bowling against Sri Lanka in the Vodafone Boxing Day Test.
10) Australian team performance boss Pat Howard rolls out Argus recommendations - DECEMBER
The use of sports science in the process of team selection came under severe criticism from some quarters of the cricket community this year.
Peter Siddle’s omission from the team that took on Sri Lanka in the third Vodafone Test in Perth and Mitchell Starc's omission from the Vodafone Boxing Day Test were the two catalysts, with Damien Fleming and Dennis Lillee leading the contingent of former pacemen who vehemently criticised the policy.
Former captain Ricky Ponting, in late December, backed Pat Howard, the Natinal Selection Panel and sports scientists at the Centre of Excellence in Brisbane and said that individual player workload management was the best way of ensuring a successful Australian Test team.
11) Fawad Ahmed is signed by Melbourne Renegades to play in BBL|02 - NOVEMBER
Although he is yet to feature for the Melbourne Renegades, the story of Fawad Ahmed is remarkable.
Having spent almost three years in Australia after fleeing his native Pakistan following a number of death threats for playing cricket, Ahmed finally got the green light to compete in this season's KFC Big Bash League.
12) Ricky Ponting's retirement - NOVEMBER
Ricky Ponting closed the chapter on a distinguished career at the conclusion of Australia's third Test against South Africa in December.
The 37-year-old former captain, who managed innings of four and eight in his farewell Test against the Proteas, bowed out of the sport with the joint record of 168 Test appearances alongside Steve Waugh and 13,378 runs, which included 41 tons and 62 half-centuries.
13) BBL|02 continues trend of strong Pay TV numbers - DECEMBER
While fan attendance at BBL|02 has been slightly down on the highs of the first edition, the Pay TV audiences on broadcaster Fox Sport have once again been strong.
On average around 250,000 are tuning in to each Big Bash League game,.with the likes of Shane Warne, Chris Gayle and Muttiah Muralitharan all on show this season.
With school holidays now upon us expect attendances to rise in the New Year as the competition heads towards finals week in mid January.
14) Re-introduction of Phil Hughes and re-emergence of Mitchell Johnson to Test team - DECEMBER
This summer has seen the return of both Phil Hughes and Mitchell Johnson to the Australian Test fold.
Both players appear to be reveling in their resurgence, with Hughes scoring a career-high 86 runs in Hobart and Johnson, left stranded on 92 not out at the MCG and helping himself to six wickets in the Vodafone Boxing Day Test.
15) Meg Lanning's 45 ball century vs NZ to clinch series - DECEMBER
Australia retained the Rose Bowl women's cricket trophy thanks in no small part to Meg Lanning, who smashed a century off just 45 deliveries on December 17.
In the final game of the four-match one-day international series against Australia's cross-Tasman rivals, Lanning recorded her third ton in 14 ODI appearances to hand the hosts a 2-1 series victory.
16) Michael Clarke breaks records - DECEMBER
It has been a vintage 12 months for Australian skipper Michael Clarke.
The Australian captain has shone in 2012, smashing four multiple centuries on his way to 1595 calendar runs at an average of 106.33, eclipsing Ricky Ponting's Australian record of 1544, set in 2005.
17) The death of cricket and commentary legend Tony Greig - DECEMBER
The cricket community went into mourning when Tony Greig passed away due to a heart attack on December 29, following a short battle with lung cancer.
Greig, a 58-Test player and captain for England, starred on the pitch before his distinctive voice saw him become synonymous with cricket commentary in Australia and around the globe.
18) Retirement of Mike Hussey - DECEMBER
Mike Hussey, better known as Mr. Cricket, surprised the sport when he announced his retirement from international cricket following the Vodafone Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka.
Hussey said he would complete the Commonwealth Bank ODI series against Sri Lanka and the West Indies in January/February.
He will leave the sport at the top of his game and on his own terms, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.
Hussey says goodbye after 78 Tests and 186 ODI's since making his international debut in 2004.
19) Cricket Australia seeks to finalise new Media Rights deals - DECEMBER
The exclusive negotiating period with the Nine Network ended on 31 December 2012.
20) Reader's choice - what else do you think was a big cricket headline of 2012? Leave your comments below...
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 01 January, 2013 7:34AM AEST