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Hookesy

Last Thursday night, I was watching David Hookes on Fox Sports hosting the one-hour "Inside Cricket" program as he did every week. On Sunday, Hookesy was coach of Victoria as they won their ING Cup game against his old state South Australia. Now, he's gone.

Taking NSW cricket to the people

There were 26,190 people at Telstra Stadium at Sydney's Olympic Park for a Saturday night interstate cricket match. In an arena of 80,000 capacity, this was the biggest crowd to see a day's play of a New South Wales home game in more than forty years.

They didn't get a win - Queensland won the ING Cup game with two balls to spare and two wickets in hand - but the popular success of the evening suggests that we will see more such games taken to the former Stadium Australia in future.

The Top 10 cricket stories of 2003

A little later than intended, my apologies, but here is my selection of the top ten cricket news stories in the 2003 calendar year, presented in reverse order.

As some of you would know, I compiled an annual list along these lines for CricInfo a few years ago in consultation with CricInfo workers and correspondents around the world. This year's list I have done myself.

10. THE RISE OF GRAEME SMITH:

Steve Waugh's last day at the office

Kumble bowls. Waugh sweeps. He lofts it high in the air. Tendulkar waits just inside the square leg rope and takes the catch. And it's all over.

After 18 years, 168 Tests, 260 innings, 82 scores of fifty or better and 10,927 runs, Steve Waugh had played his last innings for Australia. He scored 80 and helped Australia draw the Fourth Test against India.

A Test on steroids

With one day remaining in the Sydney Test, Australia needs 433 runs to win with ten wickets in hand. It shouldn't be possible. Shouldn't.

But this Test - and indeed many Test matches lately - have been so unusual that it can't be absolutely ruled out.

We've seen an exhilirating four days of batting at the SCG. Australia made 474 in their first innings, yet it wasn't enough to avoid giving Indian captain Ganguly the option of enforcing the follow-on (which, as it happened, he elected not to do).

The curse of the retiring captains

It was nineteen years ago - January 1985 - when Clive Lloyd played his 110th and last Test, his 74th as captain, leading the West Indies against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground. A world-beating team at the peak of its form, the West Indies was expected to trounce Australia as they had done throughout that series, sending Lloyd out on a high. Instead, the Aussies won by an innings and 55 runs.

John Howard's Great Moments in Sport 2003

The crowning achievement of self-styled sports fanatic and Australian Prime Minister John Howard in 2003 came at the final of the Rugby World Cup in November. After the Wallabies lost an exhilarating game on an extra-time field goal, JH looked like he was going to burst into tears as he handed out the winners' medals to a seemingly endless line of England players and staff.

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