Our year in review: Part one

Australia

With 2015 being a World Cup year, naturally the team of the year would be world champions Australia but a special mention has to go to the Tigers that finally roared.

We at Cricket365 look at the year of each international teams and rate them out of 10.

Australia

The Aussies captured the World Cup on home soil in February when they beat New Zealand by seven wickets in front of almost 100 000 fans at the MCG.

Although they won the showpiece event of ODI cricket, Australia went on to be humbled by England away from home in the five-match Ashes series, three-two.

They did recover towards the end of the year when they beat New Zealand two-nil in a three-match Test series that also featured the first-ever day/night game in the longest format.

Australia had their fair share of players calling it a day from international cricket this year with the likes of Michael Clarke, Ryan Harris, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Chris Rogers and Mitchell Johnson never to be seen in the Baggy Green again.

Left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc also received the player of the tournament award at the World Cup and is undoubtedly the best bowler in limited-overs cricket.

Leading batsman Steve Smith capped off a stellar last 18 months or so by being named ICC cricketer of the year, and he will now also captain Australia in what is still a transitional period.

Rating for year: 8

New Zealand

The Black Caps, under the leadership of Brendon McCullum, captured everyone's imagination during the year not only with their brand of cricket but also the way they conducted themselves on and off the pitch.

An amazing run at the World Cup, which they co-hosted, was ended by their arch-rivals, Australia, in the final but only Kiwis grew from there.

They went to England and drew a two-match series one apiece in the middle of the year but came up short against the Aussies away from home.

They finished the year well though when they raced to clean-sweep at home against Sri Lanka in the longest format.

Rating for the year: 7

Bangladesh

Arguably the team of the year, the Tigers enjoyed their best 12 months in international cricket in 2015. It all started at the World Cup, where the former minnows knocked England out of the World Cup to qualify for the quarterfinals.

The Asian side showed that their effort at the showpiece event was no fluke when they registered bilateral ODI series victories against Pakistan, India, and South Africa, all at home.

The Tigers only played five Tests during 2015, of which three were badly effected by rain while one was a high-scoring draw and they fell to one defeat against Pakistan at home.

Rating for the year: 9

South Africa

South Africa in a World Cup year, you know what comes next. The Proteas contrived to lose in the semifinal at Eden Park against New Zealand in a game they should really have won.

The defeat off the last ball of the game was to much for some players who got really emotional on the field, for the world to see.

They faired better in bilateral series in 50-over cricket during they year, beating West Indies and New Zealand at home while also winning a five-match series in India.

The Proteas though lost their nine-year unbeaten Test record away from home when they were hammered three-nil in a four-match Test series in India while both theirTests in Bangladesh were washed away by rain.

On an individual front AB de Villiers has proven that he is arguably the best batsman across all formats in world cricket. In 2015 he hit the fastest 50, 100 and 150 in ODI cricket.

Rating for the year: 4

England

A mixed year for the Three Lions. They started off the year poorly but would end 2015 feeling positive about the future of English cricket.

Embarrassingly knocked out at the group stage of the World Cup, former captain Andrew Strauss was appointed Director of Cricket and immediately removed Peter Moores as head coach.

Strauss made the decision to let Australian Trevor Bayliss take charge of the national side and he was repaid with instant success as England reclaimed the Ashes urn.

The ODI side also underwent a huge transformation with younger, more dynamic players chosen instead of the usual safety first approach, and the results was there for all to see as the they beat New Zealand and Pakistan and ran world champions Australia close.

Although the Three Lions won the Ashes, they were very disappointing in the longest format in 2015. England drew series' against a weak West Indies side, away, and the Black Caps at home while they lost to Pakistan in the UAE.

The 24 year-old Joe Root has now established himself as England's best batsman, in all formats, and will carry that mantle for years to come.

Rating for the year: 5

Nasri Alexander

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