Despite a disappointing World Cup in 2011 England have had perhaps one of their best ever years for international fixtures, providing our hospitality guests with world class displays to go with their cricket hospitality packages! Their 4-0 whitewash of India in this summer’s test series ensured England were convincingly crowned the number one test team in the World. The total demolition of India truly highlights the amazing job the ECB have done in turning England from the worst test side in the world in 1999(!), to becoming a seemingly unstoppable behemoth.

Despite Shane Warne’s protestations that England and in particular Alistair Cook, were boring, England dominated the series with every player chipping in. The team performance highlights England’s impressive determination to improve with each match on an individual and team level. Cook summed up the team ethos saying “you never have enough (runs)”. Whilst there were so many impressive displays that it would be difficult to praise everyone Ian Bell deserves a special mention for his outstanding batting performances throughout the series, whilst hopefully in the future this test series for Kevin Pietersen will be remembered as the series he got his mojo back. And of course there was that ‘boring’ 294 Alistair Cook scored at Edgbaston. This is an England team that has no obvious weak links to target and a whole lot of talented individuals, all capable of producing a match winning performance on their day.

Next up was a rain affected series win over India in the ODI series (although there’s still one match left). India can at least return home knowing that they fared much better against a ruthless England side in this ODI series. The highlight so far of the series was the somewhat comical draw at Lord’s in which India set a difficult innings target of 280 only for an impressive Ravi Bopar display to bring England seemingly to the verge of victory only for rain to end the match with 1.5 overs to go. None the less England have recorded a ODI series win over the IWC 2011 World Champions. And let’s not forget the thrilling ODI series versus Sri Lanka earlier this year which England won 3-2. Despite their poor World Cup England have proved they can produce the goods in ODI’s as well as Test cricket.

England currently lie 5th in the ODI World rankings, behind India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Australia. Excitingly England will face both South Africa and Australia next year, both five game ODI series. These mouth watering fixtures provide the very real possibility that cricket hospitality guests could witness England facing Australia in an ODI series to determine who holds the number ranking in ODI cricket. There’s no doubt corporate hospitality for the 2012 season will be at an all time high!

Of course England first must face the daunting task of playing India away this year as well as Pakistan away next spring. India will no doubt be fired up and looking to regain their pride in front of the same passionate crowds who watched them win the IWC 2011. The stage is set however for another exciting year for England cricket fans in 2012. Cricket versus Australia is always a tantalizing prospect even when there’s the danger of Shane Warne criticizing double-hundreds!

Here’s the dates so far released by the ECB…

May – Jun 2012 West Indies tour of England (3 Test, 5 ODI & 1 Twenty20 match)
Jun – July 2012 Australia tour of England (5 ODI)
Jul – Sept 2012 South Africa tour of England (3 Test, 5 ODI, 3 Twenty20 matches)