LONDON: There were few more thrilling sights in world cricket in 2010 than Mohammad Aamer bowling and there were few more controversial too.
The teenage Pakistan left-arm quick's entrancing spell of swing bowling saw Australia dismissed for just 88 at Headingley in July.
But Aamer and new-ball partner Mohammad Asif, together with Pakistan captain Salman Butt, soon found themselves facing 'spot-fixing' allegations.
Butt was accused by British tabloid The News of the World of orchestrating a betting scam that saw Aamer and Asif bowl deliberate no-balls to effect a 'spot-fixing' coup.
The trio's future is set to be decided by an International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal hearing in the Qatari capital of Doha in January.
Earlier in the year, Pakistan had banned three former captains -- Younus Khan, Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik -- after a wretched tour of Australia where they failed to win a single match and Shahid Afridi was fined for an incredible ball-biting incident in Perth.
And in November wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider fled Dubai, where Pakistan were playing South Africa, for London saying his life was under threat from 'fixers'.
On the field. England won a first major one-day title by beating Australia in the final of the World Twenty20 tournament in the Caribbean.
Hopes of an Ashes series win in Australia looked realistic after England's innings and 71-run victory in the second Test in Adelaide.
That followed a draw in the series opener in Brisbane marked by a hat-trick from Australia paceman Peter Siddle.
But Australia levelled with a 267-run win in the fourth Test at Perth.
Nevertheless Australia, so recently the kings of Test cricket, had dropped to fourth in the ICC rankings as 2010 drew to a close.
The year ended with South Africa pressing hard to replace India as the world's leading Test side with an innings and 25 run victory in the first Test at Centurion.
The Proteas' Dale Steyn looked the one genuine fast bowler in the modern game whose record that would not look out of place alongside those of some all-time great fast bowlers while Jacques Kallis cemented his position as the world's leading all-rounder.
India's Sachin Tendulkar set yet more batting records by becoming the first man to score 200 in a one-day international and the first to 50 Test centuries.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, whose unorthodox action remained controversial even when 'cleared' by the ICC, bowed out with a record 800 Test wickets before retiring from the five-day game.
Chris Gayle became only the fourth batsman in history to make two Test scores of over 300 with an innings of 333 against Sri Lanka in Galle last month but this was a rare highlight for the West Indies in another struggling year.
New Zealand's 2010 was exemplified by an embarrassing 4-0 one-day series loss to minnows Bangladesh in October.
England's Ashes-winning all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond finally gave up their struggles with injury by retiring from all cricket while Australia quick Brett Lee quit Tests.
But the most notable retirement in 2010 was of South Africa's Makhaya Ntini, the first black African to represent his country, whose 13-year international career saw a fast bowler blessed with exceptional stamina more than justify his place on cricket grounds alone.
Split-innings matches were trialled in Australia, the ICC announced plans for a new Test championship and MCC experimented with a pink ball in a bid to probe the viability of day/night Tests.
It's a fair bet the pink ball would not have impressed Sir Alec Bedser, who died aged 91 in April.
Bedser, an outstanding fast-medium bowler who held the England attack together in the years after the Second World War, was credited by Don Bradman, widely regarded as cricket's greatest batsman, with bowling the best ball the Australian ever received.
Bedser also gave much to cricket after retirement, serving as a tour manager and as chairman of England's selectors from 1969 to 1981