Ben Stokes makes it a Wisden hat-trick as he is named the world leading cricketer for the third time in four years… after helping transform England’s fortunes when he took over the Test captaincy
- Ben Stokes has been named Wisden’s world leading cricketer for the third time
- The England captain takes the award for helping turn around the national team
- After winning nine out of 10, England then claimed a 3-0 victory in Pakistan
Ben Stokes has been honoured for inspiring England’s extraordinary Test transformation by today being named Wisden’s world leading cricketer for the third time in four years.
The England captain lifts the award for not only taking a team at rock bottom to rarefied heights, but the manner in which he did it.
‘It is hard to think of any other cricketer who could have transformed a team’s fortunes so suddenly as Ben Stokes,’ says Wisden editor and Mail Sport cricket writer Lawrence Booth in the 160th edition of the almanack, which is published today.
‘When he took over the Test captaincy England had won one game in 17. By the time they had become the first visiting side to win 3-0 in Pakistan they had won nine out of 10 and were playing with unprecedented style and verve.
‘Later in the year he steered England to the T20 World Cup with the defining innings of the final against Pakistan in Melbourne — the icing on the cake for a cricketer who has transformed the way the game is played.’
Ben Stokes has been named the world’s leading cricket player for the third time in four years
Stokes and Brendon McCullum have made a massive impact on Test cricket in the last year
Booth looks at the positive impact Stokes and Brendon McCullum have made on Test cricket in his editor’s notes and colourfully compares its appeal to the one-dimensional T20 format and ever-growing march of the franchises.
‘With any luck Bazball will revive more than a team,’ writes Booth. ‘Test cricket needs the kiss of life, which Stokes kept stressing without sounding sanctimonious.
‘Every nook and cranny is being plugged with schemes that leave entrepreneurs and players better off but diminish cricket’s breadth and depth. In pursuit of a quick buck cricket is losing its diversity and identity. God bless Bazball for proving there is life in the old dog yet.’
One of the biggest traditions of Wisden’s annual arrival is seeing Booth’s choice of the five cricketers of the year, an award that dates back to 1889 and can only be won once.
This year’s recipients for their influence on the last English summer are Englishmen Ben Foakes and Matthew Potts, New Zealanders Tom Blundell and Daryl Mitchell and Indian woman Harmanpreet Kaur.
There is also a new Wisden Trophy, which will be awarded for the year’s outstanding individual Test performance by a man or woman.
The first winner is Jonny Bairstow for his two centuries against India at Edgbaston, as England chased down a national record 378 with ease.
By the time England became the first visiting side to win 3-0 in Pakistan, they had won nine out of ten and were playing with unprecedented style and verve
Jonny Bairstow will be awarded for the year’s outstanding individual Test performance for his two centuries against India at Edgbaston
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