Ben Stokes named Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world after glorious summer

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Ben Stokes has called it ‘an honour’ to be named the leading cricketer in the world following the publication of the 157 edition of Wisden.

The Mirror Sport columnist revealed his pleasure at following in the footsteps of Andrew Flintoff, who in 2005 was the only other Englishman to have been named as the world’s number one since the title was created in 2003.

And the 28-year-old ends a hat-trick of wins for Virat Kohli thanks to his World Cup heroics during 2019 as well as his remarkable feats during the Ashes that included one of the greatest Test innings of all time at Headingley.

Stokes said: “It is an honour to be named the leading cricketer in the world by Wisden and follow in the footsteps of some great names.

“I was delighted to be named as one of their cricketers of the year in 2016, and this is an appreciated addition.

“2019 was a year I will never forget, sharing some incredible highs alongside my team-mates who helped and allowed me to perform in the way I did. It always has been and always will be a team game.

“While we wait to find out when we might next be able to play again it is nice to receive an award like this and take a moment to remember how much we enjoy playing and watching this game, and I’m glad I was able to play my part in that enjoyment last year. It was the summer of cricket.”

Stokes has rightly collected gong after gong following his incredible 2019, and this is another to add to the list, chosen by the Wisden editor with input from cricketing experts from around the globe.

In 2007 a list of previous ‘winners’ was chosen by a panel with the criteria being who would be the first name down in a World XI team that year with the likes of Graham Gooch and Sir Ian Botham making the cut in 1990 and 1981 respectively.

“Every so often, an England cricketer joins the national conversation,” wrote editor Lawrence Booth of Stokes. “In the World Cup final and the Headingley Test, he was playing fantasy cricket.

“It is tempting to see him as the heir to Botham and Flintoff. He is, as far as the story goes. But we’re barely halfway through. Of the three modern all-rounders, Stokes can be the greatest.

“Without him, this Almanack might have been another English hard luck story. Instead, it’s a celebration. Stokes is their all-weather cricketer, a giant come rain or shine. The next few years should be fun.”

Joining Stokes at the top table from the women’s game is Ellyse Perry, the Australian all rounder who reclaims a title she first won back in 2016.

Perry’s dominance during an Ashes series in which England were thoroughly out-classed is why she is also named as one of the five cricketers of the year, the oldest individual award in the game.

Perry is the seventh woman to be named as one of the five, but the first non-Englishwoman to merit selection, and she joins Kumar Sangakkara, Kane Williamson, and Virat Kohli in doing the double of leading player and a cricketer of the year in the same Almanack.

World Cup winner Jofra Archer is named as one of the five following his starring role throughout the tournament that ended with him delivering the last winning ball of the Super Over, before he then lit up the Ashes with his pace and skill.


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