Ben Stokes will receive a welcome boost as he recovers from a broken finger after being named Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world for a second consecutive year.
Stokes, who suffered the injury on Monday playing for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, becomes the first England cricketer to win the award more than once in the most prestigious honour in this year’s Almanack.
The 158th edition of cricket’s bible, released today and covering the Covid-hit 2020 season, pays tribute to England’s talisman at a time when he faces a battle to be fit for the first Test of the summer against New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2.
Ben Stokes has been named Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world for a second year in a row
‘His haul of 641 Test runs at 58 in the calendar year was more than anyone else while his 19 wickets cost just 18 apiece,’ says Wisden editor and Sportsmail cricket writer Lawrence Booth in the Almanack. ‘He did it all against a backdrop of personal tragedy: his father, Ged, died in December at the age of 65.’
Wisden’s most famous awards, to the five cricketers of the year, includes the fourth oldest recipient on record in Kent’s Darren Stevens, 44, who took 29 Bob Willis Trophy wickets at an average of 15.
Stevens is the oldest Wisden cricketer of the year since Leicestershire’s Ewart Astill in 1933 and is older than all bar him, WG Grace and Lord Hawke in the Almanack’s pantheon.
Jason Holder played a huge role in saving the summer by leading West Indies to England
The other cricketer of the year awards, which can only be won once, go to Zak Crawley, who made 267 against Pakistan in the third Test last summer, and Dom Sibley who, says Booth, regularly provided the glue England needed at the top of their Test order.
Jason Holder who, it could be argued, played a bigger role in saving the summer than anyone by leading West Indies in the first bio-secure series held after the Covid outbreak, is also on the list. ‘Holder was a giant both on and off the field,’ writes Booth.
‘He inspired his team to victory in the first Test with six for 42. He also led a dignified West Indian response to Black Lives Matter, taking a knee with his team-mates before each Test.’
Australia star Beth Mooney picked up the award for Wisden’s Leading Woman Cricketer
The fifth award goes to Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan who ‘was an electric presence behind the stumps.’
The Leading Woman Cricketer in the World award goes to the Australian Beth Mooney who hit 78 off 54 balls in the T20 World Cup final as the home team beat India in front of 86,000 spectators at the MCG.
Meanwhile, Stokes will still receive the bulk of his £1.3million IPL salary despite being ruled out of the rest of the tournament. Leading IPL players take out comprehensive insurance policies that cover serious injury.