England all-rounder Ben Stokes has ended Virat Kohli’s dominance of Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world title.
India superstar Kohli has been given the award for the last three years. However, a brilliant 2019 from 28-year-old Stokes has seen him become the first Englishman to get the honour since 2005. The last man to secure that title was Andrew Flintoff.
The 2020 edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack names Stokes as the winner following memorable contributions to help England win a maiden World Cup and the Headingley Ashes Test.
His unbeaten 135 saw England bag a stunning one-wicket success over Australia in the third Ashes Test in Leeds. That came after he’d smashed 465 runs, including 84 in the final against New Zealand, during a victorious World Cup campaign.
Performance of a lifetime from Stokes
“Ben Stokes pulled off the performance of a lifetime – twice in the space of a few weeks,” said Wisden's editor, Lawrence Booth.
“First, with a mixture of outrageous talent and good fortune, he rescued England's run-chase in the World Cup final, before helping to hit 15 off the super over. Then, in the Third Ashes Test at Headingley, he produced one of the great innings, smashing an unbeaten 135 to pinch a one-wicket win.
“Last year, these pages urged [Stokes] to rediscover his mongrel as a matter of national urgency,” Booth added on his Notes by the Editor page. “He did, and more: in the World Cup final and the Headingley Test, he was playing fantasy cricket. In between came an Ashes hundred at Lord's – normally a career highlight, scarcely a tremor on the Stokesograph.
“When England stumbled during the World Cup, losing to Sri Lanka and Australia, he stood tall. 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.”
Others to be honoured
Wisden has also named its five cricketers of the year in the latest edition. Jofra Archer, Simon Harmer, Marnus Labuschange, Pat Cummins and Ellyse Perry were all highlighted.
Archer made his England Test debut, Cummins ended the Ashes series as top wicket-taker and Marnus Labuschagne hasn’t looked back after taking his chance to also shine for Australia. Perry was the leading run-scorers and wicket-taker as Australia defended their Women’s Ashes crown against England. Harmer was singled out for helping Essex to County Championship and T20 Blast success last year.