Stokes Crowned World’s Leading Cricketer
Stokes unseated Virat Kohli as Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world, ending the India captain’s three-year reign.
The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2020, published on Thursday, crowns Stokes as the sport’s pre-eminent player – the first Englishman to receive the prestigious honour since Andrew Flintoff in 2005.
The award is the latest to be bestowed upon the 28-year-old all-rounder following his heroic exploits last summer, when he inspired his team to an unforgettable triumph in the World Cup before producing one of the greatest innings of all time to win the Ashes Test at Headingley.
It is not the first time Stokes has been recognised with an award – he was given the Sir Garfield Sobers trophy for ICC men’s player of the year – but acclaim from the famous ‘yellow book’ has always held a special place in cricketing culture.
Editor Lawrence Booth said: “Stokes pulled off the performance of a lifetime – twice in the space of a few weeks. 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. Against red ball or white, he was a force of nature.”
Wisden has also revealed its five cricketers of the year, led by Stokes’ World Cup-winning team-mate Jofra Archer.
The award can only be won once, ruling out all of those who have already had their moment, and is based primarily on performances during the English summer.
Archer was a certainty to make the list, having had a seismic impact since his long-awaited international bow in May.
He instantly became a first-choice player in an England one-day side which had otherwise been carefully moulded over the course of four years and, by the time the Lord’s finale came down to its last six deliveries, it was the Barbados-born paceman who stood up to be counted by sending down the super over.
He was just as important to the Ashes, bowling at lightning speed on Test debut in a duel with Steve Smith that will live long in the memory.