Ben Stokes has been named as the leading cricketer in the world for 2020 by Wisden.
Stokes ends India batsman Virat Kohli’s three-year reign in possession of the honour and becomes the first Englishman since fellow all-rounder Andrew Flintoff to be considered the best player in the global game by the esteemed publication.
The body of work amassed by Stokes over the course of an outstanding 2019 made him an obvious frontrunner for such recognition.
He top-scored with an unbeaten 84 as England took the World Cup final into a super over, where Stokes and Jos Buttler scored 15 before the hosts won on the boundary count back rule at Lord’s.
Remarkably, that was not Stokes’ finest hour of the English summer, as he went on to score 135 not out to seal an enthralling one-wicket win over Australia in the fourth Ashes Test at Headingley – an innings to rank alongside the all-time greats in cricket’s longest format.
Jofra Archer, another standout performer in England’s World Cup and Ashes campaigns was named as one of Wisden’s five cricketers of the year for 2019, along with Australia duo Marnus Labuschagne and Pat Cummins.
Labuschagne’s introduction to the series came as a concussion substitute when Steve Smith was struck by a brutish Archer bouncer and he went on to make the number three position his own, averaging 112 in the Australian summer that followed.
Cummins underlined his status as the number one pace bowler in the world with 29 wickets against England in an urn-retaining 2-2 draw.
That is a standing Archer can certainly aspire to, having claimed 55 wickets across all formats in his breakthrough international year.
Wisden’s five cricketers of 2019 were rounded out by Simon Harmer, the Essex spinner whose 83 wickets gave him 12 more scalps than any other bowler on the way to County Championship glory, and Ellyse Perry.
Perry was Australia’s leading run-scorer (378) and wicket-taker (15) in the 2019 Women’s Ashes and was also named the leading women’s player in the world.
West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell is the leading T20 cricketer. (www.sportsmax.tv)