Wisden Almanack 2020 honours: Ben Stokes ends Virat Kohli’s 3-year reign; here’s why Rohit Sharma missed out
Wisden has picked the five cricketers of the year (2019) and also named the leading cricketer of the year. England all-rounder Ben Stokes took the top honour ending Virat Kohli's three-year run
London: India captain Virat Kohli’s three-year run as the Wisden Almanack’s leading cricketer of the year has ended as England all-rounder is the new recipient of the award which was announced on Wednesday (April 8). West Indies' all-rounder Andre Russell was named as the leading T20 cricketer of the year. The Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2020 will be published tomorrow.
For three successive years, Kohli had won the Wisden’s leading cricketer of the year honour. However, for the year 2019, it is Stokes who has emerged on top. The Englishman was the team’s star in the ICC World Cup 2019 final at Lord’s in July 2019.
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In that epic final where the actual 50-over game and the Super Over both ended in ties, Stokes was the hero. He hit an unbeaten 84 in the match and later in the Super Over, he made eight runs as England scored 15. The 28-year-old Stokes won the Man-of-the-match honour in the World Cup final on July 14.
Wisden Editor Lawrence Booth was quoted as saying, “Ben 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.
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“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 also named the five cricketers of the year. None of the Indians made the list. Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne, Pat Cummins and Ellyse Perry, Simon Harmer of South Africa, and England World Cup winner Jofra Archer bagged the honours.
Booth said he expected to get more flak on social media. “This year was difficult. There were lots of people who could have made it. I expect to get a lot more flak than usual when the Five are announced on social media… The Five we’ve ended up with are strong. There could have been five other strong ones too,” he said.
On being asked whether Test cricket was given preference over limited-overs formats while choosing the five players and why India’s record-breaking Rohit Sharma or England’s Jason Roy missed out, Booth explained, “I think it would be subconscious if it did exist. You’re looking at the overall balance of the summer and what impact was made, and of course that is open to interpretation – let’s take Rohit Sharma for example, who broke the record of five hundreds at a World Cup.
“In any other year, he would have walked in. But because the benchmark was so high this year we looked at India’s big game in the semi-final of the World Cup against New Zealand and he was out for 1. That sounds like a really harsh reason not to include him, but he wasn’t the only opener to flourish in the World Cup. A lot of openers did really well. He did a bit better than the others but if you’re looking for an absolute standout we decided that Sharma didn’t quite tick the box.”