Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World

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Don Bradman
Don Bradman has won the award the most times, being named as the notional winner ten times between 1930 and 1948.

The Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World is an annual cricket award selected by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. It was established in 2004, to select the best cricketer based upon their performances anywhere in the world in the previous calendar year.[1] A notional list of previous winners, spanning from 1900 to 2002, was published in the 2007 edition of Wisden.[2]

Since 1889, Wisden has published a list of Cricketers of the Year, typically selecting five cricketers that had the greatest impact during the previous English cricket season. However, in the 2000 edition, the editor Matthew Engel recognised that the best players in the world were typically no longer playing English domestic cricket, and opted to select the Cricketers of the Year based on their performances anywhere in the world.[3] This criterion was applied for the following three years, but in 2004 it reverted to being based on the English season, and a Leading Cricketer in the World was also selected.[1] The recipient of the award is selected by the editor of Wisden, with advice from cricket experts.[4] An Australian, Ricky Ponting was chosen as the first winner of the award, for scoring 1,503 runs in international cricket, including eleven centuries during 2003.[5]

In the 2007 edition of Wisden, a list of winners for previous years was published. A sixteen-person panel helped to select the winners, which Engel described as the cricketer that "would have been the first name down in the World XI to play Mars".[2] It was decided that the first year that would be listed was 1900, as prior to that Engel claimed international cricket was too "inchoate and haphazard to make comparison sensible".[2] No awards were made for the periods of the World Wars, leaving a list of 93 winners. During this selection, Don Bradman was listed the most, winning on ten occasions, while Garfield Sobers was the leading cricketer eight times. Engel noted that despite attempts to the contrary, the award maintains cricket's bias towards batsmen.[2]

List of award winners

Actual winners

Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara was twice recognised by Wisden in 2012, being named a Cricketer of the Year and Leading Cricketer in the World.
  • Note that each year's Leading Cricketer of the World is announced in the following year's Wisden, so the 2003 winner was announced in 2004, and so on.
Year Player[6] Country
2003 Ponting, RickyRicky Ponting  Australia
2004 Warne, ShaneShane Warne  Australia
2005 Flintoff, AndrewAndrew Flintoff  England
2006 Muralitharan, MuttiahMuttiah Muralitharan  Sri Lanka
2007 Kallis, JacquesJacques Kallis  South Africa
2008 Sehwag, VirenderVirender Sehwag  India
2009 Sehwag, VirenderVirender Sehwag  India
2010 Tendulkar, SachinSachin Tendulkar  India
2011 Sangakkara, KumarKumar Sangakkara  Sri Lanka
2012 Clarke, MichaelMichael Clarke  Australia
2013 Steyn, DaleDale Steyn  South Africa
2014 Sangakkara, KumarKumar Sangakkara  Sri Lanka
2015 Williamson, KaneKane Williamson  New Zealand
2016 Kohli, ViratVirat Kohli  India
2017 Kohli, ViratVirat Kohli  India

Notional winners

Ranjitsinhji was the first historical winner, being recognised for 1900.
Jack Hobbs
Jack Hobbs is one of only five players to have won the award more than twice.
Harold Larwood
Harold Larwood was the only non-Australian cricketer to be recognised in the 1930s.
Keith Miller
Keith Miller reading Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in 1951, his selection year
Garfield Sobers
Garfield Sobers (pictured here in 2012) was the winner eight times between 1958 and 1970.
Viv Richards
Viv Richards was recognised in 1976, 1978 and 1980
Imran Khan
Imran Khan was the first Pakistani cricketer to be recognised, for 1982.
Year Player[6] Country
1900 Ranjitsinhji, K. S.K. S. Ranjitsinhji  England
1901 Fry, C. B.C. B. Fry  England
1902 Trumper, VictorVictor Trumper  Australia
1903 Fry, C. B.C. B. Fry  England
1904 Bosanquet, BernardBernard Bosanquet  England
1905 Jackson, StanleyStanley Jackson  England
1906 Hirst, GeorgeGeorge Hirst  England
1907 Vogler, BertBert Vogler  South Africa
1908 Noble, MontyMonty Noble  Australia
1909 Rhodes, WilfredWilfred Rhodes  England
1910 Faulkner, AubreyAubrey Faulkner  South Africa
1911 Trumper, VictorVictor Trumper  Australia
1912 Barnes, SydneySydney Barnes  England
1913 Barnes, SydneySydney Barnes  England
1914 Hobbs, JackJack Hobbs  England
1915–18 Not awarded due to World War I
1919 Gregory, JackJack Gregory  Australia
1920 Collins, HerbieHerbie Collins  Australia
1921 Macartney, CharlieCharlie Macartney  Australia
1922 Hobbs, JackJack Hobbs  England
1923 Hendren, PatsyPatsy Hendren  England
1924 Tate, MauriceMaurice Tate  England
1925 Hobbs, JackJack Hobbs  England
1926 Macartney, CharlieCharlie Macartney  Australia
1927 Ponsford, BillBill Ponsford  Australia
1928 Freeman, TichTich Freeman  England
1929 Hammond, WallyWally Hammond  England
1930 Bradman, DonDon Bradman  Australia
1931 Bradman, DonDon Bradman  Australia
1932 Bradman, DonDon Bradman  Australia
1933 Larwood, HaroldHarold Larwood  England
1934 Bradman, DonDon Bradman  Australia
1935 McCabe, StanStan McCabe  Australia
1936 Bradman, DonDon Bradman  Australia
1937 Bradman, DonDon Bradman  Australia
1938 Bradman, DonDon Bradman  Australia
1939 Bradman, DonDon Bradman  Australia
1940–45 Not awarded due to World War II
1946 Bradman, DonDon Bradman  Australia
1947 Compton, DenisDenis Compton  England
1948 Bradman, DonDon Bradman  Australia
1949 Hutton, LenLen Hutton  England
1950 Worrell, FrankFrank Worrell  West Indies
1951 Miller, KeithKeith Miller  Australia
1952 Hutton, LenLen Hutton  England
1953 Bedser, AlecAlec Bedser  England
1954 Walcott, ClydeClyde Walcott  West Indies
1955 Tyson, FrankFrank Tyson  England
1956 Laker, JimJim Laker  England
1957 May, PeterPeter May  England
1958 Sobers, GarfieldGarfield Sobers  West Indies
1959 Benaud, RichieRichie Benaud  Australia
1960 Sobers, GarfieldGarfield Sobers  West Indies
1961 Davidson, AlanAlan Davidson  Australia
1962 Sobers, GarfieldGarfield Sobers  West Indies
1963 Trueman, FredFred Trueman  England
1964 Sobers, GarfieldGarfield Sobers  West Indies
1965 Sobers, GarfieldGarfield Sobers  West Indies
1966 Sobers, GarfieldGarfield Sobers  West Indies
1967 Pollock, GraemeGraeme Pollock  South Africa
1968 Sobers, GarfieldGarfield Sobers  West Indies
1969 Pollock, GraemeGraeme Pollock  South Africa
1970 Sobers, GarfieldGarfield Sobers  West Indies
1971 Procter, MikeMike Procter  South Africa
1972 Lillee, DennisDennis Lillee  Australia
1973 Richards, BarryBarry Richards  South Africa
1974 Thomson, JeffJeff Thomson  Australia
1975 Lloyd, CliveClive Lloyd  West Indies
1976 Richards, VivViv Richards  West Indies
1977 Lillee, DennisDennis Lillee  Australia
1978 Richards, VivViv Richards  West Indies
1979 Chappell, GregGreg Chappell  Australia
1980 Richards, VivViv Richards  West Indies
1981 Botham, IanIan Botham  England
1982 Khan, ImranImran Khan  Pakistan
1983 Dev, KapilKapil Dev  India
1984 Garner, JoelJoel Garner  West Indies
1985 Hadlee, RichardRichard Hadlee  New Zealand
1986 Marshall, MalcolmMalcolm Marshall  West Indies
1987 Crowe, MartinMartin Crowe  New Zealand
1988 Marshall, MalcolmMalcolm Marshall  West Indies
1989 Border, AllanAllan Border  Australia
1990 Gooch, GrahamGraham Gooch  England
1991 Ambrose, CurtlyCurtly Ambrose  West Indies
1992 Akram, WasimWasim Akram  Pakistan
1993 Warne, ShaneShane Warne  Australia
1994 Lara, BrianBrian Lara  West Indies
1995 Lara, BrianBrian Lara  West Indies
1996 Jayasuriya, SanathSanath Jayasuriya  Sri Lanka
1997 Warne, ShaneShane Warne  Australia
1998 Tendulkar, SachinSachin Tendulkar  India
1999 Waugh, SteveSteve Waugh  Australia
2000 Muralitharan, MuttiahMuttiah Muralitharan  Sri Lanka
2001 McGrath, GlennGlenn McGrath  Australia
2002 Hayden, MatthewMatthew Hayden  Australia

Multiple winners

Shane Warne
Shane Warne was listed twice in the historical list, as well as being recognised for 2004.

Unlike Wisden's Cricketers of the Year, players can be recognised more than once as the Leading Cricketer in the World, and eighteen players have been selected for multiple years.[6] The majority of these have won the award twice, but five players have been recognised for three or more years: Don Bradman, Garfield Sobers, Jack Hobbs, Viv Richards and Shane Warne. In the 2007 edition which published the notional historical winners, Engel noted with "surprise and pleasure" that these five players were the same as had been selected as Wisden's five Cricketers of the Century.[2]

Sachin Tendulkar and Warne have both been selected as notional and actual winners, while Virender Sehwag was the first player to be recognised twice by Wisden as an actual winner since 2004.[6] Kumar Sangakkara has since similarly been selected twice, and in 2012 he became the first player to be recognised twice in one edition of Wisden, as both Leading Cricketer in the World and a Cricketer of the Year.[7]

Player Awards Years
Bradman, DonDon Bradman 10 1930, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1946, 1948
Sobers, GarfieldGarfield Sobers 8 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970
Hobbs, JackJack Hobbs 3 1914, 1922, 1925
Richards, VivViv Richards 3 1976, 1978, 1980
Warne, ShaneShane Warne 3 1993, 1997, 2004
Barnes, SydneySydney Barnes 2 1912, 1913
Fry, C. B.C. B. Fry 2 1901, 1903
Hutton, LenLen Hutton 2 1949, 1952
Kohli, ViratVirat Kohli 2 2016, 2017
Lara, BrianBrian Lara 2 1994, 1995
Lillee, DennisDennis Lillee 2 1972, 1977
Macartney, CharlieCharlie Macartney 2 1921, 1926
Marshall, MalcolmMalcolm Marshall 2 1986, 1988
Muralitharan, MuttiahMuttiah Muralitharan 2 2000, 2006
Pollock, GraemeGraeme Pollock 2 1967, 1969
Sangakkara, KumarKumar Sangakkara 2 2011, 2014
Sehwag, VirenderVirender Sehwag 2 2008, 2009
Tendulkar, SachinSachin Tendulkar 2 1998, 2010
Trumper, VictorVictor Trumper 2 1902, 1911

Winners by country

Awards won by nationality (%)

  Australia – 35 (32.4%)
  England – 28 (25.9%)
  West Indies – 20 (18.5%)
  South Africa – 8 (7.4%)
  India – 7 (6.5%)
  Sri Lanka – 5 (4.6%)
  New Zealand – 3 (2.8%)
  Pakistan – 2 (1.9%)

Cricketers from eight of the ten Test playing nations have been recognised for the award by Wisden, only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are not represented. Players from Australia and England dominate the list, having won more than half of the time, although this is disproportionately the case in the notional list. Prior to World War II, 34 of the 36 winners played for Australia or England. The "actual" award winners are more evenly distributed; Indian players have won four times, Australian and Sri Lankan players have won three times, South Africans twice, while only one English player has been recognised since 2004.[6]

Awards by country
Club Awards
 Australia 35
 England 28
 West Indies 20
 South Africa 8
 India 7
 Sri Lanka 5
 New Zealand 3
 Pakistan 2

See also


  1. ^ a b Engel, Matthew, ed. (2004). Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2004 (141 ed.). Alton, Hampshire: John Wisden & Co. Ltd. p. 8. ISBN 0-947766-83-9. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Engel, Matthew, ed. (2007). Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2007 (144 ed.). Alton, Hampshire: John Wisden & Co. Ltd. pp. 32–41. ISBN 978-1-905625-02-4. 
  3. ^ Engel, Matthew, ed. (2000). Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2000 (137 ed.). Guildford, Surrey: John Wisden & Co. Ltd. p. 61. ISBN 0-947766-57-X. 
  4. ^ "Wisden's Leading Cricketer in the World". ESPNcricinfo. ESPN. 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Ponting named world's leading cricketer". ABC News. Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 7 April 2004. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Leading Cricketer in the World". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Kumar Sangakkara 'Leading Cricketer in the World' for 2011: Wisden". NDTV Sports. New Delhi: NDTV. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
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