England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been awarded the Wisden Cricketer of the Year for the third time in the last four years. The star cricketer was selected for his dynamic and aggressive captaincy of the Test team, as well as his match-winning performance in the World T20 final.
Since being appointed as Test captain at the start of last summer, the 31-year-old has overseen a dramatic shift in the team’s fortunes, inspiring them to 10 wins in 12. Wins against New Zealand, India, and South Africa, then successes on the tours of Pakistan – England became the first side to win 3-0 – and New Zealand put Stokes in exalted company. Not only did he achieve 10 wins quicker than any previous England captain – Michael Vaughan was the previous quickest to the mark, from 16 matches – but the feat equaled that of Australia’s Lindsay Hassett, who had previously stood alone with 10 from 12.
Announcing the awardees, Lawrence Booth, Wisden’s editor, said, “It’s hard to think of any other cricketer who could have transformed his team’s fortunes so suddenly as Ben Stokes. ”
He further added, “When he took over the Test captaincy, England had won one game in their previous 17. By the time they had become the first visiting side to win 3-0 in Pakistan, they had won nine out of ten, and were playing with unprecedented style and verve.”
Additionally, Stokes’ fellow teammate Jonny Bairstow, who was having an exceptional summer before getting injured, became the first recipient of the new Wisden Trophy for outstanding individual Test performance, by a man or woman.
Australia’s Beth Mooney was named the leading women’s cricketer in the world for the second time. Also, India’s Suryakumar Yadav was named the best Twenty20 cricketer in the world.