On Tuesday, the 2023 Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack crowned Ben Stokes the world’s leading cricketer.
Stokes, who won in 2020 and 2021 for his bat and ball, has won three times in four years because to his leadership. Since becoming Test captain last summer, the 31-year-old has led the squad to 10 victories in 12.
Stokes joined elite company with victories against New Zealand, India, South Africa, Pakistan (when England became the first team to win 3-0), and New Zealand. He equalled Australia’s Lindsay Hassett’s record of 10 victories from 12 matches and beat Michael Vaughan’s 16-match record.
After 17 Tests without a win, Stokes’ revitalization was required. The allrounder averaged 40 with the bat and 25.66 with the ball that summer, helping England win the T20 World Cup in October in another final.
Five Cricketers of the Year: Ben Foakes, Matthew Potts, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell, Harmanpreet Kaur
“It’s hard to think of any other cricketer who could have transformed his team’s fortunes so suddenly as Ben Stokes,” Wisden editor Lawrence Booth stated. England had won one game in 17 when he became Test captain. By the time they became the first visiting team to win 3-0 in Pakistan, they had won nine of 10 and played with remarkable grace and intensity.
He scored a series-turning century against South Africa in Manchester. Later in the year, he led England to the T20 World Cup with the defining innings of the final against Pakistan in Melbourne—the frosting on the cake for a cricketer who has changed the game.”
Booth also credits Brendon McCullum’s “pursuit of fun really did trump fear of failure” as imparted by new men’s director of cricket Rob Key. The transformation was obvious. They hit the most sixes in 2022 (65 under Stokes) with 89. Booth expects “Bazball” can revitalize more than a squad given the 2023-27 Future Tours Programme.
“More enterprise is needed to maintain interest in Test cricket, after the international fixture list confirmed a hopeless imbalance: between this summer and the end of the 2026-27 winter, England will play 20 of their 43 Tests against Australia or India; and only those three teams will regularly contest meaningful series.”
Bairstow earned for his two centuries against India at Edgbaston.
Jonny Bairstow, who scored 681 runs last summer and spearheaded the Bazball movement, wins the first Wisden Trophy for best individual Test performance. Bairstow won the accolade for his two centuries against India at Edgbaston, the second of which helped England chase down a national record target of 378. The Richards-Botham trophy replaced the silver trophy for England-West Indies Test series champions from 1963 until 2020.
Surrey wicketkeeper Ben Foakes and Durham seamer Matthew Potts were named Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year, an honor a player may only earn once based on their performance in the English home season.
Foakes’ coolness in front of the stumps and high standards behind them saved England twice. The first scored 120 with Joe Root at Lord’s against New Zealand, then 113 not out with Stokes against South Africa put them in command of the Old Trafford Test.
In the first five summer Tests, Potts took 20 wickets at 28.00. In the one-off India Test, he bowled Kane Williamson three times and Virat Kohli. With 58 County Championship wickets at 17.87, he was relentless domestically.
The five include Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell, who scored 538 and 383 runs in the three-match series.
Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell, who scored 538 and 383 runs in the three-match series, are also among the five. The other overseas participant is India women’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who guided her team to their first ODI series win in England since 2009. She guided India to a Commonwealth Games silver.
Australia beat India for gold, adding to their World Cup success. Beth Mooney, their top runscorer in both tournaments, won her second Leading Cricketer in the World award in three years. She averaged 100 in ODIs last year and helped Australia retain the Ashes.
Suryakumar Yadav’s 2022 as the world’s best Twenty20 cricketer is also recognized. He became the second international T20 batsman to score 1,000 runs in a year with 1,164 at 187 after centuries against England and New Zealand from 48 and 49 balls, respectively.
The Almanack honors Shane Warne’s personal life. The enigmatic Australian leg-spinner died in March 2022.
“His contribution to leg-spin, cricket’s toughest skill, hardly needs restating,” Booth says in his Editor’s Notes. “He hit all bowlers hard.” All-rounder Garry Sobers averaged 57, and batsmen Don Bradman, Jack Hobbs, and Viv Richards were Cricketers of the Century. Warne brought attention to the opposite end of the pitch. He was a walking box office.
Last year’s T20 franchise tournament proliferation is examined. The SA20, ILT20, Major League Cricket, and developing IPL have changed cricket’s landscape. Booth demands that franchise competitions and foreign boards stop cannibalizing the game.
“The dilemma of what cricket aspires to be is familiar, but never more vital… The T20 teams, in it for themselves; the ICC, officially in control; and the national boards, eager to satisfy broadcasters and create income, are in a symbiotic-parasitic relationship.
“The fight for time and space is unsustainable, generating turmoil and boredom. Jos Buttler led England in ODIs in Australia four days after winning the T20 World Cup. They lost 3-0, but no one watched or cared.