Stokes makes English cricket history with Wisden award

London (AFP) –


Ben Stokes has become the first England cricketer to be named the prestigious Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World twice since it came into being in 2004.

The 29-year-old all-rounder won the award for a second successive year due to scoring more Test runs than any other batsman in 2020, with 641 in seven matches, while also taking 19 wickets.

The New Zealand-born star averaged 58.27 in Tests, including 120 against South Africa and 176 against West Indies, while his 19 wickets came at an average of just 18.73.

The award may boost his spirits after he was ruled out of the lucrative Indian Premier League on Tuesday due to a broken finger.

Australian batting specialist Beth Mooney was named the leading woman cricketer in the world.

The 27-year-old was named player of the tournament in the 2020 Women's T20 World Cup, scoring 78 not out in the final as Australia beat India.

She was also the most prolific scorer in the 2020-21 Women's Big Bash League.

Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens became the oldest person since 1933 to be named as one of Wisden's five Cricketers of the Year.

Stevens, 44, who made a century in last week's opening round of county championship matches, is the fourth-oldest recipient of the award, which dates back to 1889.

England batsmen Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley, Pakistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan and former West Indies captain Jason Holder join Stevens on the 2021 list.

Holder is acknowledged for being "a giant both on and off the field" last summer when West Indies toured England during the coronavirus lockdown.

He led his side's support of the Black Lives Matter movement in taking a knee before each Test and also took 6-42 in the first innings of the first Test at Southampton, which West Indies won by four wickets.