Ben Stokes: Wisden name England all-rounder leading cricketer in world again

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England all-rounder Ben Stokes celebrates hitting a century against South Africa in January 2020
Ben Stokes has been ruled out of the Indian Premier League with a broken finger

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been named Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world for the second year in a row.

Stokes, 29, is the first Englishman to win the award twice since its inception in 2004.

He scored more Test runs than any other batsman in 2020, with 641 in seven matches, while also taking 19 wickets.

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

Stevens, 44, 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.

Stokes won the award last year for a stellar 2019 in which he played a key role in England’s World Cup victory and scored 135 not out in a thrilling one-wicket win over Australia in the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

In a year curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Stokes still shone in 2020, averaging 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.

Australia batter Beth Mooney was named the leading woman cricketer in the world.

Mooney, 27, 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, while she was also the leading runscorer in the 2020-21 Women’s Big Bash League.

Stevens took 29 wickets at an average of only 15 in the Bob Willis Trophy last year, which Wisden editor Lawrence Booth said “confirmed his status as one of the domestic game’s most unsung heroes”.

Crawley hit a sublime 267 against Pakistan at Southampton in just his eighth Test in August, while also scoring centuries in both the Bob Willis Trophy and Twenty20 Blast.

Sibley also made his maiden Test century in 2020, with an unbeaten 133 against South Africa in Cape Town, before scoring 120 against West Indies at Old Trafford.

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.

Rizwan averaged 43.14 in Test cricket in 2020 and also took a stunning catch to dismiss Stokes in the first Test at Old Trafford.

West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard was named the leading T20 cricketer in the world after averaging 53 with a phenomenal strike rate of 199 for various teams and also helping Mumbai Indians to the Indian Premier League title.

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