Ben Stokes has been crowned as the Wisden Almanack’s leading men’s cricketer in the world for the third time in four years, feted for his transformative captaincy of England’s Test team and match-winning turn in the T20 World Cup final.
Stokes, who appears on the cover of the 160th edition alongside head coach Brendon McCullum, picked up the top award for 2022, following up back-to-back wins in 2019 and 2020.
And while his first two came primarily on the back of his commanding all-round performances with bat and ball, the latest honor comes as much for the leadership qualities that have revitalized England’s red-ball fortunes and pushed the boundaries of how the five-day format is played.
In all he has overseen 10 wins in 12 matches since taking the Kidney Test, rewarded for his attacking and imaginative approach.
Despite retiring from 50-over cricket, Stokes also made waves in the white-ball game, helping to deliver the silverware for England’s T20 side as his expertly measured half-century settled the tournament showpiece.
“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 said.
“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 10, and were playing with unprecedented style and verve.
“Later in the year, he steered England to the T20 World Cup with the defining innings of the final against Pakistan in Melbourne – the icing on the cake for a cricketer who has transformed the way the game is played.”
Wisden 2023 also offers recognition for three of Stokes’ Test team-mates. Jonny Bairstow is the inaugural recipient of the newly minted Wisden Trophy, awarded for the outstanding individual Test performance, while Ben Foakes and Matthew Potts take their places in the almanack’s historic five cricketers of the year.
Bairstow, who hit a career-best streak of form before being waylaid by a freak accident which left him with a badly broken leg, was rewarded for his twin centuries in the Edgbaston Test against India.
It was the first time Bairstow had ever doubled up, with 106 in the first innings and an unbeaten 114 in England’s record chase of 378.
While Bairstow’s gong is a fresh innovation, the cricketers of the year list dates all the way back to 1889. It is judged on performances from the English summer and by tradition can only be won once in a career.
Wicketkeeper Foakes, who may find his place in the England side under threat from Bairstow’s return, earned his recognition for a series of handy displays with bat and gloves against New Zealand and South Africa, culminating in a first home century at Emirates Old Trafford.
Durham seamer Potts, meanwhile, is acknowledged for his efforts on the international and county stages. As well as 20 wickets in his first five Tests, including Kane Williamson three times and Virat Kohli once, he claimed 58 in the LV= County Championship in a breakout campaign.
Kiwi pair Tom Blundell and Daryl Mitchell also appear on the list after excelling in the Test series against England, while India women’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur rounds out the list following a triumphant tour.
Australia’s Beth Mooney was named as leading women’s cricketer in the world for the second time and India’s big-hitting Suryakumar Yadav succeeded Mohammad Rizwan as the top T20 cricketer in the world.