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Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World

Don Bradman
Don Bradman has won the award the most times, being named as the notional winner ten times between 1930 and 1948.

The Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World is an annual cricket award selected by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. It was established in 2004, to select the best cricketer based upon their performances anywhere in the world in the previous calendar year.[1] A notional list of previous winners, spanning from 1900 to 2002, was published in the 2007 edition of Wisden.[2]

Since 1889, Wisden has published a list of Cricketers of the Year, typically selecting five cricketers that had the greatest impact during the previous English cricket season. However, in the 2000 edition, the editor Matthew Engel recognised that the best players in the world were typically no longer playing English domestic cricket, and opted to select the Cricketers of the Year based on their performances anywhere in the world.[3] This criterion was applied for the following three years, but in 2004 it reverted to being based on the English season, and a Leading Cricketer in the World was also selected.[1] The recipient of the award is selected by the editor of Wisden, with advice from cricket experts.[4] An Australian, Ricky Ponting was chosen as the first winner of the award, for scoring 1,503 runs in international cricket, including eleven centuries during 2003.[5]

In the 2007 edition of Wisden, a list of winners for previous years was published. A sixteen-person panel helped to select the winners, which Engel described as the cricketer that "would have been the first name down in the World XI to play Mars".[2] It was decided that the first year that would be listed was 1900, as prior to that Engel claimed international cricket was too "inchoate and haphazard to make comparison sensible".[2] No awards were made for the periods of the World Wars, leaving a list of 93 winners. During this selection, Don Bradman was listed the most, winning on ten occasions, while Garfield Sobers was the leading cricketer eight times. Engel noted that despite attempts to the contrary, the award maintains cricket's bias towards batsmen.[2]

List of award winnersEdit

Actual winnersEdit

Kumar Sangakkara was twice recognised by Wisden in 2012, being named a Cricketer of the Year and Leading Cricketer in the World.
  • Note that each year's Leading Cricketer of the World is announced in the following year's Wisden, so the 2003 winner was announced in 2004, and so on.
Year Player[6] Country
2003 Ricky Ponting   Australia
2004 Shane Warne   Australia
2005 Andrew Flintoff   England
2006 Muttiah Muralitharan   Sri Lanka
2007 Jacques Kallis   South Africa
2008 Virender Sehwag   India
2009 Virender Sehwag   India
2010 Sachin Tendulkar   India
2011 Kumar Sangakkara   Sri Lanka
2012 Michael Clarke   Australia
2013 Dale Steyn   South Africa
2014 Kumar Sangakkara   Sri Lanka
2015 Kane Williamson   New Zealand
2016 Virat Kohli   India
2017 Virat Kohli   India
2018 Virat Kohli   India

Notional winnersEdit

Ranjitsinhji was the first historical winner, being recognised for 1900.
Jack Hobbs is one of only six players to have won the award more than twice.
Harold Larwood was the only non-Australian cricketer to be recognised in the 1930s.
Keith Miller reading Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in 1951, his selection year
Garfield Sobers (pictured here in 2012) was the winner eight times between 1958 and 1970.
Viv Richards was recognised in 1976, 1978 and 1980
Imran Khan was the first Pakistani cricketer to be recognised, for 1982.
Year Player[6] Country
1900 K. S. Ranjitsinhji   England
1901 C. B. Fry   England
1902 Victor Trumper   Australia
1903 C. B. Fry   England
1904 Bernard Bosanquet   England
1905 Stanley Jackson   England
1906 George Hirst   England
1907 Bert Vogler  South Africa
1908 Monty Noble   Australia
1909 Wilfred Rhodes   England
1910 Aubrey Faulkner   South Africa
1911 Victor Trumper   Australia
1912 Sydney Barnes   England
1913 Sydney Barnes   England
1914 Jack Hobbs   England
1915–18 Not awarded due to World War I
1919 Jack Gregory   Australia
1920 Herbie Collins   Australia
1921 Charlie Macartney   Australia
1922 Jack Hobbs   England
1923 Patsy Hendren   England
1924 Maurice Tate   England
1925 Jack Hobbs   England
1926 Charlie Macartney   Australia
1927 Bill Ponsford   Australia
1928 Tich Freeman   England
1929 Wally Hammond   England
1930 Don Bradman   Australia
1931 Don Bradman   Australia
1932 Don Bradman   Australia
1933 Harold Larwood   England
1934 Don Bradman   Australia
1935 Stan McCabe   Australia
1936 Don Bradman   Australia
1937 Don Bradman   Australia
1938 Don Bradman   Australia
1939 Don Bradman   Australia
1940–45 Not awarded due to World War II
1946 Don Bradman   Australia
1947 Denis Compton   England
1948 Don Bradman   Australia
1949 Len Hutton   England
1950 Frank Worrell   West Indies
1951 Keith Miller   Australia
1952 Len Hutton   England
1953 Alec Bedser   England
1954 Clyde Walcott   West Indies
1955 Frank Tyson   England
1956 Jim Laker   England
1957 Peter May   England
1958 Garfield Sobers   West Indies
1959 Richie Benaud   Australia
1960 Garfield Sobers   West Indies
1961 Alan Davidson   Australia
1962 Garfield Sobers   West Indies
1963 Fred Trueman   England
1964 Garfield Sobers   West Indies
1965 Garfield Sobers   West Indies
1966 Garfield Sobers   West Indies
1967 Graeme Pollock   South Africa
1968 Garfield Sobers   West Indies
1969 Graeme Pollock   South Africa
1970 Garfield Sobers   West Indies
1971 Mike Procter   South Africa
1972 Dennis Lillee   Australia
1973 Barry Richards   South Africa
1974 Jeff Thomson   Australia
1975 Clive Lloyd   West Indies
1976 Viv Richards   West Indies
1977 Dennis Lillee   Australia
1978 Viv Richards   West Indies
1979 Greg Chappell   Australia
1980 Viv Richards   West Indies
1981 Ian Botham   England
1982 Imran Khan   Pakistan
1983 Kapil Dev   India
1984 Joel Garner   West Indies
1985 Richard Hadlee   New Zealand
1986 Malcolm Marshall   West Indies
1987 Martin Crowe   New Zealand
1988 Malcolm Marshall   West Indies
1989 Allan Border   Australia
1990 Graham Gooch   England
1991 Curtly Ambrose   West Indies
1992 Wasim Akram   Pakistan
1993 Shane Warne   Australia
1994 Brian Lara   West Indies
1995 Brian Lara   West Indies
1996 Sanath Jayasuriya   Sri Lanka
1997 Shane Warne   Australia
1998 Sachin Tendulkar   India
1999 Steve Waugh   Australia
2000 Muttiah Muralitharan   Sri Lanka
2001 Glenn McGrath   Australia
2002 Matthew Hayden   Australia

Multiple winnersEdit

Shane Warne was listed twice in the historical list, as well as being recognised for 2004.

Unlike Wisden's Cricketers of the Year, players can be recognised more than once as the Leading Cricketer in the World, and eighteen players have been selected for multiple years.[6] The majority of these have won the award twice, but six players have been recognised for three or more years: Don Bradman, Garfield Sobers, Jack Hobbs, Viv Richards, Shane Warne and Virat Kohli. In the 2007 edition which published the notional historical winners, Engel noted with "surprise and pleasure" that the first five players were the same as had been selected as Wisden's five Cricketers of the Century.[2]

Sachin Tendulkar and Warne have both been selected as notional and actual winners, while Virender Sehwag was the first player to be recognised twice by Wisden as an actual winner since 2004.[6] Kumar Sangakkara has since similarly been selected twice, and in 2012 he became the first player to be recognised twice in one edition of Wisden, as both Leading Cricketer in the World and a Cricketer of the Year.[7]

Player Awards Years
Don Bradman 10 1930, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1946, 1948
Garfield Sobers 8 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970
Jack Hobbs 3 1914, 1922, 1925
Virat Kohli 3 2016, 2017, 2018
Viv Richards 3 1976, 1978, 1980
Shane Warne 3 1993, 1997, 2004
Sydney Barnes 2 1912, 1913
C. B. Fry 2 1901, 1903
Len Hutton 2 1949, 1952
Brian Lara 2 1994, 1995
Dennis Lillee 2 1972, 1977
Charlie Macartney 2 1921, 1926
Malcolm Marshall 2 1986, 1988
Muttiah Muralitharan 2 2000, 2006
Graeme Pollock 2 1967, 1969
Kumar Sangakkara 2 2011, 2014
Virender Sehwag 2 2008, 2009
Sachin Tendulkar 2 1998, 2010
Victor Trumper 2 1902, 1911

Winners by countryEdit

Awards won by nationality (%)

  Australia – 35 (32.1%)
  England – 28 (25.7%)
  West Indies – 20 (18.3%)
  India – 8 (7.3%)
  South Africa – 8 (7.3%)
  Sri Lanka – 5 (4.6%)
  New Zealand – 3 (2.8%)
  Pakistan – 2 (1.8%)

Cricketers from eight of the twelve Test playing nations have been recognised for the award by Wisden, with Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan not represented. Players from Australia and England dominate the list, having won more than half of the time, although this is disproportionately the case in the notional list. Prior to World War II, 34 of the 36 winners played for Australia or England. The "actual" award winners are more evenly distributed; Indian players have won six times, Australian and Sri Lankan players have won three times, South Africans twice, while only one English player has been recognised since 2004.[6]

Awards by country
Club Awards
  Australia 35
  England 28
  West Indies 20
  India 8
  South Africa 8
  Sri Lanka 5
  New Zealand 3
  Pakistan 2

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Engel, Matthew, ed. (2004). Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2004 (141 ed.). Alton, Hampshire: John Wisden & Co. Ltd. p. 8. ISBN 0-947766-83-9.
  2. ^ a b c d e Engel, Matthew, ed. (2007). Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2007 (144 ed.). Alton, Hampshire: John Wisden & Co. Ltd. pp. 32–41. ISBN 978-1-905625-02-4.
  3. ^ Engel, Matthew, ed. (2000). Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2000 (137 ed.). Guildford, Surrey: John Wisden & Co. Ltd. p. 61. ISBN 0-947766-57-X.
  4. ^ "Wisden's Leading Cricketer in the World". ESPNcricinfo. ESPN. 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Ponting named world's leading cricketer". ABC News. Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 7 April 2004. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Leading Cricketer in the World". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Kumar Sangakkara 'Leading Cricketer in the World' for 2011: Wisden". NDTV Sports. New Delhi: NDTV. 11 April 2012. Archived from the original on 26 October 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.