Monday, 26 March 2007

Wisden Five Cricketers of the Year

They are:

Paul Collingwood
Monty Panesar
Mark Ramprakash
Mohammad Yousuf
Mahela Jayawardene

All are deserving recipients, clearly. It is pleasing that a county player, Mark Ramprakash, is included after none were last year. Ramprakash batted extraordinarily, single-mindedly hitting 2000 runs at an average of over 100. Even allowing for this being in the Second Division, this is surely deserving of recognition.

However, given that the award is based predominantly on exploits during the English season, it appears a little unfair that Ian Bell, scorer of three consecutive Test hundreds against Pakistan, has been ignored, while Paul Collingwood is included. Ultimately, Editor Matthew Engel felt Collingwood, succeeding in Test cricket after finally getting a chance, had to be recognised while, in all probability, Bell's time will come again. Bell, however, should be outraged at not being included in 'The Wisden Forty'; he scored three hundreds and four fifties in 10 Tests in 2006, while also establishing himself in the ODI side. But it is nice to see Darren Lehmann included in the aforementioned list.

The Leading Cricketer in the Year award goes not to Yousuf, who scored more runs in a calendar year than anyone has ever done, but to Muttiah Muralitharan. Murali took 74 wickets (excluding Bangladesh) from nine Tests at 16, including a phenonemal 8-70 to tie the Test series in England. Yousuf scored 1788 runs at 99, scoring no fewer than nine hundreds. Which is the greater? In a batsmen-dominated world, perhaps Murali, by a whisker.

Wisden, needless to say, is fantastic as always, with the backlog of Leading Cricketers in the World particularly intriguing. While the almanac has invariably tempted readers to waste many an hour with its vast swathes of statistics, the writing - both the quality and quantity of it - has risen markedly in the past decade.


Nick Gammons said...

Great stuff, Tim. I have to admit I've not kept up with Wisden in recent years, but your piece has piqued my interest once again.

Richard Lake said...

It's a bit of a kick in the teeth for Ian Bell this. regardless of whether he may have the chance to win again, he had a fantastic test summer. Also bear in mind that Collingwood started the summer in situ and Bell forced his way back in.

They've got that one wrong.

River Taff End said...

Don't agree with Collingwood as one of the 5.

Chrispy said...

You could also looked at it from the perspective that Monty's time would probably have come again and so did Bell do better than him? Think he might of. Monty is good an I love him, but has he had an exceptional year? Not yet I'd say, but it certainly is going to come in the future. But then again they obviously needed a bowler in what is a batsman dominated list and game.

Top marks for having the guts to go with Murali! He was awesome.

Whinging Pom said...

Like the list apart from: Bell should replace Collingwood. And Murali should be in there. But it is such a hard job trying to just pick out 5.

Tim said...

Cheers guys. Collingwood is a worthy player - and man - and I suppose there is a much better chance they won't have another chance to recognise him than with Bell or Alastair Cook (what a start to Test cricket he has enjoyed). But both, especially Bell, can consider themselves mighty unlucky not to have been included in The Wisden Forty especially as Andrew Strauss was.