England’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes ended India captain Virat Kohli’s three-year reign as Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world after playing a primary role in England’s maiden ICC ODI Cricket World Cup triumph back home in July last year. The 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack also coronated all-rounder Ellyse Perry as leading women’s cricketer of the year as the Australian reclaimed the title from India’s Smriti Mandhana.

After being named as the sport’s pre-eminent player – Stokes became the first Englishman to receive the prestigious honour since Andrew Flintoff in 2005. The 28-year-old propelled England to their maiden World title last year with a ‘Player of the Match’ performance in the final against New Zealand at Lord’s.

He followed up his WC heroics with another scintillating performance, this time in Test cricket against arch-rivals Australia in the much-talked-about Ashes series. Stokes played a remarkable match-winning knock of 135 not out in the fourth innings of the third Ashes Test to keep the series alive.

Stokes was given the Sir Garfield Sobers trophy for ICC men’s player of the year for his performances in the international circuit. He amassed 821 Test runs and scored 719 in ODI’s in 2019.

“Ben Stokes pulled off the performance of a lifetime – twice in the space of a few weeks,” said Wisden’s editor, Lawrence Booth was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

“First, with a mixture of outrageous talent and good fortune, he rescued England’s run-chase in the World Cup final, before helping to hit 15 off the super over. Then, in the Third Ashes Test at Headingley, he produced one of the great innings, smashing an unbeaten 135 to pinch a one-wicket win.”

Australia all-rounder Perry bagged the honour for her splendid show in Ashes and in the recently-concluded ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

“Ellyse Perry dominated the women’s Ashes like no one before her inspiring Australia to a crushing victory. She was devastating with the ball, claiming seven for 22 in the ODI at Canterbury, and remorseless with the bat, not least during the one-off Test at Taunton, where she made 116 and 76 not out.”

Wisden has also revealed its five cricketers of the year, led by Stokes’ World Cup-winning teammate Jofra Archer.

England’s World cup winning duo of Stokes and Archer, Australian trio of – Pat Cummins, Marnus Labuschagne and Perry were picked as the five Wisden Cricketers of the year.