Alastair Cook and Tim Bresnan on Wisden's cricketers of the year list


Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara has become the first man to be named simultaneously as Wisden's leading cricketer in the world and one of its five cricketers of the year.

The elegant left-hander compiled 2,267 international runs in the three formats last year - no other player broke 2,000 - with five centuries and 13 fifties, and uniquely reached four figures in both Tests and one-day internationals for the third time.

A century in probably his last Test on English soil at Hampshire helped ensure he was named as one of the cricketers of the year, the award conferred by the publication's editor - a mantle taken on this year by Lawrence Booth - on the individuals who have most shaped the English cricketing summer, and which a player can win only once.

"I had always wanted a Test hundred at Lord's but, if that was not to be, then anywhere in England," Sangakkara tells David Hopps in the Almanack, published tomorrow.

"The Rose Bowl felt as if it might be my last opportunity."

Sangakkara also won praise for his delivery of the MCC's Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture, reproduced in part in Wisden, in which he confronted the level of government interference in his country's cricket.

"Writing that speech became a deeply personal experience," he adds.

"I knew there were ways it could be misinterpreted, but it was a story I felt I needed to tell."

Joining the 34-year-old as cricketers of the year are fellow veterans Glen Chapple, Lancashire's title-winning captain and talisman, and Worcestershire seamer Alan Richardson, the leading wicket-taker in Division One of last season's LV= County Championship with 73.

England pair Alastair Cook, with 927 Test runs at an average of 84 in addition to his return to the one-day international side as captain, and Tim Bresnan - who took 21 Test wickets at 19, scored 189 runs at 63 and finished the summer with a 100% winning record from 10 Tests - complete the quintet.

Richardson said: "To be recognised along world-class cricketers such as Alastair Cook, Tim Bresnan, Glen Chapple and Kumar Sangakkara is a real honour."

Elsewhere in the Almanack, Booth uses his first editor's notes to address a wide spread of topics, most notably the global shifting of focus towards Twenty20 cricket and the role of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in the governance of the world game.

Describing T20 as "a Pandora's Box masquerading as a panacea", Booth adds: "Outside England, the Test match increasingly resembles the quiet zone of world cricket's gravy train: respected in theory, ignored in practice.

"The real damage is being done by the prevalence of the two-match series. For any series not involving Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, three Tests must be the minimum."

On the BCCI's power, Booth - the youngest Wisden editor in 72 years - writes: "India have ended up with a special gift: the clout to shape an entire sport. But too often their game appears driven by the self-interest of the few.

"Other countries run the game along self-serving lines too ... but none wields the BCCI's power, nor shares their responsibility."

* Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2012: 149th Edition, published April 12, 2012 by John Wisden & Co.

Rival Roses all-rounders Bresnan and Chapple both gave their reaction this morning to their selection as cricketers of the year.

Yorkshireman Bresnan said: "It's a very select membership and I'm over the moon to receive such a prestigious honour.

"To be included alongside the four other players this year and the great names of the past is very special indeed."

Chapple told the Lancashire website: "Obviously it's a great honour and something usually reserved for international cricketers. I'm really pleased.

"It's a testament to how the lads have played as a team. My performances on their own wouldn't have won me this award, so I put it down to a great team effort this last year."

The five winners each receive an inscribed leather-bound edition of the Almanack and Chapple quipped: "That'll be great - I'll have a bookcase built."


Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own