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."

PA

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all