Wisden name Joe Root and Charlotte Edwards among Cricketers of the Year

Root is included for his contributions in the English summer Ashes victory while Edwards led England women to back-to-back Ashes victories

Joe Root is one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year, alongside England women's captain Charlotte Edwards.

Root and Edwards are joined by two of Australia's plucky 2013 Ashes losers turned landslide 2013/14 winners Ryan Harris and Chris Rogers, and destructive India opener Shikhar Dhawan, in an edition which identifies South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn as its Leading Cricketer in the World.

Root's award comes little more than 16 months after his international debut and follows not just an outstanding Ashes summer for him and England but a winter in which neither player nor team excelled in the slightest on the way to a 5-0 whitewash down under.

The established prime criterion for nominations is impact on the preceding English summer rather than any subsequent events.

For Edwards, only the second woman to win the prestigious award after her compatriot Claire Taylor five years ago, back-to-back Ashes victories home and away in the space of six months have provided a compelling case on all counts.

In its press testimony for Root's inclusion, Wisden - published today, Wednesday April 9 - restricts itself, in keeping with tradition, to the young Yorkshireman's deeds last summer.

"Two memorable innings helped Joe Root become the leading English batsman in the national averages," the almanack stated.

"He was the first Yorkshire player to make his maiden Test century at Headingley when he took 104 off New Zealand in May, and he then became the youngest England batsman to score an Ashes hundred at Lord's - with 180 in July."

Wisden 2014 has many other meaty topics to digest, and predictably does not flinch from forceful comment about the future of the International Cricket Council and the global influence of the Board of Control for Cricket in India following this winter's "takeover [of the world governing body] by their most powerful members".

England's "worst Ashes result in [their] 137-year Test history", and its seismic aftermath, is also dissected - while the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar accords the great Indian batsman pride of place on the front cover as well as several of the 1,584 pages inside.

Wisden demonstrates too its readiness to break new ground, as appropriate, and for the first time includes a 27-strong list of players who "have served or are serving bans for corruption offences".

Editor Lawrence Booth explains Wisden is bound to incorporate comprehensive numerical records, even when some of the matches or individual performances are questionable, adding: "[This] is the simplest way of allowing readers to reach their own conclusions, without compromising the wider set of statistics: it takes skill to score runs off a no-ball, even if the no-ball is deliberate."

PA

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