20110408

Wisden names only four Cricketers of the Year after fifth selection is banned

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack has broken with tradition by naming only four Cricketers of the Year in its 2011 edition, instead of the usual five.
The editor, Scyld Berry, originally picked Five Cricketers of the Year as usual. However, allegations of corruption and the ICC’s independent tribunal made the choice of one of the five -- believed to be the young Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir -- unsustainable.
The player is not named in Wisden, but Berry said: “If he were exonerated, then it would be possible to reconsider the position. That's why I didn't pick anyone else instead. But as things stand, we don’t feel we can choose him. It’s all very sad.”
Amir, 18, was suspended for five years in February for his part in an alleged spot-fixing conspiracy during the fourth Test against England at Lord's last August.  The teenager has protested his innocence and has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
This is the first time since 1926 – excluding the years of World War Two when competitive cricket ceased – that Wisden has not chosen its customary five.
The four players selected in the 148th edition of Wisden – published next Thursday, April 14 – include the first Bangladeshi and Irishman to be chosen as Cricketers of the Year.
The Four are:

  • Tamim Iqbal, Bangladesh ’s flamboyant opening batsman, who scored thrilling centuries in both his country’s Tests in England last summer.
  • Eoin Morgan, the Dublin-born former Ireland international, whose audacious strokeplay helped England win the World Twenty20 in 2010.
  • Chris Read, a former England wicketkeeper and still a master craftsman behind the stumps, who led Nottinghamshire to win the County Championship in 2010.
  • Jonathan Trott, one of England ’s recent Ashes heroes, who scored 1,325 Test runs in 2010, including 226 and 184 at Lord’s last summer.

Trott’s selection in Wisden 2011 means that nine of England’s latest Ashes-winning team have been Wisden Cricketers of the Year. However Alastair Cook, Man of the Series in England ’s recent Ashes victory, is not one of them. His outstanding performances in Australia were not considered because excellence in (or influence on) the previous English summer are the major criteria for the Cricketer of the Year accolade and Cook had a poor summer in 2010.
However Wisden has honoured Cook by picturing him on the cover of 2011 edition celebrating his century in Sydney ­– one of three centuries he hit among his 766 runs in the series.
Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack first announced its Cricketers of the Year in 1889. It is the oldest individual award in cricket. "Six great bowlers" were chosen in 1889, and in the early years the numbers wavered occasionally between one and nine. However, five soon became the norm: the last exception (excluding war years) was 1926, when the Five gave way to a special portrait of Jack Hobbs. Another long-established tradition is that no one can be chosen more than once.

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