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International Cricket: Ben Stokes confirmed as world's leading cricketer by Wisden

England Test captain Ben Stokes has been named as the world's leading cricketer by Wisden for the third time in the space of four years.

The 31-year-old, who also won the award for 2019 and 2020, enjoyed a stellar year in 2022, as he was named England Test captain, oversaw a dramatic and successful overhaul of the longer format output and also played a key role in the limited overs team, culminating in helping them to glory at the T20 World Cup.

With another busy year to come in 2023, including the Ashes this summer, Stokes may not stop at three leading cricketer titles, but it is certainly worth saluting his latest achievement.

WhatAshes Series 2023
When16th June 2023 - 31st July 2023
How to watchSky Sports Main Event and Cricket, BBC (Highlights)
OddsEngland 10/11, Draw 6/1, Australia 6/4

Stokes leads from the front

It was certainly a memorable 2022 for Stokes, who was named captain of what was a struggling England Test team last April, but alongside new Test coach Brendon McCullum, he was able to oversee a dramatic turnaround in both results and style of play. 

England had won only one of their previous 17 Tests prior to Stokes and McCullum teaming up, but they have since triumphed in 10 of their last 12 matches played in the longest format of the game, a run that includes series whitewashes on home soil against New Zealand and away to Pakistan.

Not only have England started winning Test matches and series again, but they are doing so playing an aggressive and entertaining form of cricket that has been dubbed 'Bazball' - referring to a long-standing nickname of McCullum's. 

Stokes has led the 'Bazball' philosophy from the front, most notably scoring an impressive century against South Africa in the summer, but his efforts were not just saved for Test cricket.

The all-rounder was also a key figure in England's T20 World Cup success over the autumn, top scoring with an unbeaten knock of 52 off just 49 balls in the final against Pakistan, which also brought back memories of his heroics in the 2019 ODI World Cup final against New Zealand.

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More to come from Stokes in 2023

In being named the world's leading cricketer by Wisden for the third time, Stokes has joined an illustrious group in claiming a hat-trick of titles, sitting alongside fellow Englishman Jack Hobbs, Indian batter Virat Kohli, West Indies legend Viv Richards and former Australia spin bowler Shane Warne.

Only two players have now landed the award more times than Stokes and he has a long way to go to catch both Garfield Sobers, who was an eight-time winner, and Donald Bradman, who was the recipient of the award on an unprecedented 10 occasions.

However, Stokes certainly has time on his side and he could go a long way to claiming the award for 2023 if he masterminds England's success in this summer's Ashes series on home soil.

England are looking to land the urn for the first time since 2015 and they are priced at 10/11 in the To Win Outright market, with Australia 6/4 and the Draw available at 6/1.

The first Ashes Test is due to get underway at Edgbaston on 16th June.

If Stokes does lead England to Ashes glory, his list of accolades may not just be restricted to cricket, as he is currently 13/2 in the To Win Outright market to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2023.

Mooney lands women's award

Wisden's women's leading cricketer of the year also had a familiar feel, as Australian batter Beth Mooney picked up the award for the second time in three years and joined team-mate Ellyse Perry in being the only female to have claimed the accolade more than once.

Mooney picked up the prize after helping Australia to World Cup glory in both the 50-over and 20-over formats, as well as gold at last summer's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The five Cricketers of the Year were also announced by Wisden, with England duo Ben Foakes and Matthew Potts being named alongside New Zealand pair Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell - and India women's captain Harmanpreet Kaur.

No player can be named as one of the Cricketers of the Year more than once, while performances over the English summer tend to play a key role in the selection process.

Wicketkeeper Foakes and seamer Potts both shone during England's Test resurgence, with the latter's efforts particularly catching the eye considering he only made his Test debut last June.

Mitchell and Blundell were rewarded for their individual efforts despite New Zealand losing their Test series with England 3-0, while Harmanpreet inspired India to a first one-day series success in England since 1999.

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