Recently, the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack named Pat Cummins, Marnus Labuschagne, Ellyse Perry, Jofra Archer and Simon Harmer as “Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year“. The “Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year” represents a tradition that dates back to 1889, making it the oldest individual award in the history of cricket.
The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack – often called the “Bible of cricket” – is an annual publication founded by John Wisden – a.k.a. “the Little Wonder” – a prominent cricketer of the mid-nineteenth century, in 1864. The Almanack has been published every year of its existence.
The Almanack has recognized exceptional performances in cricket since its inaugural edition in 1864. It has even rocognized expectional performances by Indians and included them in the “Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year”. Now you must have been inclined to think, which Indian Cricketers made it to the list.
Here is a list of 10 Indian Cricketers who made it to the “Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year”:
1. Virat Kohli
The Indian skipper, Virat Kohli was named the cricketer of the year in 2019. In 2018 summer, India lost the test series by 4-1 in England. Despite losing the series, Virat Kohli performed brilliantly with the bat.
In 2014, Virat Kohli struggled in England with just 134 runs in 10 innings. In 2018, Virat Kohli exorcised his ghost of 2014 England by scoring a skilled 593 runs in the series with an average of 59.30. His total was 244 runs more than any players playing on either side.
2. Shikhar Dhawan
Shikar Dhawan was named one of the Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2014. Following the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid through 2012-13 season.
Dhawan was named the cricketer of the year following his exceptional performance in the Champions Trophy, 2013. He scored a total of 363 runs in the five matches with two centuries and a half-century averaging 90.75 in the tournament. Dhawan was the highest run scorer of the tournament and also won the player of the series award.
3. Zaheer Khan
The left-arm seamer was named as one of the five Cricketer of the year in 2008 following an exceptional year of bowling performance in 2007. In 2007, Zaheer Khan took a total of 41 wickets at an impressive average of 26.6. After the 2007 world cup campaign, Greg Chappell had resigned as India’s coach and India entered the series without a coach.
After drawing the first test, India won the second test by 7 wickets in which Zaheer Khan took 9 wickets in two innings and was awarded the player of the match trophy. India drew the third test as well and won the three-test series by 1-0. Zaheer was the highest wicket taker of the series with 18 dismissals.
4. VVS Laxman
VVS Laxman was named as one of the Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2002. He was chosen as the cricketer of the year for his historic performance in the Australia’s tour of India on 2001.
Laxman was the key player of India’s miraculous win over Australia in the second test at Eden Gardens. India was 1-0 down going to Kolkata in the 3-match series. By the end of second innings, India was behind 274 runs and was asked to follow on.
VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid batted through the day 4 where Laxman made an epic 281 runs. The magnificent innings helped India win the match from jaws of defeat, ending Australia’s incredible 16-win streak. India eventually went on to win the test series 2-1.
5. Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid was chosen one among the Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2000. At the start of 1999, in the third game of the series, Dravid made 190 runs in first innings and a 103 not out in the second innings. Seven weeks later he scored another test century in Colombo and raised his test average to 54.
In 1999 World Cup, India played with Sri Lanka in a group match where Ganguly and Dravid amassed 324 runs together for the 2nd wicket. Despite India’s failure to qualify for the next round, Rahul Dravid ended with the highest run scorer of the series with 461 runs with an average of 65.86.
6. Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar was chosen as the cricket of the year by Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack in 1997. The 1996 Wills Cricket World Cup dominated by leg spinners like Shane Warne and Anil Kumble.
However, Sachin Tendulkar took the quick hitting strategy to a higher level. The little master scored a total of 523 runs and was the highest scorer of the tournament. The 23-year old smashed two centuries and three half centuries with a strike rate of 85.9 and a stellar average of 87.17.
7. Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble, nick named the Jumbo, was named in the Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1996 for his performance in the English County Cricket in the 1995 English cricket season.
Kumble played for Northamptonshire and claimed 105 wickets at an average of 20.40. He was the leading wicket taker and the only bowler to take more than 100 wickets that season. His best performance was of 13 wickets for 192 runs against Hampshire.
8. Mohinder Amarnath
Mohinder Amarnath or Jimmy was named in the Five Wisden Cricketers of the year in 1984 following his consistent performance through 1983. During the 1982-83 India’s visit to Pakistan, he scored 3 centuries and 3 fifties in 10 innings while Imran Khan tore through his teammates taking 40 wickets in a six-match series.
In the 1982-83 season, Amarnath scored an unbelievable 2355 runs at an average of 81. The form also continued to the 1983 World Cup. Jimmy became the first ever player to receive the Man of the Match award in both semi-final and final of a Cricket World Cup.
9. Kapil Dev
The former World Cup Winning captain of India is considered to be one of the greatest all rounder of the game. He debuted in 1978 and came to be known as the Haryana Hurricane for his fierce stroke play. Kapil Dev was among the Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in the year 1983.
This was because of his innings at Lords in 1982. At a time where T20 was not even a thing of wildest dreams, Kapil Dev brought England to its knees by hitting 89 runs from just 55 balls with 13 fours and 3 sixes. Later in 1983, he led India to their maiden World Cup win at the same ground.
10. Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar was one of the Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1980. This was following his exceptional run in the 1979 cricketing year. In 1979 he scored a total of 1555 runs and crossed the 1000 run mark in a calendar year for the third time after 1976 and 1978.
In the 1979 series against Australia, Sunil Gavaskar completed hi 5000 test runs. By the end of 1979 he had 22 centuries and stood third in the list of most centuries after Sir Donald Bradman and Sir Garfield Sobers.