The rise and rise of England

Virender Sehwag is Wisden’s pick for the world’s leading cricketer for 2009 — so, all hail.

The real story, though, is the remarkable domination of international cricket by England. Of the five “Cricketers of the Year”, four — Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Graham Onions — are members of the England cricket team. Who knew?

25 thoughts on “The rise and rise of England

  1. And by the way, for those claiming partiality against Indians, let me state this:

    Ashley Giles got the Cricketer of the Year Award before Ricky Ponting.

    Take a minute to absorb that data. I amn’t kidding. Giles received it in 2005 & Ponting in 2006.

  2. A non-controversy on number of english players.

    What is surprising to me is that neither Gautam Gambhir nor Dale Steyn made it to the list. They would be wondering as to what is required from their side to make it to the list.

  3. I think people are reading into this a bit too much. Especially the comments about wisden being a British publication etc or the awards being British and not deserving to be on the front page.

    The Wisden awards carry a lot of weight because of the history and tradition associated with them. Even as an Indian fan, I still enjoy reading them, because the wisden almanack is always worth reading purely from a cricketing perspective.

    For those who doubt me, and may not be considering purchasing it, see
    F.Y.I in the world team of the year, 4 Indians, 3 Englishmen (of whom only one is in the leading cricketers list), 2 Aussies, 1 South African and a Sri Lankan.

    and the notes from the editor (an even better read)

    How bout some comments from people who are planning on, or have already read it?

  4. I agree that the title of the award is terribly misleading and deserves no more space on Cricinfo, say, than an “equivalent” honour bestowed on the best Ranji Trophy Player of 2009. Or the best Sri Lankan / South African domestic player. Does anyone even know who these people are?

    Unfortunately, we are talking to deaf ears. Prem, since you are from the media, I have a hypothetical scenario for you: Let’s say you are the editor of Cricinfo (I am just taking Cricinfo as an example, since it is the most popular website which is dedicated entirely to cricket. Any non-British publication would serve the purpose). Would you dignify this news by putting it up on your homepage? Or would you only carry the Leading cricketer + Test Team of 2009 on the homepage and relegate the other cricketers to the country page, with a clear explanation of the selection criteria. In an ideal world, isn’t this is the correct thing to do? All are equal, but Wisden is certainly more equal.

    • I thought Wisden was owned by Cricinfo? It is not any british publication and it is an extension of Cricinfo…. must have been mistaken all along

  5. “The real story, though, is the remarkable domination of international cricket by England. Of the five “Cricketers of the Year”, four — Matt Prior, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and Graham Onions — are members of the England cricket team. Who knew?”

    I recall the debate about portrayal of Yudh main Sthir in your Bhim. While you are quite clear in your head about what you want to say or how to portray a character it does not become evident to the reader based on what appears on blog. The term ‘cricketers of the year’ is not same as ‘World Cricketers of the year’ if we take into account the prior knowledge that readers know that Wisden rewards English performance, county performance included though not this time, and thus there is no confusion that Wisden 5 are the best or top 5 in cricketing world. Quite likely that I too am not too clear about whether I managed to convey what I intended to 🙂

    • Just the fact they picked 5 English cricketers and almost no other international cricketer should have made it clear to anybody about what performance Wisden was referring to. When was the last time an English or Welsh player walked into a world XI?

      I mean Oscars are given only to movies released in US and probably the Booker is given only to books published in UK and once upon a time Azharuddin deservedly won the Wisden cricketer of the year award.

  6. Why do we crave recognition from White skinned guys still? I thought we got over that phobia long ago!!! Matt Prior getting the award for his ‘keeping’ skills shows up the ‘value’ of the award. The guy must be the worst Wicket Keeper in the world today

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  8. As much as I love hating on the English, and as happy as I was to see Sehwag get the award for 2 years running, I gotta say Mr Panicker I am disappointed in you. This is exactly the sort of comment from Indians that annoys me, and every year, without a doubt, you get one Indian writer who makes a comment like this.

    Prem, I am a HUGE fan of your work, and your blog is one of the few that is included in my daily morning ritual, but for the first time I am disappointed.

    Please see the following description – – and note that apart from it being based primarily on the English Summer and County Season (see the inclusion of one Dale Benkenstein last year), No player can win twice.

    So that leaves out Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Zaheer, Chanderpaul, Jayawardene, Yousuf, Murali… you get the picture. Furthermore for a season that in England, was dominated by England reclaiming the Ashes, do you think it is any surprise that all 5 cricketers were English?

    Please do not take my words to strongly, but I only needed to point out that all too often, we Indians are guilty of accusing racial bias when there is none. In cricket it is unfortunate that we are quite often correct in our accusation, but in this case, we are not. And it annoys me that EVERY summer, despite decades of Wisden tradition, some Indian writer is quick to jump the gun, and point fingers where there are none to be pointed.

    • Don’t recall bringing up the race thing, mate, and I did read the explanation. I merely wanted to make the point that when you say England cricketers of the year, that is one thing, and you are entitled to pick that lineup. But when you term it a pick of the world cricketers of the year — which you are doing because otherwise no one will bother — to then narrow the field is counter intuitive. And counter productive.

      • Sorry Prem, but apart from Sehwag, none of the players have the term “world” associated with them.

        Traditionally Wisden always pick always pick one “Leading Cricketer in the World”, and 5 “Cricketers of the year”. Even in other press releases etc which may be slightly different, they are referred to as the 5 “Wisden Cricketers of the year”, and the “World” tagline is never included.

        This paragraph describes it fairly well “Excellence in the previous English summer is the major criterion for inclusion in the Five, but not the only one. In fact, the award is a recognition of a player’s influence on the last English season, allowing Matthew Engel, editor of Wisden 1997, to select Sanath Jayasuriya, who had not played in England in the preceding year. However, his batting at the 1996 World Cup changed the shape of the one-day game for good.”

        • And also regarding the race thing, I do apologise. I was not trying to accuse one of crying racism, although thanks to my choice of words, it must have come across that way. What I was trying to point out is that almost every year, the Wisden announcement is followed by accusations of Wisden being biased towards, and overrating the achievements of English Players.

  9. Sure, Wisden is an English magazine, and they can choose who they like, but still it doesn’t mean we can’t take the mickey out of their selection 🙂 Save for Swann, the rest of the English selections are a joke ! If they can’t find 5 good choices, can’t they just stick to one !

    The selectors should ask – which of the four probable English cricketers of the year, would be picked in a world X1 ? If only they had done that, Swann would be the only pick !

    Lastly, Happy Vishu for the Mallu folks who visit this blog !

  10. Generally, 3 spots are allocated for English players and 1 each for a player from the 2 teams that generally tour England in a summer. Since WI were so shit last year in England, no-one from WI was considered.

    BTW, Prem, they only tacked a ‘world’ to the Leading Cricketer in the world award. They never put the word ‘world’ to the Cricketer of the year award. Except for about 10 years in the mid 90s to the early noughties, cricketers who didn’t play in the English summer were considered for the ‘Cricketer of the Year’. However, if I’m not mistaken, they stopped doing that sometime around 2001-2004 when they realized that there is a very minute chance that English cricketers will be recognised, so they reverted back to the old format.

    Anywayz, it is an English publication, so who are we to complain? Besides, it is very praiseworthy that Matt Prior was given recognition primarily for his wicket-keeping skills. Finally, a player is appreciated for his keeping skills rather than his batsman-keeping skills!

  11. off topic Prem but can you point me to your comments on what you think of Tharoor’s actions re the Kochi IPL?

  12. The performance in the English summer requirement is correct but I don’t think only one place is reserved for international cricketers.

  13. Ain’t Wisden’s cricketers of the year all picked for their performance in the English summer with only one reserved spot for an international cricketer? I know it is antiquated, but I guess that is the reason.

    • Yeah. Merely pointing out that there seems little point in tacking on a “world” to all this stuff.

      • Well Wisden is pretty old fashioned “England is still the centrepiece of the world” in such matters. I do remember the stink which had been caused a few years ago regarding the same. We had Navjot Singh Sidhu bellowing in a news channel about this as if it was a grave insult to India. The poor Cricinfo chap was almost pleading to be heard.
        These days at least they are acknowledging the international cricketers’ achievements outside the season.

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