Two of Australia’s key Ashes performers, Ryan Harris and Chris Rogers, have been named on the list of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year.
England newcomer Joe Root, England women’s captain Charlotte Edwards and destructive India opener Shikhar Dhawan round out the list.
The cricketing bible included the two Australians on the list for their performances in Australia’s Ashes loss in England, but had harsh words for England’s form in the return match in Australia only months later.
“No sporting defeat is a disaster but 5-0 against a team that had won none of its previous nine Tests came close. This, then, was the worst result in England’s history,” it said.
Wisden also named South African fast bowler Dale Steyn its Leading Cricketer in the World.
This year, Steyn took 51 Test wickets in only nine games at an average of 17.
“Fast, penetrative and parsimonious, it was some combination,” Wisden said.
Wisden also addressed the game’s off-field issues, warning that international cricket is set for a future of “colonial-style divide and rule,” and will be “holding its breath” over the extent of Indian influence in the game.
In February, changes to the governance of the International Cricket Council (ICC), handed the majority of the powers and revenue to the sport’s ‘big three’ nations — India, Australia and England.
“Here was colonial-style divide and rule,” Wisden editor Lawrence Booth wrote.
“Cricket is appallingly administered, and is vulnerable to economic exploitation by the country (India) powerful enough to exploit it and the two countries (Australia and England) prepared to lend their plans credibility.
“As India prepare to take their ‘central leadership responsibility’, international cricket holds its breath.”
In spite of its words for Indian authorities, Wisden was kinder to Sachin Tendulkar, whose image adorns this year’s cover.
The 40-year-old India great announced his retirement from cricket in November, ending a remarkable career during which he became the world’s leading scorer in both Test and one-day cricket.
“Tendulkar played Test matches in front of the most demanding fans in the world for 24 years,” said Wisden, who compared his record with those of England captain Alastair Cook and Australia skipper Michael Clarke.
“If further proof was required of just how astonishing that was, it came at Perth in December, when for a few moments one Cook and one Clarke added up to exactly one Tendulkar: 200 Test caps, 15,921 runs and 51 hundreds.”