Wisden accolade for Prior
Matt Prior may have just been overlooked by England for the ICC World Twenty20, but can be heartened that in Wisden’s renowned estimation he is one of the five outstanding cricketers of the past year.
England have preferred the talents of Craig Kieswetter to Prior’s as their batsman-wicketkeeper option at the top of the order in cricket’s shortest format.
But Prior’s contribution as England regained the Ashes in a rollercoaster series last summer has persuaded the publishers of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, whose 2010 edition - the 147th in its distinguished history - is available in the shops from tomorrow, that he is worthy of coveted inclusion among their Five Cricketers of the Year.
He is joined this year in the elite list - inaugurated in 1889 - by fellow Ashes winners Stuart Broad, Graham Onions - also absent from England’s current Twenty20 squad, but suffering with a back injury - and Graeme Swann.
The other name, in a category whose chief criterion is always the contenders’ influence on the previous English summer, is Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke.
Andrew Strauss, James Anderson and Swann are England's representatives in the Wisden Test XI alongside India batsman Virender Sehwag, who also becomes the first player to retain the title of the Leading Cricketer in the World since Wisden introduced the award six years ago.
Wisden editor Scyld Berry writes: “In 2009, Sehwag broke Test cricket’s sound barrier by scoring at more than a run a ball.”
The Test XI, however, does not include Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who loses his place from the inaugural line-up last year, along with Graeme Smith and Kevin Pietersen among others.
Other highlights in this year’s edition include England captain Strauss and team director Andy Flower’s attempts in their own words to explain the anomaly of how their team managed to beat Australia, even though many of the match-by-match statistics which usually attend victory were not in their favour.