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Compton earns Wisden honour

Somerset CCC

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England batsman Nick Compton has been named as one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year, joining his grandfather Denis who earned the accolade in 1939.

Compton is the solitary Englishman to receive the prestigious nod, which can only be given to an individual once in their career.

South African trio Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn join Compton, as does West Indian Marlon Samuels, while Australia captain Michael Clarke was named leading cricketer in the world.

The cricketers of the year are nominated for their achievements in the previous English summer, with the Proteas players rewarded for their 2-0 Test series win over a home side they ultimately replaced as world number ones.

Samuels, meanwhile, joined them having excelled for West Indies earlier in the summer in the face of defeat.

For Compton, though, it is recognition of a stunning season for Somerset in the county game.

A late bloomer with a great lineage to live up to, 29-year-old Compton amassed 1,494 first-class runs last term - averaging a remarkable figure of 99.6.

Nick Compton

Nick Compton has been recognised for his wonderful form in the 2012 English summer, which saw him amass 1,494 first-class runs at 99.6

Compton almost became the first man since 1988 to break 1,000 first-class runs before the end of May - indeed only rain at New Road denied him that - and made hay on early-season surfaces that provided assistance to seam bowlers.

Of course, as well as a cricketer of the year award, Compton’s form also earned an England call for the winter tours of India and New Zealand and he looks to have cemented his place as Andrew Strauss' replacement in time for a first Ashes this summer.

Of the overseas contingent, the inclusion of Kallis is most surprising. Not because he was deemed worthy, but the fact it had not already happened before.

The 37-year-old all-rounder is a colossus of the modern game and a key part of the South Africa side who so skilfully defeated England on their own turf on their way to becoming the world's number one Test side.

Amla and Steyn are equally strong picks, the key batsman and key bowler in Graeme Smith’s formidable unit.

Samuels, meanwhile, has a fitting memento from a summer where he entertained as much in his press conferences as he did at the crease and inarguably came of age as a cricketer.

Clarke's extraordinary batting feats make him a worthy choice as leading cricketer in the world, a relatively new award given here for the 10th time.

Eight others have won it - with Virender Sehwag doing so twice - including two other Australians in Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting.

:: The 150th edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack is available tomorrow. For more information, visit www.wisden.com.

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