Murali named ODI cricketer of the 2000 decade | Sunday Observer

Murali named ODI cricketer of the 2000 decade

18 April, 2021

Ex-Sri Lanka spin bowling wizard Muttiah Muralidaran has been named as ODI cricketer of the 2000s in the 2021 edition of the Wisden Almanack, published on Thursday (April 15).

In marking 50 years of ODI cricket Wisden Almanack named its greatest players for each decade, where Murali has been named best in 2000s. Other selected cricketers are Viv Richards (1970s), Kapil Dev (1980s), Sachin Tendulkar (1990s), and Virat Kohli (2010s)

Ben Stokes has been chosen as Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World for the second consecutive year while 44 year-old Darren Stevens of Kent has been named one of the Five Cricketers of the Year, the fourth oldest in the publication’s history. The Leading Woman Cricketer in the World was awarded to Australian batter Beth Mooney.

Stevens is joined on the list by West Indian all-rounder Jason Holder, Pakistani wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan and two of England’s new-look top order, Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley. Excellence in, or influence on, the previous English summer are the major criteria for inclusion on the list and no player can be chosen more than once. The Leading T20 Cricketer in the World is West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard.

Stokes, who was ruled out of the IPL earlier this week having broken a finger on his left hand, was chosen after a year in which he averaged 58 with the bat in Test cricket - better than any other player - and just 19 with the ball. He becomes the first England player to be named Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World more than once following his award in 2020 for his World Cup and Ashes heroics.

Mooney, who was named the Belinda Clark Medallist at the Australia Cricket Awards in February, was the player of the tournament at the T20 World Cup last March - she scored an unbeaten half-century in the final against India and averaged 64 across the tournament - as well as the leading run scorer in the Women’s Big Bash.

In just five Bob Willis Trophy matches last season, Stevens took 29 wickets, performances which earned him a contract extension at Kent and confirmed his status as one of the best new ball bowlers in the country. He is the oldest player to be named one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year since 1933, when Leicestershire’s all-rounder Ewart Astill won it. Stevens shows no signs of slowing down either, having scored a hundred in Kent’s opening Championship game last week,

Pollard, the West Indian T20 skipper, was described as taking “T20 hitting to new heights in 2020”. He scored 59 sixes across his T20 matches at a rate of one every 5.5 balls. His strike rate for the year was 199 and he averaged 53. He won two titles as well, the Caribbean Premier League with the Trinbago Knight Riders and the Indian Premier League with Mumbai Indians.

This year’s Wisden is the 158th edition and it can rarely have reported on a year quite like the one just gone. The coronavirus pandemic meant there was less cricket in 2020 than there would otherwise have been and as Booth writes: “Cricket, like everything else, had its heart ripped out...It lost family and friends. (Cricbuzz)

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