The most recent recipients of cricket’s oldest individual accolade, Jasprit Bumrah, Devon Conway, Ollie Robinson, Rohit Sharma and Dane van Niekerk have been named as Wisden Cricketers of the Year for 2022.
The continuation of a tradition that dates back to 1889, selection as one of the Five Cricketers of the Year is recognition of excellence in the previous English summer. At the discretion of the Wisden editor, Lawrence Booth also considers influence on the last English season, which can broaden the scope for selection.
The Five Cricketers of the Year: Image via @Wisden_cricket Instagram
Open to men and women, players can only be chosen once over the course of a career. A rule with two notable exceptions, Sir Pelham Warner was named a Cricketer of the year in 1904 before being singled out for a tribute in 1921, while Sir Jack Hobbs was selected in 1909 and awarded a solo tribute in 1926.
2022 marks the first time in the history of the award that two Indian players have been named in the same year. Jasprit Bumrah and Rohit Sharma both played leading roles in India’s tour to England last year – helping the visitors to a 2-1 lead in a series that will conclude in July.
Bumrah, who has impressed ever since his Test debut in 2018, produced a pair of match-winning performances at Lord’s and The Oval and his 18 wickets leads all-comers for India throughout the series. Rohit meanwhile, was a shining light for the visitors at the top of the order. Finding rhythm away from home, the hard-hitting opener amassed 368 runs at 52.57 across four Tests; his 127 at The Oval a particular highlight.
New Zealander Devon Conway took to Test cricket with relative ease last English summer. His indomitable 200 at Lord’s a remarkable achievement – he became the first player in history to reach a double century on debut in England. Setting an overwhelming precedent, the opener followed it up with 80 in the second Test and a further half-century in the World Test Championship Final in Southampton.
Fellow Test debutant in 2021, Ollie Robinson made a strong start to his international career with the ball. Starting out with seven wickets in his first outing at Lord’s, he would finish the summer as England’s leading wicket-taker with 28.
Dane van Niekerk was the shining light in the inaugural edition of The Hundred. Captain of the Oval Invincibles, she led her side to the title, while impressing with both bat and ball herself. Voted Player of the Tournament, the South-African was the leading run-scorer with 259 and also managed eight wickets.
Since 2004, Wisden has accompanied the Cricketers of the Year with a nomination for the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World. Recognition of performances anywhere in the world across the previous twelve months, Joe Root and Lizelle Lee were named in 2022. The pair each enjoyed a stunning twelve months with bat in hand; Root recording 1,708 Test runs, while Lee averaged more than 90 across the year in One Day Internationals.
Sir Donald Bradman was named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1931. At the age of just twenty-two, his nomination came after his first Test tour to England – the 1930 Ashes where he re-wrote the record books. A dominant series in which he made 974 runs – including two double centuries and a triple century – Bradman’s record from that summer still stands as the most runs in an Ashes series.
Bradman acknowledges the crowd in Leeds on his way to 334. Image: Tim Wall, Bradman Museum Collection
Celebrating his achievements in the 1931 edition of Almanack, it was accurately observed that: “Not yet 23, Bradman should have years of cricket in front of him and, judging by what he has already accomplished, there would seem to be no limit to his possibilities.”
Moreover, Bradman was named as one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Century in 2000. Along with Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs, Sir Vivian Richards and Shane Warne, the quintet were celebrated for their remarkable achievements and universal prominence.