Home » Two Bazballers in Wisden’s cricketers of the year as Nat Sciver-Brunt scoops landmark award

Two Bazballers in Wisden’s cricketers of the year as Nat Sciver-Brunt scoops landmark award

No one can be named one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year more than once. Ashleigh Gardner, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Starc, who all starred in the women’s or men’s Ashes series, also received the award, with no player recognised for their exploits in domestic English cricket. There are no limits on players being named Leading Cricketer in the World on multiple occasions.

In his Editor’s Notes, Lawrence Booth called on administrators to do more to safeguard the health of Test cricket around the world. The increasingly saturated global calendar has created intense pressure on the future of the Test game. 

In February, South Africa sent the equivalent of a C team to their series in New Zealand, with the board ruling that players could only be selected if they were unwanted for South Africa’s franchise T20 competition.

Booth called on global administrators to distribute funds according to “need, not greed” to protect the Test game, particularly highlighting the plight of West Indies. Under a new ICC distribution model, agreed last year, India will receive 38.5 per cent of all ICC funding, while England receive 6.9 per cent, the second highest amount. 

These countries already have access to lucrative broadcasting markets for their home internationals. West Indies, in contrast, are hampered by the small size of the Caribbean market, yet only receive 4.6 per cent of ICC funding, further increasing the gap with other nations.

‘Cricket in dreary thrall to market forces’

“In the era of global television, the West Indians have been hardest hit among the major Test teams,” Booth writes. “That made the ICC’s redistribution of funds in July all the harder to stomach.

“An annual handout of $230m is chicken feed for India; for everyone else, it is unimaginable riches.

“Yet this is where cricket finds itself, in dreary thrall to the notion that market forces must be obeyed, while patronising the West Indian game with back-handed compliments, when what it needs is hard cash. There’s plenty of that in cricket’s central pot. Is it really beyond the wit of the administrators to distribute it according to need, not greed?”

Booth also hailed England’s dynamic cricket in the Ashes. But for rain at Old Trafford, when England were in command of the fourth Test, the hosts might have become only the second team in Test history to win a series from 2-0 down.

“Ashes cricket has traditionally been a study in national stereotypes: Australia throw punches, England parry. But the roles were reversed last summer, and then some.

“The scoreline was almost secondary. For the first time since English cricket vanished behind a paywall, it felt like the people’s sport: Bazball was on their lips and, before long, in the Collins Dictionary.”