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Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver and Anya Shrubsole honoured by Wisden

April 10, 2018
England trio Shrubsole (left), Heather Knight (centre) and Nat Sciver
Shrubsole (left), Knight (centre) and Sciver were all key to England Women winning the 2017 World Cup

England’s Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver and Anya Shrubsole are among Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year.

Shrubsole also becomes the first woman on the front cover of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack

All three were in the national side, captained by Knight, which beat India in the final to win the 2017 World Cup.

Essex seam bowler Jamie Porter and West Indies batsman Shai Hope complete the list.

Only two women had previously been chosen among Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year, with England’s Claire Taylor included in 2009 and compatriot Charlotte Edwards in 2014.

India captain Virat Kohli was named the leading cricketer in the world, while compatriot Mithali Raj was the world’s leading women’s cricketer.

In a new award, Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, 19, was declared the leading Twenty20 cricketer.

The coveted awards, which began in 1889, are a central feature of the annual Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

“It means a huge amount to me personally,” Shrubsole told BBC Sport. “What I feel most about it is it’s just such a great reflection of where women’s cricket is, and also how much that World Cup win really captured the nation.

“You could have put any number of people from that World Cup-winning team on the front cover and it would’ve had exactly the same impact.”

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Appearing on Wisden front cover is amazing – Shrubsole

ECB’s handling of Stokes ‘sad’

Wisden editor Lawrence Booth has criticised the England and Wales Cricket Board’s handling of Ben Stokes following an incident in September.

The England and Durham all-rounder was made unavailable for selection for the Ashes in Australia this winter after being accused of fighting outside a Bristol nightclub.

Stokes appeared in court in February charged with affray before joining up again with the England team during their tour of New Zealand.

Stokes denies the charge and a trial date has been set for 6 August.

“To suspend Stokes while he awaited the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service was reasonable enough,” said Booth.

“To lift the suspension the moment he was charged was perverse. It was all so sad.”

The Wisden Five – the editor’s verdict

Booth said Knight lifting the 2017 World Cup helped change women’s cricket forever, adding that her 364 runs at an average of 45 – including a century against Pakistan – were central to England’s success.

Booth was also full of praise for Sciver. He said: “No stroke in 2017 was more memorable than Nat Sciver’s deliberate deflection between her legs, instantly christened the Natmeg.

“But she was more than a one-trick pony. She hit 369 runs in the tournament at an average of 46 and a strike rate of 107, including hundreds against Pakistan and New Zealand, took three for three against West Indies and scored a half-century in the final against India.”

India were 191-3 as they chased 229 for victory before Shrubsole sparked a collapse by taking 5-11.

Shrubsole finished with figures of 6-46 – the best in a World Cup final – and also achieved “the status of a national hero”, added Booth.

Booth said West Indies batsman Hope “produced one of the individual performances of the year”. Hope became the first man in history to score a hundred in both innings of a first-class match at Headingley during the second Test against England.

Porter was the leading wicket-taker in County Championship Division One last season with 75 wickets to “inspire his team” to their first title since 1992.

The new Wisden 2018 front cover