The Five Wisden Cricketers of the Year have been announced in the 2024 edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, with Mitchell Starc, Usman Khawaja, Ash Gardner, Harry Brook and Mark Wood this year’s award winners.

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Pat Cummins and Nat Sciver-Brunt have been named the Leading Cricketers in the World while Travis Head has picked up the Wisden Trophy, awarded to the outstanding individual performance by a man or woman in a Test match during the previou calendar year, for his 163 against India in the World Test Championship final. While Hayley Matthews has been named the Leading T20 Cricketer in the world.

The Leading Cricketers in the World Award are chosen by the editor of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack in consultation with some of the world’s most experienced writers and commentators. Selection is based on a player’s performances in the previous calendar. Players may win the award more than once. The corresponding T20 award is judged by the same criteria but based on T20I performances, and may be won by a male or female player.

Khawaja’s win follows an outstanding Ashes series in England, which he finished as the leading run scorer, having scored 496 runs at an average of 49.60, including a century in the first Test at Edgbaston. He also scored a crucial 77 in the second innings at Lord’s which helped to secure a second consecutive victory for Australia in the first two matches of the series. Australia retained the Ashes following a rain-affected draw in Manchester, with the series finishing at 2-2.

Starc was the leading wicket-taker in last summer’s Ashes, taking 23 wickets across the series at an average of 27.08. His best performance was a five-wicket-haul in the final innings of the third Test at Headingley when England were chasing 250 to win on Day Four. While England eventually went on to win the match by three wickets, Starc’s five-for reduced them to 171-6 before they chased down the runs.

Gardner’s 12-wicket-haul in the Women’s Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last year was the second-best match figures ever in a women’s Test match. Her 8-66 in the fourth innings not only secured a win and a crucial four points in the multi-format series for Australia, but were the second-best bowling figures ever in a women’s Test behind only Neethu David’s 8-53 against England in Jamshedpur. Gardner took 23 wickets across the series, the most of any bowler.

Brook’s recognition follows several important innings in the men’s Ashes series, the stand out of which came on his home ground at Headingley. Following England’s Starc-induced collapse, Brook scored 75 runs off 93 balls to guide the side towards their target. By the time he was dismissed by Starc, England only needed another 21 runs to win. He also scored a half century in the first innings at Old Trafford, and a vital 85 in the first innings at The Oval which ensured England put together a decent first innings score.

Despite only playing the final three Test matches, Wood’s impact on the 2023 Ashes was remarkable. He took 14 wickets across those three games, but his most memorable spell was his first at Headingley. Bowling with devastating pace, he took five wickets included ripping through Australia’s tail in just 16 balls. In his four-over opening spell, no ball dropped below 91mph.

The Cricketer of the Year award is the oldest individual award in cricket and dates back to 1889. Selection is primarily based on performances in the previous English summer, which is judged as the major criteria for inclusion. No one can win the award more than once.

The 2024 Almanack has also named the Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year, with previous winners of the award including Jonny Bairstow, James Taylor and Jos Buttler. This year’s recipient is Ollie Sykes, who scored 935 runs and took 30 wickets for Tonbridge School across the season.

The Book of the Year award has gone to Sticky Dogs and Stardust: When Legends Played in the Leagues by Scott Oliver, which tells the stories of when icons of the game played in local cricket competitions. Arjun Singh has won the Photograph of the Year award for his picture of three Rajasthan Royals players clashing in the field.