Cummins heads five Australians honoured by Wisden

Pat Cummins has become the first Australian since 2012 to be named Wisden's leading cricketer in the world.

Other Aussies honoured by cricket's 'Bible' are Travis Head, for the year's best performance in Test matches, and Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Starc and Ashleigh Gardner, who are among the almanack's five cricketers of the year.

Cummins led his country to success in both the World Test Championship and 50-over World Cup. He succeeds Ben Stokes, who has landed the prestigious title three times in the last four years. The last Australian to garner the accolade was Michael Clarke.

Head won the Wisden Trophy for Test performance of the year for what editor Lawrence Booth described "his pulsating 163 off just 174 balls [which] helped Australia take control of the World Test Championship final against India at The Oval."

Travis Head.
Travis Head hits a six at The Oval during the innings selected as Test performance of the year.

There was also a distinct Ashes flavour to the historic cricketers of the year panel, the coveted once-in-a-career award dating back to 1889 and focused on performances during the preceding English summer.

Gardner was the sole player from the Women's Ashes chosen.

"Having been player of the tournament as Australia won the T20 World Cup in South Africa, Ashleigh Gardner enjoyed a central role in their retention of the Ashes, helping them to victory in the Test match at Trent Bridge with 12 wickets for her off-breaks – the second-best analysis in women’s Test history," said Booth.

Ashleigh Gardner.
Ashleigh Gardner batting against South Africa in the Women's T20 World Cup semi-final in Cape Town.

The editor added, "Usman Khawaja was a thorn in the side of England’s bowlers throughout the Ashes, facing 1263 balls and scoring 496 runs, in each case the highest tally of the series. Without his double of 141 and 65 at Edgbaston, where he batted on all five days, Australia might not have retained the urn."

"Mitchell Starc took more wickets in the Ashes – 23 – than anyone, despite missing the opening game. His pair of three-fors helped win the Second Test at Lord’s, and he bowled beautifully to take seven wickets at Headingley and eight at The Oval."

Besides the trio of Australians England Test duo Mark Wood and Harry Brook were recognised.

The women's award for leading cricketer went to Nat Sciver-Brunt, the first Englishwomen to win an award previously dominated by Australians. West Indies' Hayley Matthews became the first woman to be named leading T20 cricketer of the year, an award open to either gender and now in its seventh year.

Booth has also made a wry observation, in the famed Editor's Notes, on how Bazball has overturned convention in the Ashes' Anglo-Australian cricketing relationship.

"Ashes cricket has traditionally been a study in national stereotypes: Australia throw punches, England parry," he writes.

"But the roles were reversed last summer, and then some. As the two captains stood inThe Oval sunshine at the end of a pulsating 2-2 draw, they personified the contrast: the matinee-idol clean shave of Pat Cummins, framed by his Baggy Green and cricket whites; and, beside him, beneath a bucket hat, the bearded Ben Stokes, tattooed biceps bulging from a blue gilet. England oozed rebellion, Australia convention."

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