LONDON: Ben Stokes has been named men’s Leading Cricketer in the World in the 2023 edition of the Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack, published on Tuesday. Stokes, who achieved the honour in 2020 and 2021 for his performance with bat and ball, has made it three wins in four years primarily off the back of his leadership. Since being appointed as Test captain at the start of last summer, the 31-year-old has overseen a dramatic shift in the team’s fortunes, inspiring them to 10 wins in 12. Wins against New Zealand, India and South Africa, then successes on the tours of Pakistan — England became the first side to win 3-0 — and New Zealand, put Stokes in exalted company. Not only did he achieve 10 wins quicker than any previous England captain – Michael Vaughan was the previous quickest to the mark, from 16 matches — but the feat equalled that of Australia’s Lindsay Hassett, who had previously stood alone with 10 from 12. The revitalisation was much needed after England’s run of one victory in the previous 17 Tests before Stokes’ appointment. The allrounder also averaged 40 with the bat and 25.66 with the ball that summer, going on to help England to the T20 World Cup in October, dragging the team over the line in a final yet again. “It’s hard to think of any other cricketer who could have transformed his team’s fortunes so suddenly as Ben Stokes,” Lawrence Booth, Wisden’s editor, said. “When he took over the Test captaincy, England had won one game in their previous 17. By the time they had become the first visiting side to win 3-0 in Pakistan, they had won nine out of ten, and were playing with unprecedented style and verve. And he was forceful with both bat and ball, scoring a series-turning century against South Africa in Manchester. Later in the year, he steered England to the T20 World Cup with the defining innings of the final against Pakistan in Melbourne – the icing on the cake for a cricketer who has transformed the way the game is played.” The part played by Brendon McCullum, instilled by new men’s director of cricket Rob Key, is also credited by Booth, particularly the “pursuit of fun really did trump fear of failure”. Beyond the results, the shift was clear. They left 2022 having struck 89 sixes (65 under Stokes) — the most of any team in a calendar year. Booth hopes “Bazball” will revive more than a team given the nature of the 2023-27 Future Tours Programme. Jonny Bairstow, widely acknowledged as the heartbeat of the Bazball movement with 681 runs last summer, becomes the first recipient of the new Wisden Trophy for outstanding individual Test performance, by a man or woman. Bairstow earned the prize with his performance against India at Edgbaston with hundreds in both innings, the second allowing England to chase down a national record target of 378. The silver trophy was previously given to the winners of England-West Indies Test series from 1963 onwards before it was replaced by the Richards-Botham trophy in 2020. Surrey wicketkeeper Ben Foakes and Durham seamer Matthew Potts are two representatives of that team named among Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year — an honour a player can only win once in their career and which is judged by their performance during the English home season.