Sam Curran’s meteoric rise has continued after the 20-year-old all-rounder was named among Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year, the youngest Englishman to do so in a century.
Curran, who does not turn 21 until June, joined England team-mate Jos Buttler, his Surrey skipper Rory Burns, the prolific Tammy Beaumont and India captain Virat Kohli in being honoured in the prestigious almanack’s 156th edition.
Players can only receive Wisden’s nod of approval, awarded primarily for feats achieved during the preceding English domestic season, once in their career. Of all England-qualified players only Jack Crawford, in 1907, was crowned at a younger age than Curran, while schoolboy cricketers were honoured in 1918 and 1919 due to the First World War.
Twelve months ago Curran was still emerging as a hotly-tipped prospect at the Kia Oval, but after making his international bow went on to become man-of-the-series in Tests against India, earned his ODI debut and went on to clinch an £800,000 Indian Premier League deal. A hat-trick on his second appearance for Kings XI Punjab suggested that may have been money well spent on one of the game’s rising stars.
Wisden editor Lawrence Booth, speaking ahead of Thursday’s publication, said: “Sam Curran was central to England’s 4–1 Test win over India, the world’s number one ranked side, turning the games at Edgbaston and Southampton with hard-hit half-centuries. He also removed India’s top three in eight balls at Edgbaston, and continued his form in Sri Lanka with a six-filled 64 in Pallekele.”
Buttler joins Curran, having continued to be an integral part of England’s superb limited-overs team while also excelling on his unexpected and unequivocally successful return to the Test arena.
He scored more runs than any of his colleagues following his recall in the five-day format, including a maiden hundred against the Indians at Trent Bridge. Lauded in Wisden for his ability to perform a variety of roles across all three formats, Buttler is expected to play a leading role in the forthcoming World Cup, which England host as hot favourites.
Burns joined the duo in the Test side during the winter tour to Sri Lanka but can attribute his elevation to success on the county circuit, where he passed 1,000 first-class runs for the season and, most importantly, led Surrey to the Division One title.
Beaumont’s moment might feel somewhat belated, coming a year later than her fellow 2017 World Cup winners Heather Knight, Anya Shrubsole and Nat Sciver, but is richly deserved after another productive campaign.
Not only did the 28-year-old score England Women’s fastest Twenty20 hundred, in just 47 balls, she also set a new record for total runs scored in a summer, 628.
Kohli, the sport’s biggest star, is the only overseas name among the quintet. He put to bed questions over his ability to play the moving ball in English conditions in defiant fashion despite leading his country in a losing cause, topping the Test run charts with an aggregate of 593 and two tons.
The 30-year-old also made it an unprecedented three years in a row as the publication’s leading male cricketer of the year, his 2,735 runs in all formats outstripping nearest rival Joe Root by more than 700.
Smriti Mandhana, also of India, scooped the corresponding women’s award, with Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan retaining his title as leading Twenty20 cricketer in the world.
:: Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2019, the 156th edition, is published on April 11.