Wisden refuses to honour tainted player


LONDON – The Wisden Cricketers Almanack has broken with more than 80 years of tradition by naming only four Cricketers of the Year in its latest edition instead of its usual five.
Since 1926 the cricketing bible has named five players who had the biggest impact on the English summer in its annual edition but reduced the number this year to reflect last year’s spot-fixing scandal.
Three Pakistan players — Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir, and Salman Butt — were embroiled in the scandal and later suspended by the International Cricket Council. Asif was banned for seven years, with two suspended, Amir banned for five years and Butt 10 years, with half suspended.
Wisden would not say which of the Pakistan players would have been included on the list but it is likely to have been Amir, the bowling sensation who was the star of last year’s series against England.
“The fifth Cricketer of the Year, I can reveal, was going to be one of three Pakistan players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir – until they were banned by the ICC’s independent tribunal for the bowling of deliberate no-balls in the fourth Test at Lord’s,” Wisden editor Scyld Berry said in a column in The Telegraph newspaper.
“Which one of the three was selected? I am not going to say because it would not be in keeping with cricket’s tradition of fairness. “If (the player in question) were exonerated, then it would be possible to reconsider the position. “That’s why I didn’t pick anyone else instead. But as things stand, we don’t feel we can choose him. It’s all very sad.”
The news overshadowed the nominees who do make the reduced list — Tamim Iqbal, Eoin Morgan, Chris Read and Jonathan Trott. Bangladeshi Tamim and Irishman Morgan are the first players from their respective countries to make the list while Read is recognised for his role in Nottinghamshire’s march to the County Championship.
Trott was honoured after a prolific year in Test and one-day cricket for England in his first full year as an international. The Wisden Cricketers of the Year dates back to 1889 and is bestowed upon players who made the biggest impact during the previous English summer.