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Kallis wins Wisden’s leading player award

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kallisJacques Kallis, the South Africa allrounder, has been named the Leading Cricketer in the World for 2007, as the 145th edition of the Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack prepares to hit the bookshelves.

Kallis becomes the fifth recipient of the award, which was introduced in 2004, after Australians Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne, Andrew Flintoff of England and, last year, Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka. The Almanack, which is published today, awarded Kallis the prize for his 1210 Test runs at 86.42; last year and 20 wickets at 25.75.

Peter Roebuck, in his article on Kallis, said 2007 was the year “he cut loose, the year he dared to dominate a match and even a series, after his omission from the World Twenty20″, while labelling him “the first indisputably great African cricketer of the post-apartheid era”.

Meanwhile, Ian Bell, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ottis Gibson, Ryan Sidebottom and Zaheer Khan were named as the five Cricketers of the Year for their achievements in the English season in 2007. Bell arrived in both Tests and one-dayers, revealing genuine class; Gibson revelled in the autumn of his career with an outstanding season for Durham, culminating in 10 for 47 against Hampshire while Zaheer and Sidebottom led the left-armer’s renaissance. Chanderpaul stood head and shoulders above any of his West Indian peers, averaging 148 in the three Tests against England.

Editing the Almanack for the first time, Scyld Berry is forthright in his call for the ICC to take greater responsibility over the safety of players. Physical violence, he says, is threatening to take over the tradition non-contact game of cricket and the ICC “must be no less effective in preventing physical violence. For once this taboo is broken, it could rapidly spread, just as sledging - sustained personal abuse - has spread from international teams downwards”.

Elsewhere in the broad-ranged Editor’s Notes, Berry questions why the batsmen of today cannot hit the ball as far as their Victorian counterparts. The biggest ever hit of 175 yards, or 160 metres, was recorded at Oxford in 1856 “from hit to pitch” by Walter Fellows; the Australian George Bonnor struck a ball 160 yards a few years later. Yet the biggest strike in last year’s inaugural World Twenty20 championship, by India’s Yuvraj Singh, was only 119 metres. Berry offers a possible explanation in a piece entitled “Hail Fellows, well hit”.

Wisden also look at five great cricketers who were never selected as Cricketers of the Year - which include Abdul Qadir, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Wes Hall - and they introduce a new award, the Young Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year.

Source:Cricket News

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