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The Leading Cricketer in the World was instituted in Wisden 2004. Unlike Wisden's Cricketers of the Year, players can be chosen for this award more than once. The choice is based on a cricketer's class and form shown in all cricket during the calendar year. The selection is guided by statistics rather than governed by them, and is made by the editor of Wisden in consultation with many of the world's most experienced cricket writers and commentators.
A full list of past notional winners, backdated to 1900, was devised for Wisden 2007.
2007 J.H.Kallis South Africa
Hit 1,210 runs in nine Tests, and 987 in ODIs. Also took 20 wickets in Test and 19 in ODIs.
2006 M.Muralitharan Sri Lanka
Took 90 wickets in 11 Tests, including 60 in his last six.
2005 A.Flintoff England
Inspired England to Ashes triumph in Test cricket's greatest series.
2004 S.K.Warne Australia
Bounced back after drug ban to take 70 wickets in 12 Tests, ten of which were won.
2003 R.T.Ponting Australia
Scored 11 international hundreds, including a superb 140* in the World Cup final.
2002 M.L.Hayden Australia
In 11 Tests, hit 1,160 runs - and 878 more in one-day internationals.
2001 G.D.McGrath Australia
Took 68 wickets in 14 Tests, including 32 at 16.93 in yet another one-sided Ashes series.
2000 M.Muralitharan Sri Lanka
Collected 75 wickets in ten Tests, including 31 in Sri Lanka's three wins.
1999 S.R.Waugh Australia
Took over as captain, made 100 and 199 in West Indies - and then won the World Cup.
1998 S.R.Tendulkar India
Sixteen hundreds in all cricket, 12 of them in Tests or one-day internationals.
1997 S. K. Warne Australia
His 68 Test wickets in the year included 24 in another Ashes triumph.
1996 S.T.Jayasuriya Sri Lanka
Inspired Sri Lanka's World Cup victory, and reinvented the role of one-day opener.
1995 B.C.Lara West Indies
Rounded off England tour with 145, 152 and 179 in the last three Tests.
1994 B.C.Lara West Indies
Broke the records for the highest Test and first-class scores within two months.
1993 S.K.Warne Australia
Announced his arrival with The Ball to Mike Gatting and 33 more Ashes wickets.
1992 Wasim Akram Pakistan
The power behind Imran Khan's throne as Pakistan lifted the World Cup.
1991 C.E.L. Ambrose West Indies
Collected 28 wickets in drawn series in England, after 18 against Australia.
1990 G.A.Gooch England
Scored 1,058 runs in six Tests in England.
1989 A.R.Border Australia
Started year with a surprise 11 wickets v West Indies at Sydney, ended it with the Ashes.
1988 M.D.Marshall West Indies
Warmed up for another England massacre (35 wickets) with 15 against Pakistan.
1987 M.D.Crowe New Zealand
Prolific scorer against West Indies and Australia.
1986 M.D.Marshall West Indies
The ringleader (27 wickets) as England "blackwashed" again, then did well in Pakistan.
1985 R.J.Hadlee New Zealand
Took 33 wickets in three Tests in New Zealand's first series win against Australia.
1984 J.Garner West Indies
Irresistible against both Australia and England as West Indies won 11 Tests in a row.
1983 Kapil Dev India
All-round inspiration as India surprised West Indies and won the World Cup.
1982 Imran Khan Pakistan
Collected 21 wickets in three Tests in England after 14 in one against Sri Lanka.
1981 I.T.Botham England
His unforgettable summer. Turned the Ashes series on its head.
1980 I.V.A.Richards West Indies
Consistent scoring in Test series wins over Australia, England and Pakistan.
1979 G.S.Chappell Australia
Brilliant in World Series, and again when restored to Tests.
1978 I.V.A.Richards West Indies
Four centuries in the World Series "Super Tests" and 1,558 runs for Somerset.
1977 D.K.Lillee Australia
Took 41 wickets (11 in the Centenary Test) in five Tests before joining World Series Cricket.
1976 I.V.A.Richards West Indies
Scored 1,710 runs in Tests, a calendar-year record which stood until 2006.
1975 C.H.Lloyd West Indies
Led West Indies to success with a century in the first World Cup final.
1974 J.R.Thomson Australia
Stunned England with 24 wickets in the first three Ashes Tests.
1973 B.A.Richards South Africa
Imprisoned in domestic cricket, scored runs until he got bored.
1972 D.K.Lillee Australia
Beautiful action, and 31 wickets in the drawn Ashes series.
1971 M.J.Procter South Africa
Mighty all-rounder for Rhodesia and Gloucestershire.
1970 G.S.Sobers West Indies
A final fling, dominating his Rest of the World side as they beat England 4-1.
1969 R.G.Pollock South Africa
Six centuries in eight first-class games - just warming up for the 1970 Australians.
1968 G.S.Sobers West Indies
Majestic in defeat as England stole the series in the Caribbean.
1967 R.G.Pollock South Africa
Made 209, 67* and 105 as South Africa won a series v Australia for the first time
. 1966 G.S.Sobers West Indies
His greatest series: 722 runs at 103 and 20 wickets, v England and victorious captain too.
1965 G.S.Sobers West Indies
Added Test captaincy to his heavy load.
1964 G.S.Sobers West Indies
No Test cricket - but inspirational Shield performances.
1963 F.S.Trueman England
England's chief weapon against a powerful West Indian side with 34 wickets at 17.
1962 G.S.Sobers West Indies
After 424 runs and 23 wickets against India, he sparkled for South Australia.
1961 A.K.Davidson Australia
Plenty of wickets and timely runs in series victories over West Indies and England.
1960 G.S.Sobers West Indies
After 709 runs at 101 against England, scored 132 in the Brisbane Tied Test.
1959 R.Benaud Australia
Australia's new captain led them to a crushing 4-0 Ashes victory with 31 wickets
1958 G.S.Sobers West Indies
Beat Hutton's Test record with 365 not out against Pakistan at Kingston.
1957 P.B.H.May England
As captain of the world's No. 1 team, scored 285 not out v West Indies at Edgbaston.
1956 J.C.Laker England
Took 46 Ashes wickets, including the immortal 19 at Old Trafford.
1955 F.H.Tyson England
The "Typhoon" who shocked Australia with his pace, and helped retain the Ashes.
1954 C.L.Walcott West Indies
The most powerful of the Three Ws scored 698 runs against England at 87.25.
1953 A.V.Bedser England
Took 39 wickets - then a record - in the successful Ashes series against Australia
. 1952 L.Hutton England
Captain of England and, post-Bradman, the undisputed master batsman: 2,567 runs.
1951 K.R.Miller Australia
Starred with bat and ball as Australia retained the Ashes, then crushed West Indies.
1950 F.M.M. Worrell West Indies
The quiet genius behind West Indies' first series victory in England.
1949 L.Hutton England
England's top-order rock v South Africa and New Zealand - and 3,429 runs in England.
1948 D.G.Bradman Australia
His last hurrah: at 39, captain of the "Invincibles" and still the batsman supreme.
1947 D.C.S Compton England
Scored 3,816 runs, with 18 centuries, in the most gilded of all English batting summers.
1946 D.G.Bradman Australia
Returned to Test cricket with 187 v England at Brisbane, followed by 234 at Sydney.
1939 D.G.Bradman Australia
Made the most of limited opportunities - 997 runs in Australia at 199.40.
1938 D.G.Bradman Australia
Averaged 115.66, the highest-ever in an English season - and retained the Ashes too.
1937 D.G.Bradman Australia
Inspired a recovery from 2-0 down to win the Ashes 3-2 with scores of 270, 212 and 169.
1936 D.G.Bradman Australia
Back with a bang: started the year with 357 v Victoria, and rarely looked back.
1935 S.J.McCabe Australia
With Bradman ill, Australia's star in South Africa.
1934 D.G.Bradman Australia
On top again: 2,020 runs at 84 in England, after 253 and 128 in only two games at home.
1933 H.Larwood England
Bodyline's enforcer; he tamed Bradman and regained the Ashes.
1932 D.G.Bradman Australia
Hit 167 and 299* v South Africa on the way to 1,229 runs at 87 overall.
1931 D.G.Bradman Australia
Made 1,503 runs at 93, with 223 and 152 v West Indies and 226 and 112 v South Africa.
1930 D.G.Bradman Australia
The era begins. Scored 974 Ashes runs in England, still a record for a single Test series
1929 W.R.Hammond England
Made 2,456 runs at home after Ashes-winning performances in Australia.
1928 A.P.Freeman England
Rewrote the record books by taking 304 wickets in England, and 356 worldwide.
1927 W.H.Ponsford Australia
His 1,604 runs (average 145.81) included 437, 336 and 202.
1926 C.G.Macartney Australia
As a 40-year-old, he averaged 94 in the Ashes in England.
1925 J.B.Hobbs England His best home season (3,024 runs, 16 centuries) followed 401 Test runs in Australia.
1924 M.W.Tate England
At home collected 1,419 runs and 205 wickets, then took 11 in the First Test in Australia.
1923 E.H.Hendren England
Scored 3,010 runs at 77 in England.
1922 J.B.Hobbs England
Back to form after illness, he made 2,552 runs at 62.
1921 C.G.Macartney Australia
Made 3,147 runs in the year, helping Australia to home-and-away Ashes wins.
1920 H.L.Collins Australia
Australia's leading batsman as they headed for the first Ashes whitewash.
1919 J.M.Gregory Australia
The star of the Australian Forces side in England: 131 wickets, 942 runs, 44 catches.
1914 J.B.Hobbs England
Scored 2,697 runs in England, to follow 827 in South Africa.
1913 S.F.Barnes England
Took 27 wickets in two Tests in South Africa (on his way to 49 in four).
1912 S.F.Barnes England
Dominant in Australia, then 34 wickets in three home Tests v South Africa.
1911 V.T.Trumper Australia
Started the year with 159 and 214* v South Africa, and ended it with 113 v England.
1910 G.A.Faulkner South Africa
With 545 runs and 29 wickets, inspired his side to a home series victory over England.
1909 W.Rhodes England
Scored 2,094 runs and took 141 wickets in England.
1908 M.A.Noble Australia
As captain and all-rounder, he led his side to a 4-1 Ashes victory.
1907 A.E.E.Vogler South Africa
South Africa's first great googly bowler took 119 wickets at 15 on tour in England.
1906 G.H.Hirst England
Achieved unique double double: 2,385 runs and 208 wickets in English season.
1905 Hon.F.S.Jackson England
Led England to the Ashes - and topped the Test batting and bowling averages.
1904 B.J.T.Bosanquet England
The inventor of the googly won the decisive Ashes Test at Sydney with a spell of 5-12.
1903 C.B.Fry England
Scored 2,683 runs.
1902 V.T.Trumper Australia
Two brilliant, match-winning, Ashes innings and 3,220 runs in all.
1901 C.B.Fry England
Scored 3,147 runs, culminating in a record six successive centuries.
1900 K.S.Ranjitsinhji England
Reached 3,000 runs in an English season - for the second year running.