The 141st edition, back under Matthew Engel's editorship, introduced a new accolade: Wisden's Leading Cricketer in the World. The first winner was Ricky Ponting, and there was a list of the Top Forty, based on their 2003 form. There were 14 Australians ... and only one West Indian. The new award allowed the Five Cricketers of the Year to be selected on the old yardstick of influence on the preceding English season: two South Africans - Graeme Smith and Gary Kirsten - were joined by Chris Adams (captain of first-time champions Sussex), Andrew Flintoff and Ian Harvey. Inside, the text was redesigned, and some records were transferred to Cricinfo, but the Editor's Notes remained as trenchant as ever. Engel denounced Zimbabwe as a "wretched tryanny", and then passed judgment on the Cricket Reform Group (led by the former England captains Mike Atherton and Bob Willis), which was advocating greater emphasis on club rather than county cricket: "I am gobsmacked that Mike and Bob expect English cricket to be more competitive by becoming more amateur."
Editor Matthew Engel