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Unprecedented double honours from Wisden for Sanga

Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara has achieved the unprecedented feat of being selected as both Wisden’s Leading International Cricketer in the World and one of its Five Cricketers of the Year, in the 2012 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, published in the UK on Thursday 12 April

In naming him Leading International Cricketer in the World for 2011, Wisden says: “In 2011, no one came close to matching the 2,267 runs Kumar Sangakkara scored in all international cricket. Overall, no one made more than Sangakkara’s five hundreds or his 13 fifties and he now stands alone in topping 1,000 runs in both Tests and one-day internationals in a single year on three occasions.

“But Sangakkara had other virtues too. He had adaptability, scoring Test centuries in the damp of Southampton and the humidity of South Africa, and compiling a double-hundred in the stifling heat of Abu Dhabi. He showed leadership, captaining Sri Lanka to the World Cup final and taking over again for the Rose Bowl Test in England. And, in earning a standing ovation for his MCC Cowdrey Lecture – he showed that a cricketer’s talents need not be limited to the field of play.”

Sangakkara is profiled in the 149th edition of the Almanack by David Hopps, who writes: “Two days after his { Cowdrey} Lecture, Sangakkara made 75 out of 174 in a one-dayer at Trent Bridge. It was a reminder that he had every right to comment on the iniquities of Sri Lankan cricket – a right conferred by 11 years as an international player, more than 18,000 runs, two years of captaincy, an intellectual’s grasp of his subject and a leader’s passion for the cause. Sangakkara had become a rare example of a sportsman who provided revelations on and off the field.”

The Five Cricketers of the Year are chosen by the editor of Wisden, and represent a tradition that dates back to 1889, making this the oldest individual award in cricket. Excellence in, or influence on, the previous English summer are the major criteria for inclusion as a Cricketer of the Year. No one can be chosen more than once.

Also named alongside Sangakkara as Cricketers of the Year are England players Alastair Cook and Tim Bresnan, Lancashire’s Championship-winning captain Glen Chapple and Worcestershire bowler Alan Richardson

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