Wisden Cricketers of the Year 2014: Shikhar Dhawan, Joe Root on List of 5 Names

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2014

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 25:  Shikhar Dhawan of India bats during the One Day International match between New Zealand and India at Eden Park on January 25, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

Shikhar Dhawan has been named alongside England's Joe Root on Wisden's five-strong list for Cricketers of the Year, confirming a stellar summer last year for both opening batsmen.

The duo are joined by Three Lions women's captain Charlotte Edwards, as well as Australian pair Ryan Harris and Chris Rogers.

Sky Sports led with details on Root's inclusion, confirming he receives the prize after a sudden emergence as one of England's top batsmen:

The almanack, published on Wednesday, said: "Two memorable innings helped Joe Root become the leading English batsman in the national averages."

"He was the first Yorkshire player to make his maiden Test century at Headingley when he took 104 off New Zealand in May, and he then became the youngest England batsman to score an Ashes hundred at Lord's - with 180 in July."

ANTIGUA, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA - FEBRUARY 25:  Joe Root of England bats during the tour match between University of West Indies Vice Chancellor's XI and England XI at Sir Viv Richards Cricket Ground on February 25, 2014 in Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda.  (Ph
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Similar to Root, Dhawan's prominence has been an extremely important factor in a transitioning team. India were forced to deal with the retirements of key players such as Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid throughout 2012-13, signalling the time for other individuals to lead.

Dhawan's aggressive, "swashbuckling" nature allowed him to finish India's victorious ICC Champions Trophy campaign as leading run-scorer, reported by the Press Trust of India (via The Times of India), who detailed the intricacies of Wisden's award:

The Cricketer of the Year is chosen by the editor of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, based on their "excellence in, or performance on, the previous English summer". It can be won only once in a player's career.

Despite Dhawan suffering a loss of form in recent times, he is good value for the prestigious prize that dates back to 1899. The 28-year-old is in established company, too, as Charlotte Edwards becomes only the second female to land such recognition after leading England to consecutive Ashes series victories over Australia last year, per Sky Sports.

Despite Australia's male side losing one of their last two Ashes schedules, both Ryan Harris and Chris Rogers joined the list after playing with real confidence throughout.

Harris racked up five wickets during the first series' second Test in England, while he also managed seven second-innings scalps during the fourth Test at Durham, which helped him to the top of the wickets chart with 24 scalps. He finished the second series with 22 wickets across five matches, second only to Mitchell Johnson.

Rogers posted an average of 40.77 runs during the summer on his return to international cricket, while he played a key role in Australia's reclaiming of the famous urn. His performances in the summer earned himself a place on Wisden's list with a number of top quality and consistent appearances.

Famous past winners of the award include W.G. Grace, Ian Botham, Brian Lara, Kevin Pietersen and Ricky Ponting. While the likes of Dhawan and Root have some way to go before their careers emulate the output of those legends, Wisden's acknowledgement is a marker of their progress across the summer.

The triumphant quintet will be itching to continue improving throughout the rest of 2014, especially now their names have been added to the "who's who" list of cricket.