Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara has been adjudged the Leading Cricketer in the World for the year 2011 by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack - often referred to as the 'Bible of Cricket'.
The left-handed opener and wicket-keeper scored over 2,000 runs in international cricket last year, picking up five hundreds and 13 fifties in the process.
"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. For the first time since Wisden began naming a Leading Cricketer in the World in 2004, the recipient is also one of the Five Cricketers of the Year," a press release by Wisden said.
Wisden released its list of 'Five Cricketers of the Year' on Wednesday. Others who made it to the list are England's ODI captain Alastair Cook, England all-rounder Tim Bresnan, Lancashire bowler Glen Chapple and Worcestershire bowler Alan Richardson.
Cook compiled four international hundreds last summer, including 294 at Edgbaston - England's highest Test innings since 1990 - and reinvented himself as a one-day opener capable of scoring at a run a ball. When Cook took the field against Pakistan for the Second Test at Abu Dhabi in January, England fielded a complete XI of Wisden Cricketers of the Year for the first time since the 1958-59 Ashes.
Tim Bresnan touched the heights of a world-class all-rounder against India, hitting a powerful 90 to assert England's dominance at Trent Bridge, and taking 16 wickets at 16 apiece, including possibly the ball of the series to dismiss Rahul Dravid at Edgbaston.
Even at 37, Glen Chapple was the heart and soul of Lancashire's first outright County Championship win in 77 years, leading his side with verve to take 55 wickets at under 20 each, and bowling heroically through injury against Somerset on a memorable final day of the season.
Alan Richardson, the definitive unsung hero, almost single-handedly saved Worcestershire from relegation, taking 73 Division One wickets with his relentless fast-medium and bowling more overs than anyone in the country bar Monty Panesar.
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.