Lyth and Ballance enter hall of fame

YORKSHIRE’S Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance are among Wisden’s ‘Five Cricketers of the Year.’

Gary Ballance
Gary Ballance

They join England all-rounder Moeen Ali, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews and New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel in this year’s hall of fame.

Yorkshire opening batsman Lyth was the leading run-scorer in the County Championship last summer with 1,489 at an average of 67.

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He was one of the pillars of his team’s triumph and was rewarded with a place on England’s current tour of the West Indies.

Ballance, who is also on the tour, began the 2014 summer with a century in his first home Test, against Sri Lanka at Lord’s.

He followed up with two more against India – at Lord’s and Southampton - and, by the end of the season, boasted a Test average of over 60.

Moeen Ali lit up the summer with 12 wickets in the Southampton and Manchester Tests against India, finishing the series with 19 at 23 apiece.

Earlier in the season he had almost saved the Headingley Test against Sri Lanka, batting for all bar one ball of the final day.

And, when he was promoted to open for the one-day side, he scored the third-fastest hundred by an England batsman, from 72 balls against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Mathews was the inspiration behind Sri Lanka’s first Test series victory in England.

After helping to save the First Test at Lord’s with a century, he made 160 – and took four wickets – as Sri Lanka came from behind to win in Leeds.

Mathews also led his team to wins in the one-day series and the one-off Twenty20 international.

Patel was central to Warwickshire’s success across all three formats.

He claimed 107 victims in total, more than anyone in the country, and his 25 wickets in the NatWest T20 Blast – the most in the competition – helped his side lift the trophy on home turf at Edgbaston.

The Five Cricketers of the Year are chosen by the editor of Wisden, and represent a tradition that dates back to 1889, making it the oldest individual award in cricket.

Excellence in, or influence on, the previous English summer are the major criteria for inclusion, and no one can be chosen more than once.