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Nat Sciver-Brunt & Pat Cummins named Wisden’s leading cricketers in the world



Nat Sciver-Brunt and Pat Cummins
Nat Sciver-Brunt and Pat Cummins have both been named as the leading cricketer in the world for the first time

England all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt and Australia captain Pat Cummins have been named as the leading cricketers in the world by Wisden.

England’s Harry Brook and Mark Wood are among the five Cricketers of the Year.

They are joined by Australian trio Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Starc and Ashleigh Gardner.

Another Australian, batter Travis Head, wins the Wisden Trophy for Test performance of the year following his 163 off 174 balls in the Test Championship final victory over India at The Oval in June.

The awards come as this year’s Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack is released this week.

Sciver-Brunt, 31, was the “dominant batter in women’s cricket”, according to Wisden editor Lawrence Booth. She made three centuries in five one-day internationals, including two in three days during the Ashes and another off just 66 balls against Sri Lanka.

As well as securing two global titles for his county, 30-year-old fast bowler Cummins led Australia to retaining the Ashes in England, partly thanks to his late-order batting in a thrilling run-chase in the first Test at Edgbaston.

The five Cricketers of the Year are chosen by the Wisden editor, a tradition that dates back to 1889. Performances in the English summer are a major factor and no player can win the award more than once.

Batter Brook, 25, made four half-centuries during the Ashes, while 34-year-old pace bowler Wood’s inclusion in the England side from the third Test onwards helped the hosts come from 2-0 down to draw 2-2.

Opener Khawaja’s 496 runs was the most on either side and left-arm pace bowler Starc took more wickets – 24 – than any other bowler in the series.

All-rounder Gardner was player of the tournament in the Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa, then took 12 wickets in the match as Australia won the sole Test in the Women’s Ashes.

West Indies’ all-rounder Hayley Matthews becomes the first woman to be named the leading T20 cricketer in the world after being named player of the match in eight consecutive games, breaking the previous record of four.

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Real Madrid and Kylian Mbappe – a Champions League combination?



Playing against Bondy’s best was no mean feat given the tally of professional footballers among their alumni – which includes Arsenal defender William Saliba – is in double figures.

Project Mbappe didn’t stop there.

While a teenage Mbappe pinned up pictures of Ronaldo and watched old footage of Zinedine Zidane, another Real Madrid superstar, there was a third role model far closer to home – Jires Kembo Ekoko, his adopted brother.

Ekoko was taken in by Mbappe’s parents when he was nine and was selected for the French Federation’s national academy at Clairefontaine before playing professionally for Rennes in Ligue 1.

Ekoko was more than a decade older than Mbappe but had a big impact.

At the age of six, Mbappe had learned the French national anthem, explaining to his teacher that “one day, I’ll play in the World Cup for France”.

It wasn’t only Wilfried and Fayza who believed Mbappe was destined for big things.

Nike came calling with free shoes when he was just 10. A little over six years later, he made his first-team debut for Monaco. But the progress between those two points was not smooth.

Allan Momege was a classmate of Mbappe at Clairefontaine.

“At the time I met him, he wasn’t the player who impressed me the most,” Momege says of Mbappe in the BBC Sport documentary.

“He didn’t stand out for me as a player during the trials. The first time I saw him play, I didn’t think, ‘Wow!’

“There were regional selections and Kylian wasn’t in the best team.”

Matt Spiro, an author and French football expert, echoes Momege.

“Kylian initially found it a bit difficult at Clairefontaine,” he says. “He was there for two years and during the first year, he certainly wasn’t the best in his group. I think even Kylian would admit that.

“Mbappe would play out on the wing and would quite frequently be in a sulky mood. He had a growth spurt, I think towards the end of his first year in Clairefontaine, and by the second year, he was really starting to look the business.

“Then people were thinking, we’ve got a very, very special talent on our hands.”

That talent was picked up by Monaco scouts in July 2013, when he was aged 14.

Moving from the Parisian suburbs to the wealthy, sunny Cote d’Azur at such a young age could have made others go inside themselves.

Not the boy from Bondy.

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Women's ODI Cricket



The best of the action as England took on Pakistan in the final game of their ODI series.

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England vs Pakistan: Sciver-Brunt century leads hosts to 2-0 ODI series win



Nat Sciver-Brunt’s stunning century led England to a 178-run thrashing over Pakistan in the third one-day international at Chelmsford.

The all-rounder struck 124 not out, including 14 fours and two sixes, which propelled England to an imposing 302-5.

Sciver-Brunt then claimed figures of 2-11, as Pakistan reached 124-9 in pursuit of an unlikely all-time record run chase, with captain Nida Dar unable to bat with an injury.

Only opener Muneeba Ali, with a composed 47, and Aliya Riaz’s 36 offered any resistance for the visitors as Sophie Ecclestone took 3-15, including her 100th ODI wicket.

The comprehensive victory handed England a 2-0 win in the ODI series, ensuring the visitors end their white-ball tour without a win.

The gulf in class between the sides was most evident in this series finale, as Pakistan’s fielding let them down amid a generally positive effort.

Opener Maia Bouchier made 34 but was dropped on 25, Amy Jones was dropped on six before making 27 and there was a double missed chance of a stumping and a catch when Sciver-Brunt was on 86.

The last was the most costly, as Sciver-Brunt and Alice Capsey, who made an unbeaten 39, launched a brutal onslaught of 47 runs from the last three overs.

England’s home summer continues with another white-ball series against New Zealand starting in June, before the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in October.

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