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Ponting is Wisden's first leading player

April 07, 2004 17:23 IST

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has been named as cricketing almanack Wisden's first Leading Cricketer in the World.

The 29-year-old, who took over from Steve Waugh as Australia's Test captain earlier this year, scored 1503 runs at an average of 100.20 in 2003.

He also became the first player since Don Bradman to score three double hundreds in a single year and led the Australian side to the World Cup victory in 2003.

Ponting, who was also named as Australia's player of the year in February, is the first recipient of the award, which has been introduced as a counterpart to the traditional "Five Cricketers of the Year Award".

England's Andrew Flintoff, South Africa's Graeme Smith and Gary Kirsten, Australian Ian Harvey and Sussex captain Chris Adams were named as the five cricketers of the year.

The award is chosen on the basis of the player's "influence on the English season".

Players can not be named in the five more than once, though the leading cricketer can be chosen an unlimited amount of times.

Ponting's Australian team mates also dominated "The Wisden Forty", a list of the world's top 40 players based on their form in 2003, with 13 of his companions joining him on the list.

South Africa contributed seven players, India had five, while Pakistan had four and England and Sri Lanka had three each.

Two New Zealanders, West Indies captain Brian Lara and Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak also made the list.

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