One of Test cricket’s oldest prizes will be up for grabs once more on Thursday, when England and West Indies meet at Lord’s to contest the Wisden Trophy, now in its 49th year. Only the Ashes and the Frank Worrell Trophy have been in existence for longer.
John Wisden & Co donated the Wisden Trophy to MCC and the West Indies Cricket Board in 1963 to mark the 100th edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, and Frank Worrell guided his team to victory over Ted Dexter’s England that summer. England briefly wrested it back in 1968, but when Rohan Kanhai’s side won the 1973 series, a long period of West Indian domination began.
It wasn’t until September 2000, after 13 unsuccessful series, that England – under Nasser Hussain – ended a long and painful run. The flow of Caribbean fast bowlers had dried to a trickle, and the scenes of jubilation that late summer afternoon at The Oval were capped by the sight of Hussain brandishing the Wisden Trophy on the dressing-room balcony.
Since then England have won four further series, including the last between the sides in England in 2009 when Andrew Strauss’s team claimed a 2–0 win with convincing victories at Lord’s and Chester-le-Street.
West Indies’ one success came in the Caribbean in early 2009, when England’s calamitous second-innings 51 in Jamaica allowed the home team to complete an innings victory on their way to a 1–0 series win.
West Indies last won a Test in England at Edgbaston in June 2000 – and they have not won a series in this country since Viv Richards led his side to a 4–0 victory in 1988.
Once the Trophy is relinquished, it has proved a tricky job to reclaim it: in all its 49 years, the Wisden Trophy has changed hands only five times.
Michael Vaughan is the most successful English captain, with three series wins. Only Clive Lloyd, who led West Indies to four series victories, has a better record.
The Wisden Trophy will be presented to either Andrew Strauss or Darren Sammy at the end of the Edgbaston Test and will then return to the Lord’s Museum, where it is on permanent display beside the Ashes.