The Player of the series in cricket is awarded to that player who has played phenomenally well in most matches and has been an integral part of the team’s win. The player who exerts the most influence in that series is awarded the player of the series or man of the series. The rule of awarding a player as the man of the match or man of the series became regular in the test matches since the mid-1980s. Let’s check out those players who contributed more than any other player for their team’s win and won most man of player of the series in Test cricket history.
1. Muttiah Muralitharan- 11 Player of the Series awards
The cricketer with the most number of players of the series winners in Test cricket history is Muttiah Muralitharan. The Sri Lankan bowler is considered one of the greatest spin bowlers of his time. He created magic with a ball in his hand. He destroyed the opponent batting lineup with spinning kills and many times he became the one-man army of the Sri Lankan bowling lineup and fought against the opponents. Since his debut in 1992, he has been playing well but right after 1998, he started having a stunning and exceptional career. He took more than 1000 international wickets in tests and ODI. The spinner won everyone’s hearts through his magic but got trapped in controversies many times. He has received the most number of player of the series awards. He played in 133 matches and won 11 players of the series awards in them.
2. Jacques Kallis- 9 Player of the Series awards
There is no comparison to Jacques Kallis when it comes to the greatest wall rounder of all time. The South African cricketer literally created havoc every time he was on the field. His steps in all three formats are exceptional and he presented his calibre in the best way possible always. He is regarded as the greatest all-rounder because of his record of scoring 10000 runs and taking more than 250 wickets at the same time.
Kallis was a great fielder too and caught over more than a hundred catches. He is one of the four players in the history of Test matches to score a century in 5 consecutive matches. Kallis has been an asset to the South African cricket team since his debut and contributed a lot to his team until he retired in 2013. He played 166 matches in 61 series and has been awarded the player of the series 9 times.
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3. Imran Khan- 8 Player of the Series awards
Imran Khan is one of the finest cricketers of the Pakistan cricket team till today. The all-rounder was a great cricketer on the field and was loved by everyone for his impeccable performances. But he was appreciated a lot off the field as well. He was very popular because of his good looks, long hair, and charismatic appeal. The heartthrob of the 70s and 80s was an all-rounder with skills of reverse swinging Yorker and batting as well. After graduating from Oxford he returned to his country and joined the cricket team. He was recognized the most when he was declared the 3rd fastest bowler of cricket history in 1978. With both old balls and new balls, he had the ability to destroy the opposition. He played 88 matches and has been awarded the player of the series 8 times because of his impactful performances.
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4. Ravichandran Ashwin- 8 Player of the Series awards
Ravichandran Ashwin is the number one bowler with the most number of international wickets right now. The Indian off-spinner is one of the biggest assets of the Indian bowling lineup and has been playing exceptionally well in all three formats of the game. He was selected in the Indian squad as a replacement of Harbhajan Singh against South Africa in 2010 and since then he proved himself in most of the opportunities he got.
One of the most memorable moments of his career is that he picked up 9 wickets in his maiden Test. He played extraordinarily in the Border Gavaskar trophy 2013 and became the man of the series and since then there has been no looking back for him. Ashwin has proven the fact that he can bat well too. A few times you have contributed runs for the team. The destructive Indian bowler has played in 78 matches and has been awarded the player of the series 8 times.
5. Richard Hadlee- 8 Player of the Series awards
Richard Hadlee is a former cricketer of the New Zealand bowling team. Needless to say that he single-handedly took the burden of the bowling performances. He was the most important bowler of New Zealand at that time. It was quite evident that the New Zealand team is nothing without him after his retirement. He is one of the cricketers from his country who took this team to higher levels and presented it in a way in front of the world that they never expected. He made his debut in 1973 against Pakistan.
Hadlee was playing well but he got recognition in 1976 when he destroyed India with a spell of 7/23. He started showing in his class more and more and had a bright test career. He picked up 130 wickets in 23 test matches played against Australia including spells like 15/123 at the Gabba. The legendary bowler ended his career by picking up 5 wickets in his last match. He took a wicket in the final ball of his last test match. Also, he became the first bowler in the history of test cricket to pick 400 test wickets. In a span of about 17 years, he played in 86 matches and became the player of the series 8 times.
6. Shane Warne- 8 Player of the Series awards
Shane Warne is undoubtedly one of the greatest bowlers in the history of cricket. The God of spin’s bowling totally changed the game with his and how he refined it. He made his test debut in 1992 to and his initial years were a bit difficult. He was talented even then but he couldn’t do the correct projection. Soon in the next year he changed his game completely and bowled exceptionally well. After his performance in the Ashes series, his bowling was also called the ‘ball of the century. The Australian cricketer not only spoke with his ball, but he also helped the team with runs and fielding in dire situations. In a span of 15 years, he became the player of the series 8 times in 145 matches.
7. Wasim Akram- 7 Player of the Series awards
One of the best bowlers of the 90s is Wasim Akram from Pakistan. He made his ODI debut in 1984 against New Zealand and later he made his test debut against New Zealand once again. In his second test match, he took a fifer in both the innings and became the talk of the town. He was playing really well but destiny had something else planned for him. He couldn’t play for a few years because of his injuries and surgeries. Soon after he joined the Pakistan cricket team again and became the pivotal bowler of the team.
In the 1992 World Cup, his dominance and contribution was the main reason for the Pakistan team’s success. The legend is also considered as one of the best left-arm fast bowlers of all time. He was having a dream career and utilized the absence of Imran Khan. But the match-fixing controversies came into the track of his career and damaged him. He played in 43 series including 104 matches and was awarded the player of the series award 7 times.
8. Shivnarine Chanderpaul- 7 Player of the Series awards
Shivnarine Chanderpaul is a former batsman of the West Indies cricket team. The initial days of his cricket career were not that great. His conversion rate was white low and he was also suffering from some physical issues. Soon after he started performing well and scored his 1st century in his 19th match. In the previous 18 matches, he also scored 15 half-centuries.
Though he showed good performance, he was often overshadowed due to the performance of Brian Lara. Right after Lara’s retirement he performed way better than before and was getting more recognition and appreciation from before. He was one of the sole reason which kept the West Indies batting line up together and impactful after the retirement of legendary Lara. His contributions were most visible and impactful when batsmen like Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan not a part of the squad. Since his debut, he played in 60 series and 164 matches and won the player of the series award 7 times.
9. Malcolm Marshall- 6 Player of the Series awards
The bowler from the West Indies cricket team is considered to be one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time. He might not be as tall as his colleagues from the West Indies team but he was definitely one of the most lethal performers from his team. He was a terrific swing bowler and took crucial wickets at many matches. In a span of 12 years, he played 81 matches in 21 series and won 6 player of the series award.
10. Curtly Ambrose- 6 Player of the Series awards
Curtly Ambrose was one of the most dangerous pace bowlers of his generation. The bowler from the West Indies cricket team gained experience and expertise in his bowling from the days when he played for the Liverpool League and Central Lancashire league. He started doing impactful performances in the 1978 ODI series against Pakistan where he took 10 wickets. In his first two matches, he took two consecutive 4 wicket hauls.
He again proved his brilliance in the champions trophy and was awarded the man of the match in the final. Ambrose continued playing phenomenally well in ODIs and test matches as well. He picked up 8 wickets in a test match against Australia. He continued to dominate the opponents. Unfortunately, he was insured for some time but yet he did not lose hope and continue to take wickets simultaneously. He played a total of 98 matches in 27 series and won the player of the series award 6 times.
So the list of players with most player of the series winners in test matches looks like this-
Who is your favourite among these legends?