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 player of the series in Test cricket history.
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.
Sir 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.
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.
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 caliber 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.
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. Ashwin overtook Kallis, Imran Khan, Sir Hedlee, and Warne when he won his 9th Player of the Series award against NZ recently.
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 81 matches and has been awarded the player of the series 9 times. Meanwhile, Ashwin is just behind the legend Muralitharan, who has won 11 awards in his test career.
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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.
N.B: The stats are accurate as of 08/12/2021.