An image of Ben Stokes just after he hit the winning runs in the third Specsavers Test between England and Australia at Headingley has won the Wisden–MCC Photograph of the Year competition for 2019.
Stokes led England to one of the most dramatic Test wins ever, and his celebration was captured by Gareth Copley, of Getty Images, who scoops £2,000.
Copley rose to the top from over 650 entries from around the globe, depicting a wide variety of different portrayals of the game.
However, in such an unforgettable English summer, there were understandably more images of England all-rounder Stokes submitted than any other individual player in the competition’s 10-year history.
One of the two runners-up also features another arresting image from a memorable year of international cricket.
Tom Jenkins, of The Guardian, captured the moment Jos Buttler ran out New Zealand’s Martin Guptill at Lord’s as England’s men won their first ICC World Cup title.
The other runner-up was Kieran Hanlon, whose dreamy image of Somerset’s County Ground in Taunton, taken early on a misty morning, was perfectly framed via the use of a drone.
The top three entries feature in the 2020 edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, and all shortlisted images will be displayed inside and outside the MCC Museum at Lord’s.
Chris Smith, former chief sports photographer of The Sunday Times, chaired the judging panel with other judges including acclaimed cricket photographer Patrick Eagar, former art director of The Cricketer Nigel Davies, MCC Chair of Cricket Claire Taylor and Martin Devereux, head of projects and planning at the Postal Museum.
Copley said of his award: “I’m delighted to win this year’s Wisden–MCC Photograph of the Year competition, and it is a great honour to be selected.
“I’ve been lucky to work alongside the England men’s team for 15 years, and 2019 was the biggest year I can remember. After photographing the World Cup final at Lord’s, I thought we would never see drama like it again. However, a few weeks later we had Ben Stokes’s heroics at Headingley, which was every bit as tense.
“The victory was maybe a bit sweeter as it was against the old enemy Australia. I probably did just as much shouting and nail biting as the crowd that day.
“When Ben hit the winning runs, I was lucky enough that he hit the ball towards me while it was my turn to sit at the Rugby Stand end.
“I just took the picture. Stokesy did all the hard work.”
Lawrence Booth, Editor of Wisden, added: “The Wisden–MCC Photograph of the Year competition feels more important than ever, providing a welcome splash of colour at a time when cricket, like the rest of society, is waiting for the world to return to normal.
“The standard of entries, inspired by a summer to remember, was amazingly high, and we’re grateful as ever to MCC for their help.”