Wisden 2016

The Wisden dinner is this evening (no, I’m not going – so we’ll have to wait to hear how The Odious Giles Clarke will disgrace himself this year) in advance of the Almanack’s publication tomorrow.  Snippets have been released to the media already, such as the announcement of the five Cricketers of the Year, namely Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Steve Smith, Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson.  As ever, players can only be listed once as has always been the case, which doesn’t stop the annual complaints about the exclusion of someone who has been awarded it before.

The Telegraph appears to have the exclusive extracts in advance of publication (no favouritism to the Mail it seems) including Stuart Broad talking about his Trent Bridge spell to demolish Australia and the piece about Steve Smith being named as one of the five.

The main editorial calls England’s transformation “the most uplifting story in international cricket of the year” while noting that it began with “Forget leather on willow. The sound of the English game in early 2015 was palm on forehead.”

There is also a note that the Big Three influence on world cricket may be waning, well let’s see about that – there is some good news there certainly but it is far too early to celebrate.

I know some on here eagerly go out and buy a copy the instant it is available, so more will be added as we find out about it.

A small aside for housekeeping. This blog went through half a million hits this morning. Not too shabby for a bunch of outsiders.


47 thoughts on “Wisden 2016

  1. SimonH Apr 13, 2016 / 10:56 am

    “the most uplifting story in international cricket of the year”.

    Oh, fuck right off. Apologies for that – if you’d like a swearbox donation to a favourite charity (like Bet365) please nominate one.

    The second richest and fourth most populated country among FMs start playing cricket that isn’t twenty years out of date? More uplifting than Afghanistan? More uplifting than the B3 power-grab unraveling? More uplifting than WI winning the U19 WC? (I’ll allow that the T20I double triumph came too late).

    What does this mighty transformation consist of? Winning the home Ashes – as England have since 2005. Winning in SA ? England haven’t lost there for three series and every series since reintegration has been close. Not beating NZ at home for the first time since 1999? Okay, NZ are much improved. Losing the series against Pakistan? Let’s carry on claiming that was unlucky – or just flush it down the memory plughole. The ODI team? W10 L9 since the WC – not exactly the stuff of open-top parades. The T20I team? Yes – hard to argue there. Pity it’s the format England fans kept saying they didn’t care about.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Mark Apr 13, 2016 / 12:06 pm

      They’re not looking to sell too many copies internationally then?


    • SimonH Apr 13, 2016 / 2:53 pm

      A few direct quotes (gleaned from Newman’s review – DM reporter reviews work of DM reporter, what’s not to like there?):

      “England instantly became a side you wanted to tell your friends about”.

      I said, “they’re fifth in the rankings” and they said, “you’re excited about that – and what’s this cricket anyway?”.

      “‘Records fell like confetti. England passed 400 for the first time in a one-day international and knocked off 350 in another. They made their highest one-day score overseas, in Dubai (355 for five), then smashed it a few weeks later in Bloemfontein (399 for nine). Jos Buttler scored a hundred off 66 balls then – as if to make up for his tardiness – off 46”.

      ODI scores over 400? There are thirteen higher (SA 6, India 3, SL 2, Australia 2). The first was in 2006.

      Highest away ODI scores? There are four higher. England’s next highest away score (340) is 40th.

      ODI century in 46 balls? I can’t find an up-to-date list but there are at least six faster.

      (I’m not of course denying that these weren’t fine achievements – just seeking to offer some perspective to this happy-clappy hyperbole).


      • d'Arthez Apr 13, 2016 / 6:01 pm

        In terms of faster ODI tons, there are 6 faster. AB de Villiers merely needed 31 balls to get there against the West Indies, which makes Buttler almost pedestrian in comparison (Corey Anderson needed 36 vs West Indies 2015, Shahid Afridi 38 vs Sri Lanka, 2006 are the other innings below 40 balls).

        What is remarkable is that it merely took 10 years before someone broke a 2005 record by Pietersen for England. Despite the approximately 50 ODIs played between England and Australia alone in that time frame. Despite the decrease in quality of bowling, the improvements in batsmen’s skills, idiotic regulation changes, etc.

        And scores of 350+ are pretty common these days. Since January 2014, there have been 25 totals of 350 or more, and 102 scores of 300 or more. England are responsible for 15 out of those 102. Australia 16; South Africa 14; West Indies (who are a weak ODI side – but they have played only 28 ODIs compared to England’s 56 in that period) 6; New Zealand 12; India 13; Pakistan 5 (but they are a weak batting ODI side); Sri Lanka 9. If you consider the number of ODIs played, Australia, South Africa, have better ratios of matches / 300+ score than England.

        But as noted, team England finally joined the 21st century. Not sure if that is an accomplishment of the players, or if the ECB accidentally appointed a coach that was somewhat competent to allow the players to play in a modern fashion.


      • Benny Apr 14, 2016 / 12:33 pm

        Last time I bought a box of confetti, there were more than half a dozen bits of paper inside. Reckon Newman’s being ripped off


  2. Escort Apr 13, 2016 / 12:40 pm

    The uplifting story of cricket for me is the half a million hits on this blog.
    Well done LCL and TLG. Great stuff and long may it continue 😉😉👌👌

    Liked by 4 people

  3. sgtcookieblog Apr 13, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    Oh wow! Half a million is stunning. Congratulations. I can’t believe my ink’s not turning green. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Apr 13, 2016 / 2:41 pm

        I’m sure Neil will be along soon to point out that he, and one of his many disguises is really responsible for this sites success and numerous hits.

        Well done Dmitri!


        • LordCanisLupus Apr 13, 2016 / 2:46 pm

          Seen one para. If TLG isn’t mentioned elsewhere then I’ll be disappointed. This is a joint effort.

          Liked by 1 person

      • RufusSG Apr 13, 2016 / 3:59 pm

        Congratulations for both the milestone and the Wisden mention – very much deserved for the effort and passion you both dedicate to this website, and the discussions I’ve had with other commenters are always interesting and thoughtful, even if I have disagreements from time to time – it’s no fun if everyone has the same opinions anyway. Keep up the good work!


        • LordCanisLupus Apr 13, 2016 / 6:19 pm

          Thanks Rufus.

          Sometimes it’s tough to keep going but with TLG sharing the duties it’s been the blog’s lifeline.

          We’ll keep on. .


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 13, 2016 / 6:22 pm

      A million will come around Autumn 2017. If we keep going. At this pace. Not massive but our little shout out to the world


      • Benny Apr 14, 2016 / 12:25 pm

        You must be doing something right


  4. northernlight71 Apr 13, 2016 / 5:50 pm

    Oh god, I’ve just read the potted bio of Selvey on Cricinfo. It’s beautiful.

    “In 1976 he was surprisingly called up to the England side for the fourth Test against West Indies at Old Trafford when half-a-dozen quick bowlers were injured”

    He must absolutely seethe every time he looks at it. And I bet he looks at it every day, wishing it was like Wikipedia……

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tuffers86 Apr 13, 2016 / 6:48 pm

    Oh flaming Ada, you guys did it again and got a nice mention.

    Keep it going chaps, you are still the first cricket page I check each day. The million will come up quicker than you think Dmi.


  6. "IronBalls" McGinty Apr 14, 2016 / 9:23 am

    THE home of fearlessness and courage, within the glad handing, mutual back scratching world of cricket writing!!


  7. Zephirine Apr 14, 2016 / 10:06 am

    Well done chaps. Don’t change a thing, just keep doing what you do.

    Interesting that despite two Wisden mentions, you haven’t been approached to do that thing in the G where they reproduce blog posts – do they still do that? – they used some of Jon Hotten’s and Gary Naylor’s stuff.

    Perhaps they thought you weren’t from the right sort of blog.

    or perhaps you turned them down and have kept quiet about it:)


    • LordCanisLupus Apr 14, 2016 / 12:06 pm

      I thought it was a very poor piece. I have something going up later on this.


  8. Clivejw Apr 14, 2016 / 2:53 pm

    Half a million? Who knew there were so many bilious inadequates out there!


  9. Clivejw Apr 14, 2016 / 3:08 pm

    Telegraph carries Paul Farbrace’s tribute to Sangakarra (from Wisden). I enjoyed it very much, some nice anecdotes about one of my all-time favourite players. But I couldn’t help but single out this passage:

    Nothing distracted him from his practice. There were times when, frankly, this made him a pain in the backside. Net sessions could last anything from 20 minutes to an hour. When he was wearing his game head, there was a selfishness about him. But no one minded, because that selfishness was usually for the greater good.

    Selfishness for the greater good? Remind you of anyone?


    • fred Apr 14, 2016 / 5:14 pm

      On a similar theme, I came across this in The Economist. It’s a fairly technical discussion of basketball (at least for me!) but again questions what is selfish and what isn’t. And obviously, it’s complicated. One man’s perceived selfishness can in fact open opportunities for everyone else they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
      As an amusing bonus, it lead me to contemplate how the ECB would have handled Kobe Bryant in the sport.


      • Mark Apr 15, 2016 / 11:29 am

        Fred, I actually don’t think it is complicated. It all depends whether your face fits.

        If you’re KP, you are selfish, no matter what you do. If you are Cook, you can do, and say almost anything, and it is seen as single minded brilliance. It isn’t about what you do, it’s who your are.


    • Mark Apr 15, 2016 / 12:54 pm

      As usual with the ECB/Media complex it has nothing to do with the players. But it’s all down to a man in a suit.

      And of course, if England had performed badly. Mr Strauss would have been blameless. Priceless.


      • SimonH Apr 15, 2016 / 1:25 pm

        “Roaring success”?

        I have to keep pinching myself to remember that England are fifth in the Test rankings.


    • Alec Apr 15, 2016 / 4:35 pm

      Hey! The Americans had their chance in 1844. They went down the route of playing games that after 3 hours you knew who had won and they have to live with it.


    • Mark Apr 15, 2016 / 2:08 pm

      Numerous articles informing us of how the big 3 respect the integrity of test match cricket to follow in …….5 .4 .3 .2 .1


      • SimonH Apr 15, 2016 / 2:29 pm

        I’m not against the idea in itself, but would like some discussion of its pros and cons.

        I suspect they’re terrified of lack of interest this summer and are flailing around desperately for anything that might help.


      • Mark Apr 15, 2016 / 3:18 pm

        I am totally against it. They’re 3 different formats of the game, with two different captains.

        I agree with you Simon, they must be worried nobody is going to be interested, so let’s turn it into a clown car. “Roll up , roll up for the big top circus.”

        If England lose the test series, but win all the ODIs who picks up the trophy? Cook or Morgan?


      • SimonH Apr 15, 2016 / 4:01 pm

        The idea that Cook might have to sit (in his cricket gear preferably) watching the ODI team win and then go up and receive a trophy isn’t slightly amusing…..?


      • Mark Apr 15, 2016 / 4:58 pm

        Yes, but will he have the right ECB designated helmet on?

        Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez Apr 15, 2016 / 7:13 pm

        Well, it could be even more fun if Sri Lanka win the series because of a Mankading in the ODI series or the T20, and we can practice our lip reading skills again, as Cook walks out to the middle to collect the prize for the runner up …

        Undoubtedly, that would be one of the cricketing highlights of the year, if Sri Lanka were captained by a certain South Africa-born England batsman …


  10. MM Apr 15, 2016 / 7:30 pm

    Is Cook[y] and his inappropriate helmet an example of disengagement from the ECB? I’m just wondering if the Bambi-killing choirboy is having a bit of a strop/brainfart. I mean, isn’t he aware of Phil Hughes’ sad demise?


  11. Clivejw Apr 15, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    I’m just waiting for the Paul Newman article about how ***k didn’t deliver an ultimatum that either he gets to keep the helmet or he quits.


    • BoredInAustria Apr 15, 2016 / 8:34 pm

      Or an article by Selvey on how new helmet design with the reduced field of vision disrupts the concentration of batsmen …


      • Mark Apr 15, 2016 / 8:57 pm

        I’m sure the cricketer magazine will have an article up an running in the next edition entitled….


        “Hip, hip hooray for fearless England skip… Mr A Cook….. for standing up to the Nanny state. We say well done skip. And well done to Mr A Strauss for refusing to enforce his organisations own rules. “


  12. Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Apr 16, 2016 / 10:58 am

    Well the Posty has kindly delivered mine. Will settle down later and will be interested in the rationale behind the 5 WCOTY. At this stage I’m not totally convinced but am of course open to a reasoned argument. Ashes should be a good read but I’ll be careful not to drop any spoilers on these pages.


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