A Wisden Almanack Fan Writes…..

Why I Love The Wisden Cricketers Almanack

And no, it has very little to do with this blog being mentioned this year and How Did We Lose In Adelaide last year. Actually, while it is nice being mentioned again, the actual prose accompanying it is a little odd. Most people who I left behind on HDWLIA caught up with me in the next week or so. So “Old” hadn’t disappeared, if you count the three hours between shutting down HDWLIA and starting up Being Outside Cricket as a disappearance.  But as Michael O’Leary said “bad publicity is better than no publicity”, I have to say that whatever is written is a recognition of what we do. That’s no bad thing. But to write even a snippet on the blog and not recognise it is more than a one man job (Chris, and lets not also forget Phil and Sean’s contributions too) shows how rigorous it is (I have to say, I’ve not seen the full article, so if there is more in it, then I will correct).

It’s also not the first time both your editors have been in there. I filled in the schools piece for my educational establishment for a few years in the 1980s and TLG has his school record in there slightly later than that, the handsome, more able, young devil that he is.

I am, by my nature, quite a traditionalist, and yes, that is odd when you consider my attitude to the ECB and to Kevin Pietersen, for instance. Wisden dates back 150 or so years, and I have a collection of sorts, as I try to nab as many of the 1970s ones as I can. I think I’m complete from 1980 onwards. Indeed, I have a spare, bought in error, 1979 one so if you don’t have that, and might like it, let me know! It’s not a passion to get all of them that I can, but when I see one I don’t have, reasonably priced, I’ll get it. I also don’t go for the new release straight away, often waiting until Autumn to secure one at a reduced price. These are tough economic times and all that!

My love for it is in the numbers, not so much the written parts. Indeed, in the past, I’d probably have skipped the section on bloggers, or cricket on the internet. I sometimes read the book reviews. But to me it has always been the scorecards. I had a 1987 copy with me for the last few weeks, mainly to assist in “Blackwash” articles, but you look at the scorecards and follow Graeme Hick’s 2000 runs season and immerse yourself in the sheer lunacy of 3 day cricket. Hick made 227 not out against a fully in form Richard Hadlee at Worcester, and just taking myself back to those days is what the Almanack does to me. Yes, it is nerdy, but it triggers memories.

Before I bought a single Almanack, when I was part of the Cricket Book Club, I got, as my free gift, The Wisden Anthology 1963-82 by Benny Green. I remember taking it on my cricket tour to the Netherlands in 1984 and finding Nolan Clarke’s name in it on the day I met the great man (it was, if my memory serves, a Barbados v Australia game). Again, though, it was the scorecards. The match reports were great, but it was the numbers accompanying them. Record partnerships, massive innings, freak matches. Wisden and the Anthology were my cricketing education.

To a degree, even in the internet age, that is still the case for me, albeit less so. Like all things time moves on and in the tiresome mantra of the modern age, we have to “innovate or die”. The scorecards are on Cricinfo, and I can find what I want when I want, so maybe I’m not the business model they need to continue. Statsguru has long since taken Wisden’s place for looking that sort of information up. But there was always something about reading a scorecard at total random flipping open the book.

There are additional awards, which I have to say I find tiresome, but know others don’t, but what I have never minded, and understood fully why it’s there, is the Five Cricketers of the Year. It’s always been clear to me – Wisden is an English publication, and it has been tried in Australia (I have one) and India – that it is primarily focused on the English summer, has always had an eye on English players throughout the year, recognises the great performers from other countries when they tour, as long as they perform here (Jacques Kallis, for instance, had a huge wait to get in) and you are named just the once. It’s that last bit, and the nonsense spouted about it, that gets on my nerves.

I like Dennis a lot, but his article today would have had me fisking it a couple of years ago. Dennis prods and pokes, and I think he’s still a friend of this blog, as I am a friend of his! But he is one voice among a number that do this – and it really peeves me. This award has always been different, it has seen some tweaks when some domestic cases were particularly weak, but it has been the same type of award pretty much throughout. I have absolutely zero problem with that. See it as a “I was good enough to get it once” award rather than “I deserve it every year”. Treat it like the stars on Hollywood’s street. If you are good enough to get on there once, that’s all.

It’s not Wisden’s fault that other awards might lack gravitas. I think the Cricketer of the Year has the required gravitas, but doesn’t constrain itself to a “Tendulkar, Lara, Kallis, Warne, Murali” and repeat load of old crap year in year out. So people with freak years, like Tim Robinson in 1985 or James Whitaker’s Gary Ballance in 2014 can stand alongside Don Bradman and Jeetan Patel to pick out two diverse names. Keep it as it is, Wisden. Ben Stokes role in the Lord’s test against New Zealand transcended the match. His century was brilliant, his first innings 90-odd even better in my opinion, and his slaying of the New Zealand titan on Day 5 was arguably one of the moments of the season. He had a reasonable Ashes, not spectacular, but again provided moments. As much as a stat nerd as i can be, you have to recognise what the game can be about. No problem with Stokes. At all.

One of the other complaints raised is the presence of convicted match-fixers in the list of Cricketers of the Year, but Mohammad Amir was not put in when he qualified. Again, erasing history is a difficult thing to do. The 1991 edition, should you come across it in the shops, isn’t going to have Azharuddin’s pages ripped out, is it? I am not sure what a futile gesture like that is going to achieve, to be honest. And where do you draw the line. Shane Warne is a convicted drug cheat. Should he be in?

Now, of course, some of you might think this blogger’s friendly relations with the Editor of Wisden plays some part in my little defence. It probably does, although we do not converse on Twitter anywhere near as much as used to, and I still shake my fists at the screen when I read something of his I do not agree with. But I think Lawrence has done a pretty damn good job of editing Wisden (except handing anything KP related to Patrick Collins!), I suspect it’s a hell of a task for him and his team, and that he has, in my opinion, raised the profile of the Almanack in his time in charge does him a lot of credit. This is one pillar of the establishment that needs to remain pretty much true to its soul. Whether that stands the tests of time is up to the consumers. But in the digital age, I still love that little big book. That’s why even getting a mention in it makes me proud of what we have all achieved. You don’t quite realise how proud I am.

Long may Wisden Almanack continue. I come to praise. I leave the sniffiness to these kinds of reviews – I think the first paragraph is so amusing…..

Wisden Selvey

Remember…the new open thread is below.

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56 thoughts on “A Wisden Almanack Fan Writes…..

  1. Dennis Freedman Apr 16, 2016 / 12:19 pm

    See, here’s the thing Dmitri.

    I love you even more for having the balls to tackle my view in a considered manner rather than “you are just a dumb Aussie” like many others have done. Lawrence and I had a laugh also at our respective views.

    Life is grey and if we all thought the same, then God help us.

    But you are wrong. The Wisden Awards are severely overrated in their current form.

    And you are also right. If Lawrence can get up and tackle the Big 3 wrongs as he did in last year’s editors notes, then why not other Springs such as convicted cheats?

    Warnw should be scrubbed from the honour role. But I’ve already written about that in an open letter to Lawrence.

    Carry on you beautiful human ☺

    Like

    • thelegglance Apr 16, 2016 / 12:23 pm

      Dmitri is a beautiful human, I’m apparently a handsome able young devil. Aren’t we a warm fuzzy lot?

      And you’re Australian Dennis. Ah well, can’t have it all! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • fred Apr 16, 2016 / 3:49 pm

      Right, now I get it. At first, I couldn’t understand why Dmitri would have a problem with Freedman’s take, as he had been hinting. It seemed a pretty reasonable criticism to me, and made me wonder what this whole Wisden thing was all about.

      Now I understand, it’s an English thing. It’s designed for and by the English, it’s entirely English-centric, and it doesn’t care what anyone outside of England thinks. It means and has always meant alot to Dmitri, and to many English cricket fans. So it serves it’s purpose.

      Whether it makes sense to Freedman or any other non-English person is beside the point. They just shouldn’t pay attention to it. I don’t.

      So Freedman is right, it’s silly because it’s an insular award focussed on a small sample of English-centric cricket. And Dmitri is right, it’s great because it’s an insular award focussed on a small sample of English-centric cricket.

      He does have a point though that the pool of potential candidates who have never won it before is getting so shallow it may undermine the value of the thing. That rule relies on young players outperforming older ones.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jennyah46 Apr 16, 2016 / 7:42 pm

        This is the way the English have done things since time immemorial. It’s something that just had to be accepted. We once ruled the world. Who else has done that? I rest my case.

        Like

  2. Mark Apr 16, 2016 / 1:01 pm

    Oh god, this is descending into Smashie & Nicey. “Thank you best mate, …..no, no, after you best mate.”

    Only joking. Good to have a difference of opinion and kept civil. I think both of you make good arguments. I can’t understand why anyone outside England would be remotely interested, because, as Dmitri says it is an English centric publication. The idea the overseas cricketer has to have played in England that year is a bit naff and a bit inward looking.

    Dmitri is right about removing people. It’s very arbitrary. Should the South African rebel tour players be taken out? Did they comit a criminal offense? We have only just got round to adding the Packerr years haven’t we? And what about some of the administrators who have had very dodgy dealings with the world of cricket?

    The big problem for the publication is what Dmitri touches on, and what he likes. Namely the scorecards. But we now, as you point out live in the Internet age. Those of who remember the pre Internet age know that books were where information was stored. And books where kept on shelfs, and in library’s. And blokes like having things like books and record collections all neat and tidy. That world is changing very fast. Also a lot of people who were interested in those stats are dying out. How many people collect train numbers these days? It was from a different age. And anyway you can look it up for free now.

    The good thing about Wisen is it is people writing about cricket. That in itself is a good thing, and the editor was brave enough to challenge the power elite to their face. Not many in the MSM would do that. Which means Wisden will still be valued by many.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jennyah46 Apr 16, 2016 / 7:43 pm

      Well said Mark!

      Like

  3. nonoxcol Apr 16, 2016 / 1:02 pm

    That familiar Selv-awareness strikes again I see.

    And 2003 was the first edition I obtained. So that’s one in the eye for Cyclops.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Apr 16, 2016 / 1:11 pm

      “I have long had a problem with the manner in which Wisden overrates its importance in the cricketing firmament.”

      Replace one proper noun with the other we are all thinking, and I’d get modded by the Guardian for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Apr 16, 2016 / 2:19 pm

        Talking about over rating his importance…… I thought the opening paragraph of his James Taylor tribute was very pompous.

        “It is a characteristic of our memories of cricketers that they naturally tend towards the most recent. So when immediately we think of James Taylor, it is not the nuggety, busy batsman that springs to mind……………………..but the figure perched gamely at short leg beneath his helmet, snaffling impossible catches from the rarefied high-veld air of Johannesburg and Centurion.”

        Notice how he uses ther terms. “our”, and “we” Since when did Selvey elevate himself into using the Royal “we?” Remember Mrs Tahatcher saying…… ” we are a Grandmother”

        No Mr Selvey, you don’t speak for me. So when you say how “we” remember someone, you really mean ” I. ”

        It’s extremely pretensious to try to claim to speak for all cricket supporters, and how they remember different players. And when I do remember James Taylor, it is exactly the “early nuggety busy batsman ” that first springs to mind. Don’t assume we all think they same way.

        When I think of Viv Richards or Dennis Lillie or Ian Botham it is not their later period that springs to mind, but quite often when they first came on the scene. I will always remember Viv in 1976. Or Botham crashing onto the scene in 1977. I certainly don’t think of his 1992 World Cup roll opening the batting.

        Like

      • Benny Apr 17, 2016 / 12:55 pm

        Just to agree. I have several memories of Taylor rescuing and winning matches for Notts with some superb batting. Especially recall how brilliant he was at pacing an innings. Probably the smartest one day batsman in the country for that.

        Like

  4. Alec Apr 16, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    Dennis above makes a good point that the likes of Warne should be scrubbed from the Honour Roll of Wisden. In my mind’s eye it’s a black marble monument the height and length of one of Wisden’s office walls onto which each name is engraved and then embossed in gold, please do not disabuse me of this notion.

    I disagree with his assertion however. I think not only that Warne’s name should remain on the roll but that he should be given a 9 foot tall statue outside the front door. One of him as he washes down a massive fist-full or diuretics. It should serve as a reminder of how we glory those who eventually disappoint us.

    It is a peculiar habit we have as a society of honouring someone and then trying to erase the memory of said honours when we realise they have feet of clay (cf: the revoked knighthoods of Mussolini, Mugabe and Fred Goodwin). If we’re going to try and bathe in the reflected glory of these shit blokes, the least we can do is not to pretend we got a nasty case of sunburn while we slept through all their misdemeanours.

    Like

  5. SimonH Apr 16, 2016 / 2:22 pm

    The only public competition I’ve ever won was on TMS to guess the Five Cricketers of the Year. I can’t remember the year but Steve Watkin was one of them.

    I won a copy of Wisden. I’d already bought it. I even manged to miss hearing my name read out!

    FWIW, I’d agree that the Five Cricketers should be based more on global achievements but I disagree with Dennis’s other points.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. SimonH Apr 16, 2016 / 2:45 pm

    The mention of drugs’ cheats reminded me of this by Tim Wigmore:

    https://inews.co.uk/essentials/sport/cricket/cricket-drugs-problem/

    Especially this update on the Andre Russell case:

    “Six weeks on, Russell is still waiting for his date with the Jamaica Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel. In the meantime, he has won the World T20, and is now playing for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League. It is understood that it will take another three to four weeks just for a date to be set for his preliminary hearing”.

    Like

  7. David Oram Apr 16, 2016 / 4:57 pm

    Super piece Dmitri. Well said. I also thought Dennis was well off the mark with his piece, but then he is looking at it from another viepint. But I think it has as much validity as an American moaning about the warm bitter in an English pub. Drink something else mate! Or find another bar. Tastes are different – and I don’t think there can be a right or wrong in something like this. Wisden satisfies my taste buds and that’s all that matters to me. But I can’t understand why someone would consume something they don’t like and then moan. I suppose it’s possible to hate KFC and moan about its international influence – but why bother? It surprises me that Dennis thinks the 5 Cricketers of the Year has value. I enjoy them – but don’t take them seriously. To me they have as much lasting value as Sports Personality of the Year. Thanks for your article. I’m believe my own reply to Dennis will appear on First Post tomorrow.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus Apr 16, 2016 / 5:01 pm

      Thank you David, and hope all is well. I’ll catch up with your post when I can tomorrow, but it might be a while as I’m off out and about.

      I love it for the same reason I really loved the old Rothman’s Year Books for football. It’s immersing yourself in the sport, and the games. It maybe of my time and not of future time, but I think we worry too much about that.

      Like

    • Dennis Freedman Apr 16, 2016 / 10:35 pm

      Oh great. I share my soapbox with you and this is how you repay me? Haha.

      I look forward to “Yeah, but it’s English and you don’t understand / can ignore it” lines. That’s the main argument I see.

      Maybe we should pod it David? You and Lawrence v me.

      Like

      • David Oram Apr 17, 2016 / 4:10 am

        Apologies, Dark Lord. Apprentice turns upon his Sith master. But as you know, I am torn, and drawn towards the light side…
        Yes, thanks for accommodating me on the podium in Speaker’s Corner. While I don’t believe in democracy (being an MCC member), it is lovely to be able to reach a wider audience with my over-written, over-wrought doggerel. I now describe myself as ‘the Englishman following the West Indies from Pakistan for an Indian news service’. Btw – have finally got ‘Willow in the WIndies’ on itunes.
        Am available for free hire on ‘Can’t Bowl, Can’t Throw’ anytime – with or without past, present or future Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack’s editors. If Lawrence is n/a there are a few other living ones knocking about. Or pull out the weegee board and see if we can get Hubert Preston or Sydney Pardon to rap with us. I want to challenge Sid about his “touching the confines of lunacy” accusation against the 1909 selection committee.
        Let’s talk soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Lawrence Booth Apr 16, 2016 / 7:26 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, Dmitri. Dennis isn’t the first to raise the question of the relevance of the Wisden Five. He won’t be the last. But he says the awards are “severely over-rated”. By whom, exactly? Wisden choose five players each year, and the rest of the world is free to ignore them. The reason they feature prominently in our annual press release is because – rightly or wrongly – they remain a talking point in the game, as you’d expect for an award that has been going since 1889. It’s just the way it is.

    I commented on Twitter the other day that Jonny Bairstow stood up at Lord’s on the night of the Wisden dinner and told guests how much the honour meant to him. Now, you might say he would say that, wouldn’t he… But his reaction seemed genuine to me (and he was under no obligation to do anything other than collect his Wisden and pose for a photo). The sense I’ve had repeatedly since doing this job is that the players genuinely value being chosen. Query their judgment if you like. But, again, it’s just the way it seems to be.

    Should Wisden pick players more than once? If we changed the rules, we’d be just the like the ICC awards, which more or less select on the basis of the stats. Does cricket need another such award? I’d humbly suggest it doesn’t. I like Dmitri’s analogy about the Hollywood street: you get invited once, and then you’re a member of the club for ever. That’s its charm.

    Wisden has never claimed to be coronating the five best players of the previous summer; it’s just adding extra bricks to an ever-growing wall. Sure, it’s quirky: so take it or leave it 🙂

    There’s also the question of whether choices are devalued as a consequence of the one-crack-only rule. It’s true that some years’ selections are stronger than others. But the Five this year (Stokes, Bairstow, Williamson, McCullum, Smith) does not immediately hint at tokenism.

    As for retrospectively banning convicted cheats, I’m with Dmitri – rewriting history opens up a world of pain. A couple of years ago Wisden introduced a small box at the start of the Records section in which we name everyone who’s ever been done for corruption. So it’s there in black and white elsewhere in the Almanack. Taking away an award isn’t going to change the fact that Azharuddin played like a God in 1990.

    And the question of parochialism: we have a Leading International Cricketer in the World award now, which should deal with that.

    Anyway, enough from me. I’m just pleased people still care enough one way or t’other to argue about it!

    Liked by 3 people

    • fred Apr 16, 2016 / 9:22 pm

      Well said. The ball’s in Freedman’s court now. I’m sure he will have a response.

      BTW, why did you leave the guardian and go to work for a tabloid? Seemed an odd choice, especially since at the time the guardian was still reputable. Sorry if this is an impertinent question.

      Like

      • Lawrence Booth Apr 17, 2016 / 8:28 am

        Because the Guardian were paying me by the piece, which was no longer sustainable at a time when freelance budgets were shrinking, while the Mail offered me an annual contract. After seven years of living hand-to-mouth, I wanted some security.

        Like

      • fred Apr 17, 2016 / 10:34 am

        Thanks for response Lawrence. I’m very surprised to hear you were employed on that basis. If memory serves it got worse after that too, with Hopps having to leave. It’s certainly operating in a reduced state now, (with all due repect to Ali Martin).

        Like

    • Dennis Freedman Apr 16, 2016 / 10:17 pm

      Hi Lawrence. The fact that Bairstow was so excited to receive the award only strengthens my view that they are overrated. If it was just a quirky side award, he wouldn’t have said it. Also, Stokes won it this year based on one Test match v NZ from what I saw you write somewhere else, totally undervaluing anything a County player may have done over a full season as you didn’t pick one.

      I’m not anti the awards. As I said in my piece, they have a place. But to deny they need changing or can’t be changed ignores the Wisden history history of actually changing the rules on many occasions.

      Lastly, removing cheats is never wrong. Difficult? Politically charged? Of course!

      But for a publication that has strong values like Wisden?

      You will take on the Big 3 but not drug cheats?

      Seems an easier fight to me LB?

      Like

      • Lawrence Booth Apr 17, 2016 / 8:25 am

        You’re losing me now, Dennis: so when a player says he’s honoured to receive the award, it proves your point that they’re over-rated? Surely he’d have proved your point only if he’d studiously ignored the award. But I suspect you’d have reached your conclusion whatever his reaction.

        Stokes didn’t just win it for one Test v NZ. To him went the champagne moment of the entire summer (the catch off Voges), and you’ll remember his 6 for 36 in that same Trent Bridge Test. The Test you mention against NZ, by the way, wasn’t just for his first-innings 92, second-innings 85-ball hundred (the fastest in any Test at Lord’s) and bowling on the last day. It was for the manner in which his performance seemed to get the crowds going again. I turned up to the ground on the last day, a Monday, and was amazed to see people queuing towards St John’s Wood tube. I reckon that had a lot to do with his performance.

        I didn’t pick a county player? Bairstow was picked mainly for his five hundreds for Yorkshire.

        Simply because we’ve changed other things in Wisden doesn’t mean we feel the need to change this. By your logic, we may as well change everything. I’m not against change. I just don’t agree with you on this one.

        Warne was chosen before his drugs ban. Where would we draw the line? It doesn’t change the fact he bowled brilliantly in 1993. That’s why we chose him.

        Anyway, we could go on all day like this. You don’t like the Wisden awards. I get it. Life goes on 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

        • Dennis Freedman Apr 17, 2016 / 8:54 am

          By being honoured to receive it, Bairstow is essentially saying the award has high value right? Also, I don’t dislike the awards. I just feel they need an small tweak. Why is everyone so alarmist? 😂😆

          Like

          • David Oram Apr 17, 2016 / 8:57 am

            Why alarmist? Because we are British. I haven’t felt so sullied since Paul Keating wrapped his arm around Her Majesty.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Dennis Freedman Apr 17, 2016 / 9:00 am

            I guarantee that was for a bet with a mate and he cleaned up with a slab of Victoria Bitter

            Liked by 1 person

      • Lawrence Booth Apr 17, 2016 / 9:15 am

        You’re basically telling Bairstow he’s wrong to place a high value on the award, Dennis. Who are you – who is anyone? – to tell him how to respond?

        Like

  9. Clivejw Apr 16, 2016 / 7:56 pm

    I don’t have time to follow cricket all over the world, so I’m glad Wisden sticks to players whose performances I may have seen or read about. The name I was most happy to see on this year’s Wisden list was Jonny Bairstow, one of the best current performers in the county game and someone who has had to work very hard to establish himself at test level, having been handled far from sympathetically. I’m really hoping this is the year when he’ll cement his place in the test side once and for all. As Lawrence says, the list may not mean a great deal in the grand scheme of things, but it’s an honour for those on it. And probably a great confidence booster as well.

    Like

  10. SimonH Apr 16, 2016 / 9:27 pm

    An Emma John review has appeared on the Guardian.

    Is there any mention of what happened at last year’s dinner? Or any slight questioning of the miraculous transformation narrative?

    What do you think?

    Like

  11. Sean B Apr 16, 2016 / 10:45 pm

    I’m slightly torn with my conscience, as I’ve read Dennis’ review, and rather than the normal head shaking, I really do agree. The Wisden is more out of touch than the members box on a Saturday Test at Lords.

    I feel slightly dirty now, so probably time for bed.

    Great article Dmitri and congrats to you and TLG for hitting another landmark in terms of hits this week. Not too shabby for those of us termed as ‘non-believers’

    Like

    • Dennis Freedman Apr 16, 2016 / 10:53 pm

      Sean, feeling dirty is just a natural reaction when you realise that you belong with me on the Dark Side.

      Like

      • escort Apr 17, 2016 / 3:34 pm

        How do you think Wisden could be improved above the five cricketers of the year?

        Like

    • Lawrence Booth Apr 17, 2016 / 8:30 am

      Sean, no one was saying Wisden was out of touch last year when we slaughtered the ECB (for being out of touch, ironically) and everything it stood for. If you’re referring to the awards, the Wisden Five are probably the most talked-about awards in cricket. Does that make the book out of touch?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sean B Apr 17, 2016 / 1:09 pm

        Lawrence, thanks for the reply. Apologies if I was unclear but I was referring to the awards rather than the overall editorial tone of Wisden in my comment above. I agreed with the piece on the ECB from last year and enjoyed your tete-a-tete with Giles Clarke.

        I’m not sure if I agree with your assertion that the Wisden 5 are the most talked about awards in cricket. Personally I find them a bit of an oddity especially with the rules not allowing previous winners to be selected again, as I feel it waters down their prestige somewhat.

        But still we are debating them on here, so perhaps you’re right.

        Like

  12. Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Apr 17, 2016 / 8:35 am

    Vive la Difference I say. In the same way that there is room for both modern technological meteorology and groundhogs, then there is room for the Wisden 5 alongside the (for me) tedium and inevitability of more orthodox sporting awards. And if it is quirky and parochial then so be it.

    I do agree that the mix of county stalwarts with international stars is part of the charm so this year’s choice is maybe not the most thought provoking ever. Someone like Rushworth (or even his county colleague Stoneman) would indeed have been interesting choices. I also find something quite Shakespearean about Adil Rashid bowling erratic leg-spin in the face of the onslaught of modern ODI and T20 cricket, epitomised by his flirtation with near disaster and humiliation at Trent Bridge last summer.

    Re cheats, maybe the solution is one of the special editions Wisden do from time to time outside of the annual almanack? Of course this would need to be a slim volume and, I suggest, a different colour outside of the traditional yellow. Dennis has raised some very thought provoking thoughts about our attitudes to cheats in this sport of ours, something worthy of deeper exploration methinks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • David Oram Apr 17, 2016 / 8:39 am

      Great idea re the cheats edition. Include all criminals in it too: Hylton, Jupp, Lewis, WR Gilbert etc and sell it under black or plain cover.

      Like

  13. thebogfather Apr 17, 2016 / 10:58 am

    Hi, I’m Trevor and I’m a WisdenAlmanackAholic…

    Like

    • fred Apr 17, 2016 / 2:44 pm

      I think this photo finishes the discussion that Freedman has provoked. Faced with that, no Australian can have any response. It is what it is, and nothing you say will make any difference.

      Incidentally, scattered amongst all those yellow tomes, are they personal trophys attesting to your extraordinary batting accomplishments, or just nice statues you bought from the local antique shop? That little one on the third shelf down reminds me of Glen Maxwell.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather Apr 17, 2016 / 3:33 pm

        Ah, Fred
        I’d be lying if I said
        If anyone was ever impressed
        By my batting prowess!
        They, and pre ’77 Wisden’s on display
        Were purely chance buys of an e-bay way)

        Like

      • fred Apr 17, 2016 / 5:28 pm

        Magnificent bookshelves, in any event.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Ian Apr 17, 2016 / 1:09 pm

    I bought my first Wisden quite late on in 2007 and vowed I wouldn’t collect them. I got bought a couple more by family and gave in and got every one from 1980 (Year I was born) up until 2015. Like you Dmitri I normally buy it later in the year or ask for it as a Xmas present and not sure I have ever paid full price for one.

    I love the scorecards too and looking for county matches that I attended back in the 90s where I had long since forgotten the score and the scorecard reminding me what exactly it was that I watched.

    Might be interested in that 1979 one if nobody has already taken it please

    Liked by 1 person

    • whiterose76 Apr 17, 2016 / 7:42 pm

      Those bookshelves look suspiciously like my own! I have every edition since 1979. I used to get them at prize-giving at our school, which meant I had something to read during the boring speeches. It also now saves my brother having to think what to buy me for my birthday. Pride of place goes to my 1940 edition – Royal Engineers v Royal Artillery and the exploits of Harold Gimblett!
      I’m with the Bogfather – an Almanackaholic and I haven’t picked one up for six weeks now (cue sympathetic round of applause)…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Gambrinus Apr 17, 2016 / 8:28 pm

        I’ve been on the Wisden since 2006, which was the first one after the Ashes. Coincidentally, I was also at the point in my life where I was lucky enough to be able to spend £50 on a book. I’ve bought it every year since then.

        Highlights for me personally are the Notes From The Editor, the Cricket Around The World bit, the book reviews, and the review of another mediocre season from Glummy.

        Like

    • Sherwick Apr 18, 2016 / 11:46 am

      Yes, brilliant.

      Like

  15. nonoxcol Apr 18, 2016 / 5:54 pm

    Lawrence Booth is on Radio 2 right now.

    Or, if you’re reading later and want to check the iplayer, he was on at 6:50ish.

    Like

  16. hatmallet Apr 18, 2016 / 6:27 pm

    There’s a rare episode of The Simpsons on C4 tonight that I hadn’t seen before called MoneyBart.

    Lisa takes over as the coach of Bart’s baseball team and introduces moneyball tactics. Bart then disobeys the tactics, hits a home run but is thrown off the team by an annoyed Lisa.

    In the end he is recalled, disobeys again and loses the game. But everyone hugs and it’s ok.

    Like

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