WISDEN – the cricketers’ bible – continues its 155-year crusade to bring everything that’s important in the sport – and quite a bit that isn’t – to the attention of the patient reader.
The 155th edition (John Wisden, £55) oversees another year of promise for the national game and another year in which that promise failed to be delivered.
Poor showings in recent series, mitigated by some free-scoring high numbers in the shorter form – are all reported, dissected and analysed with Wisden’s usual faultless attention to detail.
If this year’s edition has a theme it would have to be the rise and continued rise of the women’s game.
World cup hero Anya Shrubsole graces the cover and is joined by Heather Knight and Natalie Sciver in a female trio outweighing the men in the much-celebrated cricketers of the year class.
Editor Lawrence Booth rejoices in that fact in his notes and makes the bold promise of endeavouring to open up more of the authorship of the almanack to women writers.
Amid all this female frenzy there was a bit of men’s cricket played and Worcestershire’s return to the top flight in the long game is covered fully. Those who missed out on any moment from this promotion season can peruse John Curtis’ excellent round-up and relive the scores as they occurred.
Spread throughout the book’s 1,500 pages are fabulous examples of the minutiae of the sport. Readers opening this compact but hefty book to find the birthplace of one player will soon find themselves pursuing reports of one-day games in northern Bangladesh or batting averages in the public schools.
The game’s literature, media presence and court appearances also enjoy enhanced coverage.
As intriguing and indispensable as ever, the bright yellow almanack should provide plenty to entertain when the summer’s rain inevitably halts play.