RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Flying Stups and Cricket Bats
2010 New Zealand Cricket Almanack

Edited by Francis Payne and Ian Smith

Published by Hachette Livre NZ Ltd.
4, Whetu Place, Mairangi Bay
Auckland, New Zealand

Pages 543.

Price New Zealand $ 49.99 plus postage.

Publicist Meredith McGrath meredithm@hachette.co.nz

2010 New Zealand Cricket Almanack is the best ever cricket annual. Francis Payne and Ian Smith must be congratulated for bringing out this excellent annual year after year.

The latest edition covers yet another full year of cricketing activity at all levels. The period under review commenced with the New Zealand Emerging Players in Australia in July 2009 and ended with the White Ferns tour to Ireland and England in July 2010.

Apart from the Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals played by New Zealand during the last twelve months, the Almanack also includes complete coverage of domestic cricket, including Plunket Shield, men's and women's one-day and Twenty20 cricket, Hawke Cup and age-group cricket.

The editors say that the amount of cricket which they are now required to cover, continues unabated.

"The past season has again been a frustrating one for New Zealand cricket followers. Andy Moles resigned as coach early in the season and Daniel Vettori looked after the team until Mark Greatbatch was appointed.

New Zealand lost both Tests in Sri Lanka and failed to qualify for the tri-series final but had more success in the Champions Trophy. They reached the final before going down to Australia by six wickets. The Black Caps defeated Pakistan in the one-day series in Abu Dhabi, lost the Twenty20s in Dubai and drew the Test series 1-1 at home.

New Zealand then completed a clean sweep against Bangladesh before facing Australia. Each side won a Twenty20 contest and Australia won the Chappell-Hadlee series 3-2. In the Tests, however, Australia were far superior and won both games convincingly."

Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori have been chosen as Players of the Year and Michael Bates, Bradley-John Watling and Sam Wells as Promising Players by the Almanack.

The season's happenings, as in the previous years, is the highlight of this Almanack. The statistical highlights, covered in this section, are not to be seen in any other cricket publication and website. Some of the interesting Happenings covered in this Almanack are:

# Umar Akmal posted a century on Test debut at Dunedin and achieved the rare feat of top-scoring in both innings in his first Test. The last player to do so was Bangladesh's opening batsman Tamim Iqbal (53 & 54), at the same ground, in January 2008. The only New Zealand player to be his side's top scorer in both innings on debut was Lee Germon, who made 48 and 41 against India at Bangalore in 1995-96. Germon's debut was also notable for the fact that he was captaining the side in his first Test.

# Shane Bond took 5 for 107 and 3 for 46 in the first Test against Pakistan at University Oval. This turned out to be his last Test, leaving him with the record of having taken atleast one wicket in each of the 32 Test innings that he bowled in. This is by far the best sequence by any bowler in Test history.

# Mitchell Johnson was dismissed for a pair in the second Test at Hamilton but still picked up ten wickets in the match. This is the second time in Tests in New Zealand in recent seasons that this unusual double has been achieved. Muttiah Muralitharan did so at Wellington in 2006-07 and the other players to have done so are George Lohmann, Clarrie Grimmett, Jack Cowie, Alf Valentine, Derek Underwood, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Waqar Younis and Shane Warne.

The record section, comprising New Zealand First-class, Tests, Limited-overs, One-day Internationals, Twenty20 Internationals, Women's Cricket and Minor cricket is meticulously compiled by Francis Payne and Ian Smith.

The Obituaries section covers Kenneth William Hough, Anthony Roy MacGibbon and Trevor Meale.

The volume is presented with care and attention to detail consistent with this publisher's high standards.

We are thankful to Yvonne Thynne, Publicist, Hodder for sending the review copy of the Almanack for our website.

Outstanding Almanack indeed! This essential annual remains as valuable as ever, such is the quality of its contents.