RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
2015 New Zealand Cricket Almanack
2015 New Zealand Cricket Almanack
Edited by Francis Payne and Ian Smith

A Mower Book
Published by Upstart Press Ltd.
B3, 72, Apollo Drive, Rosedale,
Auckland, New Zealand

ISBN 978-1-927262-39-9

Pages 572

RRP New Zealand $ 55.00

Francis Payne and Ian Smith are New Zealand's foremost cricket statisticians and have been editing the Cricket Almanack for many years. The 68th edition of New Zealand Cricket Almanack is the 33rd edited by Francis Payne and Ian Smith. Cricket's library has been enriched by the appearance of this Almanack over the years.

Trent Boult and Brendon McCullum have been named Players of the Year and Jacob Duffy, Henry Nicholls and Will Young as promising players.

2015 New Zealand Cricket Almanack is a quality product from Upstart Press Ltd., deserving 100% marks for production, designing, formating and lay-out of scorecards apart from extraordinary black and white photographs. A veritable mine of information, Almanack is an invaluable part of cricket enthusiast's kit bag and is the cricket lover's bible of New Zealand Cricket.

The past twelve months, according to the editors, have seen New Zealand rise to third place in International Cricket Council's rankings in both Tests and One Day Internationals. "The World Cup was the showpiece of the season and was staged in Australia and New Zealand for the first time in 23 years. Coming off three successive series wins, New Zealand were expected to do well and they did not disappoint. They won eight matches in a row to reach the final for the first time. Although beaten in the final New Zealand had captured the imagination of cricket fans worldwide with their attacking style of play, whether with the bat, ball or in the field."

According to the editors, two special milestones were reached in one-day internationals with Martin Guptill recording New Zealand's first double century and Tim Southee becoming the first New Zealand player to take seven wickets in an innings. Some of the Interesting Happenings covered in the latest edition are:

# New Zealand won ten successive one-day Internationals for the first time between January 31, 2015 and March 24, 2015. They won both games against Pakistan and Wellington and Napier and their first eight matches of the World Cup. New Zealand's previous best sequence was nine wins in nine games in 2006-07 when they won three Chappell-Hadlee matches and six World Cup games in a row.

# Only ten players batted in New Zealand's second innings of 454-8 wickets declared in the second Test against England at Leeds in May/June 2015 but eight of them hit sixes, the first instance in Test history. The previous record for one innings was seven players hitting sixes for South Africa (543-6 wickets declared) against West Indies at Basseterre in 2010. Martin Guptill Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, BJ Watling, Luke Ranchi, Mark Craig and Tim Southee each hit one six while Matt Henry (who only faced four balls) hit two.

# The scorecard of New Zealand's innings of 690 vs Pakistan at Sharjah in November 2014 featured the unique sight of three batsmen (Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson and Tim Southee) dismissed for exactly fifty. This had never happened before in the entire history of Test Cricket. Three players posted 50 in West Indies' first innings of 444 for nine wickets declared against India at Port of Spain in 1961-62 but while Easton McMorris and Willie Rodriguez were dismissed for 50, Wes Hall remained 50 not out.

# New Zealand scored 360 for five in the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka at Dunedin on January 23, 2015 - the highest total achieved by any team after losing a wicket off the first ball of the innings - Martin Guptill being caught behind off Nuwan Kulasekara. The only higher total made by a team which lost its first wicket without a run on the board was Australia's 368 for five against Sri Lanka in Sydney on February 12, 2006. Adam Gilchrist was out second ball and Australia were 10-3 before Ricky Ponting made 124 and Andrew Symonds 151. England subsequently beat both records when they scored 408 for 9 against New Zealand at Birmingham on June 9, 2015 after losing Jason Roy to the first ball of the match.

A detailed statistical section, covering Tests, ODIs and First-class cricket apart from New Zealand limited-overs records and Obituaries section, as always, are always exhaustive. Domestic cricket featured the inaugural Georgie Pie Super Smash Twenty20 competition, the Plunket Shield, the Ford Trophy and the women's fifty-over and Twenty20 competitions.

Peter Petherick, who died on June 7, 2015, has been paid a rich tribute. Two other New Zealand cricketers - Graham Gedye and Mike Shrimpton passed away during the year.

The Almanack deserves to be bought, read and pondered.