RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
South African Cricket Annual 2020
South African Cricket Annual 2020
Edited by Colin Bryden
Statistics by Andrew Samson

Published by Cricket South Africa
P.O.Box 55009,
Northlands 2116,
South Africa.

Price South African Rands 250

Pages 632

Beuran Hendricks, George Linde, Pieter Malan, Lutho Sipamla and Laura Wolvaardt have been named as the South African Cricket Annual's Cricketers of the Year. Unlike the official Cricket South Africa awards, a player can only be honoured once as a SA Cricket Annual Cricketer of the Year.

Laura Wolvaardt, according to Firdose Moonda, has a habit of breaking glass ceilings. A clean striker of the ball, who has one of the smoothest cover drives in the game, Laura was selected at the age of eleven for the Western Province Under-19 team. At 17, she became South Africa's youngest ODI centurion and at 21, had more scores over 50 (18 - 2 hundreds and sixteen fifties) than any other player of that age, outstripping a record set by Sachin Tendulkar. She is also only the second woman to be selected as one of the South African Cricket Annual's Five Cricketers of the Year, after Dane van Niekerk in 2017, following a season of outstanding performances. Her image on the cover is recognition of the growing importance of the women's game, according to the editor.

The outstanding annual, edited by Journalist and Broadcaster Colin Bryden provides a comprehensive 632-page record of cricket played in South Africa during the past year, including full reports of South African tour to India apart from the tours by England and Australia to South Africa. Also covered in the Annual are ICC Women's T20 World Cup and ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.

Vernon Philander has been paid a rich tribute by Zaahier Adams. "He was the complete package: strong under the high ball, an elusive runner who ghosted through defences with a booming boot to match. While the wickets may have earned him global acclaim, it was his attitude in the heat of battle that earned him the respect of his peers in the Proteas dressing room.

In the Editor's Notes' section, Colin Bryden remarked: "Faf du Plessis was a forthright, capable and intelligent captain and had some notable successes, although his record was spoiled by the World Cup and the Test series against India and England.

While the men's season was largely disappointing, the Proteas women won a one-day series in New Zealand, which earned them automatic qualification for the Women's World Cup, originally due to be held in New Zealand in 2021 but postponed to 2022 because of COVID - 19. Then, in the most-watched Women's cricket tournament of all time, South Africa reached the semi-finals of the Women's T20 World Cup in Australia. The Proteas were unfortunate to be eliminated in a rain-affected semi-final against the hosts, who went on to win the final against India before a world record crowd in Melbourne."

South African Cricket Annual is deservingly being held in the highest regard internationally alongside other prestigious publications such as the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and New Zealand Cricket Almanack - the credit of which goes to Colin Bryden, Andrew Samson, South Africa's number one cricket statistician and Ros Brodie apart from regular contributors.

A veritable mine of information, this richly filled edition holds many pleasures to be savoured and maintains the exemplary standards of a publication of high repute.

The highlight of the South African Cricket Annual, as always, has been a meticulously compiled records' section by my friend, Andrew Samson, covering South African Tests, ODIs, Twenty20 Internationals apart from first-class and South African women cricket.

Over the years, Andrew Samson has done a tremendous amount of research, producing interesting facts and figures. His excellent statistical work needs no introduction. It is first-rate.

South African Cricket Annual 2020 contains sections on Obituaries, Who's Who, South African International Cricketers and Features of the season and Women's cricket.

'Ewie' Cronje, who was a major figure in South African, and especially Orange Free State cricket and also the father of Hansie Cronje, the late South African captain, and Frans, Hansie's older brother, figures in the Obituaries' section. He died at Bloemfontein on May 11, 2020 at the age of 80.

The future of the Annual is now in doubt, according to Colin Bryden. "The Editor is hopeful of finding a way of continuing to record the deeds of our cricketers for posterity but, if this is to be the final issue, thank you to all who have made my task a labour of love.

I have been Editor since 1995 and it has been a source of pride to have produced an accurate, informative record of cricket in South Africa. Many people have contributed to the Annual being respected internationally, not least Andrew Samson, CSA's official statistician, and Robin Isherwood, whose meticulous research and fact-checking was crucial in establishing a reliable data base. Sue Abbott took over from Robin in checking every detail of every scorecard and Ros Brodie has formatted the scores throughout my journey, while Peter Martin assumed the important task of proof-reading to ensure that any errors were kept to an absolute minimum."