RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
South African Cricket Annual 2012

South African Cricket Annual 2012
Edited by Colin Cryden
Statistics by Andrew Samson

Published by Cricket South Africa
PO Box 55009, Northlands 2116

Pages: 688

Price: Rand 199

What is common between Vernon Philander, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Richard Levi, Farhaan Behardien and Marchant De Lange? They all have been named as Cricketers of the Year by South African Cricket Annual 2012.

Altus Momberg, while profiling Richard Levi, remarked: "Sixty-seven minutes was all it took to change Richard Levi from a respected batsman on the South African domesic scene to a global sensation. Levi's astonishing innings in Hamilton, where he not only broke the record for the fastest hundred (45 balls) in the history of Twenty20 Internationals, but also for the most sixes hit in an innings (13), launched the burly Capetonian onto the world stage."

Colin Bryden, in his editorial notes, says: "The performance of the national team during the period covered by this Annual was a source of pride for all who follow South African cricket. The Proteas have been ranked number one in Test cricket before - in 2003 and 2009 - without necessarily convincing the world, or even themselves, that they were the champions. This time, though, they earned universal acclamation after defeating Englnd, the previous holders of the International Cricket Council mace, by two Test matches to nil on their own turf."

Bryden is full of praise for Graeme Smith and Gary Kirsten: "Graeme Smith marked his 100th Test match with a century at The Oval and his world record 94th Test captaincy with a match and a series victory at Lord's. Thrust into the job as a 22-year-old in 2003, he has matured in the role and his leadership, especially in England, was outstanding. Two factors may have contributed to this. The first was his decision to give up the captaincy of the limited overs sides, relieving him of the responsibility of always having to be the front man. The second was the appointment of Gary Kirsten as coach. Kirsten and Smith make an excellent combination and the management team that Kirsten has put in place has, to quote a modern sporting cliche, taken the South African team to a new level."

Special obituary tributes are paid to Basil Lewis D'Oliveira, Graham Roy Dilley and Peter Michael Roebuck.

The detailed study of a South African first-class season will be of inestimable value to the cricket historians of the future. The attention to minutiae is exemplary. South African Cricket Annual 2012 is both pleasingly designed and reasonably priced and a priceless work of reference.

Andrew Samson deserves full credit for meticulously-compiled records' section, comprising South African Tests, ODIs, Twenty20 Internationals apart from first-class cricket. South African Women International Records also feature in this excellent Annual.

Ros Brodie should be congratulated for formating the scorecards efficiently.

This is a handsome, well-illustrated volume and would make an excellent present for a cricket lover of any age and grace any bookshelf.