RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2013

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2013
Edited by Lawrence Booth
Co-editor Hugh Chevallier
Deputy Editors: Steven Lynch and Harriet Monkhouse

Published by John Wisden & Co. - an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP

Pages 1586

Price Sterling Pounds Fifty

It is 'Wisden time' once again. Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2013, the 150th edition, is the second under the editorship of Lawrence Booth, who has done a competent job. Wisden's status as the most famous sports book in the world reaches a new landmark with this publication.

Since 1864, cricket's iconic book of records has carried contemporary reports on over 22,000 County Championship games, covered more than 2,000 Test matches, honoured 570 Wisden Cricketers of the Year and published, in total, more than 133,400 pages.

Most of us look first for the Five Cricketers of the Year, which are based on the performances during the previous English season and in the Test series involving England. England batsman Nick Compton has been chosen, joining his grandfather, Denis Compton, who earned the accolade in 1939. They record the first instance of a grandfather and grandson accomplishing the feat. Jacques Kallis, Marlon Samuels, Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla complete the list.

While profiling Jacques Kallils, Christopher Martin-Jenkins calls him as "The best, most classical and most durable all-rounder of his generation, and arguably of all time, was the mighty difference between South Africa and England in the summer of 2012. His presence gave the tourists an enviable balance, leaving England - who dared not bat their wicketkeeper Mat Prior at No.6 to accommodate an extra bowler - outgunned.

Michael Clarke's outstanding achievements make him a worthy choice as the leading cricketer in the world, becoming the third Australian after Ricky Ponting (2003) and Shane Warne (2004) to receive the prestigious award. The award, introduced in 2003, is chosen by the editor of Wisden in consultation with some of the world's most experienced cricket writers and commentators. Virender Sehwag is the only player to be chosen twice and that too in successive years - in 2008 & 2009.

In a chapter, Cricket in The Courts, the readers have been informed that the Indian off-spinner Uday Joshi, who made his name playing for Sussex in the 1970s, was jailed for six years on March 9 for sexually abusing a boy while playing and coaching in Northern Ireland in 1979.

Tony Cozier, the veteran West Indian journalist and broadcaster reflects on the 50th anniversary of his first tour of England. His five Wisden Trophy moments have been Wes Hall - Lord's 1963; Garry Sobers - Lord's 1966, Michael Holding - The Oval 1976; Gordon Greenidge - Lord's 1984 and Malcolm Marshall - Headingley 1984.

To mark the unique anniversary, Wisden has named the ten most seminal moments in cricket during the 150 years covered by the Almanack. The ten Moments in Time are: 1871: W.G.Grace rewrites the record books; 1882: The Ashes are born;1932-33: Bodyline divides two nations; 1963: The Gillette Cup is launched; 1968: The D'Oliveira Affair exposes apartheid; 1975-76: Defeat in Australila sparks West Indies' pace revolution; 1977-78: World Series Cricket shakes the foundations; 1992-93: Technology takes its bow; 2000: Hansie Cronje admits to match-fixing and 2008: The first IPL auction puts a price on everything.

Lawrence Booth, the Almanack's 17th editor, describes the behaviour of Kevin Pietersen that triggered the events as "arrogant" and "self-pitying".

England captains past and present, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, receive generous praise in Lawrence Booth's sesquicentennial edition notes. But against a backdrop of too much international cricket, doubt is raised about how long Cook can remain in charge in an era where player rotation has become the norm and even the Ashes are in danger of overexposure. There are concerns too for emerging English spin bowlers denied turning pitches in domestic cricket.

Forty five pages have been devoted to the Obituaries section. Wisden remarked about Tony Greig: "For a brief few years in mid-1970s, Tony Greig was arguably the leading all-rounder in Test cricket- a belligerent middle-order batsman capable of match-turning hundreds, a wicket-taking bowler (in two styles), who bristled with attacking intent, and a magnificent fielder in any position".

Cricket books have been reviewed by John Crace, a TV reviewer and columnist for The Guardian. Christopher Lane has done a superb job in compiling Wisden - A Timeline.

The winner of the third Wisden-MCC Cricket Photograph of the Year is Anthony Au-Yeung of Photosport, New Zealand for his spectacular image capturing an airborne Tatenda Taibu fielding a ball at full stretch during the New Zealand vs Zimbabwe Twenty20 match at Eden Park, Auckland on 11 February 2012.

In a Crime and Punishment section, India's captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Mahela Jayawardene, Brendon McCullum, Umar Akmal, Ishant Sharma, David Warner, Abraham de Villiers and a few others figure for their involvements between 2011-12 and 2012-13 season.

Cricket Round the World section, since the feature commenced in 1993, have reports on cricket in over one hundred different countries and territories, from Bulgaria to Poland.

Cricket records, comprising first-class, Tests, One-day Internationals, Twenty20 Internationals, Women's Cricket, updated to the end of the 2012-13 season, have been meticulously compiled by Philip Bailey.

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2013 is a mammoth production and reflects great credit upon its team of compilers under the direction of its editor. Highly recommended. An indispensable companion at the game.

We are thankful to Mark Harrison (Harrisons Public Relations Email: harrisons@ndirect.co.uk ) for arranging to send Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2013 for our website.