RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2020
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2020
Edited by Lawrence Booth, Co-editor Hugh Chevallier, International Editor Steven Lynch and Statistical Editor Harriet Monkhouse.

Consultant Publisher Christopher Lane


pages 1538

Price Sterling Pounds 55

ISBN: 978-1-4729-7285-9

The latest edition of the most famous sports book in the world and long-lived cricket world's bible, in its familiar yellow and brown cover and with all the usual indispensable features, is out, providing unparalleled coverage of an extraordinary year of cricket.

The 157th edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack celebrates England's World Cup triumph on a memorable day at Lord's. The beautiful cover of the cricketing bible captured the moment of victory - and arguably the most important split second in the history of English Cricket - as Jos Buttler ran out Martin Guptill from the last ball of the super over to confirm England as Champions.

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. Jofra Archer, Pat Cummins, Simon Harmer, Marnus Labuschagne and Ellyse Perry are the editor's choice - still the most prestigous award in the game.

The seventh female Cricketer of the Year was the first from outside England. Profiling her, Melinda Farrell commented, "Perhaps the only surprise about Ellyse Perry's inclusion as one of Wisden's Five was that it had not happened before. Since becoming Australia's youngest debutante in 2007, aged 16, she has so often played a pivotal role that it is easy to take her for granted. Whether opening the bowling, batting at No.4 or shining in the field, she has made the exceptinal seem routine."

Ben Stokes received the award as the Leading cricketer in the World. Richard Gibson remarked, "While cricket is a game of numbers, his impact went well beyond his batting stats - though they were impressive. Across the calendar year, he hit 821 Test runs at 45, including an Ashes hundred at Lord's, and 719 in one-day internationals, at almost 60. Rivals dwarfed his 50-over tally, and scored at a faster lick: Stokes's one-day strike-rate of 92 was the lowest of England's established top six. But those two landmark innings... 84 and 135, both unbeaten, the first propelling his country to a maiden World Cup, the second inspiring a national record Test chase of 359. They alone were feats worthy of breaking Virat Kohli's three-year monopoly as Wisden's Leading Cricketer in the World; in the award's 17 years, only one other Englishman - Andrew Flintoff in 2005 - has prevailed."

Competently edited by Lawrence Booth, this year's edition covers every first-class game in every cricket nation, reports and scorecards for all international matches - Tests, ODIs and T20Is, together with trenchant opinion, excellent analysis, compelling features and comprehensive records, making it a "must-have" publication for every cricket enthusiast.

The 2019 edition of Vivo Indian Premier League has been covered by Kritika Naidu while domestic cricket in India in 2018-19 has been covered by R.Mohan.

The cricket books, released last year, have been reviewed by Alex Massie. Cricket 2.0: Inside the T20 Revolution by Tim Wigmore and Freddie Wilde has been adjudged as Wisden Book of the Year.

Covering the 2019 World Cup Final, Booth remarked; "Words were not enough, but the captains tried anyway. "Extraordinary," said Morgan. "Gutted," said Williamson. More or less everyone else was speechless. England had won their first men's World Cup on an obscure technicality, after tying not once with New Zealand, but twice: 241 apiece after 50 overs, then 15-all after the super over. But because they had hit more boundaries overall (27 to 17), England were declared the winners. It was slightly random, and possibly unjust. Yet the drama was unsurpassable, outdoing even the 1999 semi-final between Australia and South Africa at Edgbaston. Neither side deserved to lose, but someone had to win."

Bob Willis, who died on December 4, 2019, aged 70, has been paid a rich tribute in the Obituaries section. "Wills may have lacked the aesthetic of Harold Larwood, the theatricality of Fred Trueman, or the guile of James Anderson, but he was among England's fast-bowling greats. In his era, he lost nothing in hostility to Lillee, Jeff Thomson or the West Indians. Standing 6 ft 6in, he charged in off a long, curving run, and delivered in a tangle of hair and arms, which flapped behind him, earning the nickname "Goose". He had an open-chested action. "If it was swinging, he would swing it in; if it was seaming, he would move it away," said Brearley. He was not engrossed in mechanics, but could be analytical. "He would talk about length and direction. He would ask if he looked all right, and talk to the wicketeeper about how the ball was hitting the gloves."

Two West Indian great batsmen Basil Butcher, who died on December 16, aged 86 and Seymour Nurse, who died on May 6, aged 85 - both last year - also figure in the Obituaries section. In his final innings, Nurse had scored 258 against New Zealand at Christchurch in 1968-69 - a record for the highest score by a batsman in his final Test innings.

In a Crime and Punishment section - ICC Code of Conduct - Breaches and Penalties in 2018-19 to 2019-20, two Indians figure - Virat Kohli vs Afghanistan (WC ODI) at Southampton and vs South Africa, third T20I at Bangalore and Navdeep Saini vs West Indies, first T30I at Lauderhill. It happened on debut for Saini.

The Cricket Round the World section, compiled by James Coyne and Timothy Abraham, is more extensive than ever.

Other features of this year's Almanack include Wisden naming its champion all-format county. Lancashire, with 406 points, are on top of the table, followed by Warwickshire (393) and Essex (375).

Well produced and well researched, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2020, provides all the facts and figures of a year, meticulously compiled by Philip Bailey, Andrew Samson and Benedict Bermange.

The text is adorned with some fantastic colour photographs. A lavish production indeed. Many happy hours can be spent absorbing the endless interesting data.