RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2021 - Edited by Lawrence Booth, Co-editor Hugh Chevallier,
International Editor Steven Lynch and Statistical Editor Harriet Monkhouse
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2021
Edited by Lawrence Booth
Co-editor Hugh Chevallier
International Editor Steven Lynch
and Statistical Editor Harriet Monkhouse

Consultant Publisher Christopher Lane,


Pages: 1250

Price: Sterling Pounds 55

ISBN: 978-1-4729-7547-8

It is 'Wisden Time' once again. Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2021, the 158th edition, is the tenth under the editorship of Lawrence Booth, who has done a competent job once again.

The latest edition of the cricket world's bible, in its familiar yellow and brown cover and with all the usual indispensable features, got released in April.

Another enduring Wisden tradition dating back to 1889, is the selection of the Five Cricketers of the Year. By tradition, the selection made by the Editor, is based primarily on the performance during the previous English season nd in the Test series involving England. Quite naturally, there have been more Englishmen than others in this anxiously awaited Bible.

Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Darren Stevens, Jason Holder and Mohammad Rizwan are the editor's choice as Five Cricketers of the Year - still the most prestigious award in the game.

In the Editorial Notes, Lawrence Booth has remarked: "Cricket has never been less important than in 2020 - and never more. As coronovirus spread, it seemed frivolous to wonder when the season might start, or whether anyone would be there to watch; months later, with the UK's death toll into six figures, even writing about runs and wickets felt wrong.

But this is a sports book, so let us start with what we know best. Cricket, like everything else, had its heart ripped out, and its soul very nearly crushed (for once, soul struck the right note). It lost family and friends. It made compromises in order to survive, and may take years to recover. The story is far from over."

The cricket books, released last year, have been reviewed by Emma John. This is Cricket: In the Spirit of the Game by Daniel Melemud has been adjudged the Wisden Book of the Year 2021.

Ben Stokes was named the leading cricketer in the World in 2020. While profiling him, Dean Wilson remarked: "In seven Tests in 2020, Strokes averaged 58 with the bat, having scored more runs (641) than anyone in the world, and 18 with the ball. He had already become only the second England player to win this award, after Andrew Flintoff; now, he is the third of any nationality, after Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli, to win it in successive years. All the while, his mind could justifiably have been elsewhere."

Australia's Beth Mooney has been adjudged the leading woman cricketer in the World in 2020.

Lawrence Booth has written an outstanding piece on fifty years of One-Day International Cricket. While covering the 2010s, he has paid a rich tribute to Virat Kohli. "He redefined what was possible in run-chases. There had been great finishers before: Australians Dean Jones and Michael Bevan, then Kohli's own World Cup-winning captain, M.S. Dhoni. But Kohli was something else. He batted in 82 of India's 94 victorious chases, scoring 5,076 runs at an average of 95 with 21 hundreds and 20 fifties. His competitiveness meant it was not enough simply to lead his team towards the finishing line: he had to breast the tape himself; there were 29 not-outs. While Kohli was at the crease, India were in the game. And he made his runs with a lightness of touch that was supposed to be going out of fashion. He could clear the ropes when he had to, but he also picked gaps and turned ones into twos."

Sharda Ugra is full of praise for MS Dhoni. In her piece The pan-Indian hero, she remarked: Through the course of a 15-year international career, formally brought to a close last August, M.S.Dhoni maximised his all-round abilities. In Tests, that meant high-quality keeping, and middle-order attack or defence. In Limited-overs cricket, he had - in his prime - an innate sense of how to manoeuvre a chase, or cut off his opponent's path to a target; he remained in calm control of the high-speed decision-making needed in T20. At his best, he stayed ahead of a game's tempo."

On the three Ws (Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott and Everton Weekes) my favourite all-round cricketer, Sir Garfield Sobers commented: "They have all gone now. Frank from leukaemia at the age of 42 in 1967. Clyde aged 80 in 2006, and Everton last year at 95. Yet they will neveer be forgotten, not just in the Caribbean, but all-round the world. They were great players and great ambassadors for West Indies cricket. They were also great people."

One of the Cricketing bible's most popular features has always been its obituaries. 84 pages have been deovted to this section. Apart from John Edrich, Sir Everton Weekes, Eric Freeman, Dean Jones, Bapu Nadkarni, Chetan Chauhan, John Richard Reid, Vasant Raiji, Raju Bharatan and Kishore Bhimani have been featured in this edition.

In a chapter, Cricket and the Law of the land in 2020, it is mentioned that former Gloucestershire batsman Grant Hodnett, 38, narrowly escaped jail after he admitted sending derogatory messages about his ex-girlfriend to her friends, family and business contacts. This followed his discovery that she worked in adult modelling. The victim said his actions had started to increase, and was scared what might happen next.

In a Crime and Punishment section - ICC Code of Conduct - Breaches and Penalties in 2019-20 to 2020-21, two Indian players figure - Virat Kohli (four times) and Rohit Sharma (once).

Well produced and well-researched, the text is adorned with some superb colour photographs. A lavish production indeed.

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2021 provides all the facts and figures of a year, meticulously compiled by Philip Bailey and Andrew Samson.

Many happy hours can be spent absorbing the endless data.

Despite its price tag of Sterling Pounds 55, it is a must for cricket enthusiasts.