RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2023 - Edited by Lawrence Booth, Co-editor Hugh Chevallier, International Editor Steven Lynch and Statistical Editor Harriet Monkhouse.

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2023
Edited by Lawrence Booth, Co-editor Hugh Chevallier,
International Editor Steven Lynch
and Statistical Editor Harriet Monkhouse.

Consultant Publisher Christopher Lane.

First Published in Great Britain in 2023 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP, UK

Website: www.wisdenalmanack.com and www.wisdenrecords.com

ISBN 978-1-3994-0619-2
Price: £ 57

The 160th edition of the cricket world's bible, in its familiar yellow and brown cover and with all the usual indispensable features, is out. With 1616 pages (the longest since 2011), the latest edition is a mammoth production.

For any cricket enthusiast, the highlight of the year is surely the release of the distinctive coloured Cricketing bible, The Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and this year's edition, with all the usual indispensable features, is out.

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2023 has named England's Ben Stokes as 'The Leading Cricketer in the World' for 2022.

Australia's Beth Mooney has been named as 'The leading cricketer in the world (Women)' for 2022. She was first been named in 2020. Australia's Meg Lamning (2014), New Zealand's Suzie Bates (2015), Australia's Ellyse Perry (2016 & 2019), India's Mithali Raj (2017), Smriti Mandhana (2018) and South Africa's Lizelle Lee (2021) got the honours in the previous years.

In his editorial notes, Lawrence Booth has remarked: "From Manchester to Multan, Kennington to Karachi, England's Test cricketers rewrote the rules and reordered the imagination. Scoring quickly and winning plenty were not original concepts, but the speed and scale of their progress were breathtaking: nine victories out of ten, at 4.77 an over, previously a fair lick in a one-dayer.

Both says "more enterprise is needed to maintain interest in Test Cricket, after the international fixture list confirmed a hopeless imbalance: between this summer and the end of the 2026-27 winter, England will play 20 of their 43 Tests against Australia or India; and only those three teams will regularly contest meaningful series."

Harmanpreet Kaur, Daryl Mitchell, Matthew Potts, Ben Foakes and Tom Blundell have been named as Five cricketers of the year. Karunya Keshav, while profiling Harmanpreet, says, "At a time when women's cricket has more money and marketability, and demands more attention, she is its face in India. Going into the inaugural Women's Premier League after her best year in international cricket, her star seemed likely to go in only one direction."

Neil Harvey, who played the last of his 79 Tests in 1962-63, and finished with 6,149 runs at 48, remarked: "I learned a lot about life and cricket by watching my team-mates, and I've never forgotten it. It wasn't just the way they behaved on the field - there was no sledging - but off it, too. We went to a lot of top-class functions, and they showed the way to conduct yourself, how to dress and how to speak. I was a better man after that tour, and a lot of it was to do with the leadership. I'm so proud to be a member of that 1948 side."

Ross Taylor and Mithali Raj have been paid rich tributes by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2023. According to Mark Geenty, Ross Taylor's 112 Tests included some memorable knocks. "An innings of 154 against England at Manchester in 2008 was one of his finest, as he marked his guard in blood after Daniel Flynn was hit through the grille by James Anderson. And when New Zealand won at Hobart in 2011-12, on a rabid green seamer, Taylor took the body blows; his second-innings 56 was the equal-highest score of the match. Four years later, he compiled an epic 290 at Perth, still the best by a visiting Test batsman in Australia."

In a Crime and Punishment section - ICC Code of Conduct - Breaches and Penalties in 2021-22 to 2022-23, India's Rohit Sharma figures twice for not ensuring to complete the overs in the allotted time.

The 67-page Obituaries section includes the obituaries of David Holford, cousin of Sir Garfield Sobers, Rodney Marsh, Jim Parks, Sonny Ramadhin, Barry Sinclair, Andrew Symonds, Raees Mohammad, Victor Isaacs, a scorer and statistician, Meenal Gavaskar, mother of Sunil Gavaskar and Shane Warne.

Wisden and MCC have commissioned a new trophy, awarded for the calendar year's outstanding individual Test performance, by a man or a woman. Jonny Bairstow is the first winner for his two hundreds - 106 & 114 not out - against India at Edgbaston, as England chased down 378 for three with ease in July 2022. With an unbroken match-winning stand of 269 for the fourth wicket with Joe Root, they set a record for the highest successful chase in the fourth innings against any nation.

Cricket books have been reviewed by Nicholas Lezard, writer and reviewer for The Guardian and The Spectator since 1985. Nicholas says John Flatley in his book The Headleys: Three Generations of Test Cricketers tells the story of George, Ron and Dean. (Only one other family - Jahangir, Majid and Bazid Khan - have managed the feat). He says George was one of West Indies' greats, and a Test average of 60 does not lie. His son and grandson might not have been as talented - although Dean's career was cut short by injury - but their lives deserve celebrating, too.

Steven Lynch has done a superb job in compiling Anniversaries in 2023-24.

Fifty years ago, One hundred years ago and One hundred and 50 years ago have been compiled by Christopher Lane.

Suryakumar Yadav has been named as The Leading Twenty20 Cricketer in the World in 2022. According to Alan Gardner, Yadav's rise to the top of the rankings was as remarkable as it was inexorable, given he had spent a decade in Indian domestic cricket, waiting to be noticed. As ever, the IPL provided a platform, and he has twice been a champion with Mumbai Indians, even if they finished last in 2022, despite his 303 runs at a strike rate of 145. His philosophy is straightforward, and perfectly attuned to the format: "If there's a ball to be hit...from ball one, go for it." As far as T20 batting is concerned right now, SKY's is the limit."

As in the past, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2022 contains reports and scorecards of all three formats of international cricket, namely, Tests, One-day Internationals and Twenty20 internationals apart from first-class cricket and Women's cricket, together with forthright opinion, compelling features and comprehensive records.

The text is adorned with some superb colour photographs. A lavish production, the latest Almanack provides all the facts and figures of a year, meticulously compiled by Philip Bailey and Andrew Samson.

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2023 is a mammoth production and reflects great credit upon its team of compilers under the direction of its editor, Lawrence Booth.

Highly recommended. An indispensable companion at the game. Many happy hours can be spent absorbing the endless data.

Despite its price tag of Sterling Pounds 57, it is a must for cricket enthusiasts.