RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Wisden Cricketers of the year
Wisden Cricketers of the Year - A Celebration of Cricket's Greatest Players - Simon Wilde

Published by John Wisden & Co.
- an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP
website: www.wisden.com, www.bloomsbury.com

Publicity Co-ordinators Mark Harrison Harrisons PR
Mobile + 44 (0) 7776 182 506
Email Id: harrisons@ndirect.co.uk & Peter Modoli Peter.Modoli@bloomsbury.com

Pages: 392
Price: Rs.1,999/-

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, the cricketing bible, has been honouring the cricketers for their outstanding service since 1889. Since the start of the last year, which saw the publication of the 150th edition of the famous Almanack, the number of players honoured by Wisden totalled 570 - 569 men and one woman.

According to Scyld Berry, the editor, Claire Taylor's selection in 2009 was made partly in general recognition of the advances made in the women's game in England. "Wisden has never set any parameters such as limiting the Five Cricketers to men, and there is no element of political correctness, or publicity-seeking about her selection," Berry wrote in his Notes. "The best cricketers in the country should be recognised, irrespective of gender."

This beautifully produced monumental book looks back at all the cricketers who have been honoured by Wisden over the years.

In his foreword, David Gower, former England captain, remarks: "It is an honour that comes your way but once and once alone - and, for any cricketer, to be named as one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year is an illustrious accolade."

Gower considers the book a glorious volume, fascinating and easy to dip into at any point. As regards his selection as one of the Five Cricketers of the Year, he says: "For me it came early, after just one reasonably glorious year of Test Cricket, and I suspect that I was too young, too naive, too keen to just get on and play the game, to fully appreciate the honour. Don't get me wrong, it was a mighty proud moment and I was suitably chuffed, but their was still so much to learn and a lot of cricket still to be played."

In the Introductory chapter, we are informed that taken as a whole, Wisden's Cricketers of the Year represent a gallery of almost every cricketer of note since the game acquired a global dimension - provided at some stage they played in England and did something of note there.

In a section, namely, Facts and Figures, interesting stats have been provided e.g. Most players from one team in the same year - in 1938 & 2005, all the cricketers had appeared for teams in the English season prior to selection and in 1949, all five from Australia.

The list of players who have never been selected by Wisden include Alfred Shaw, Reg Perks, Bishan Singh Bedi, Wesley Hall, Wasim Bari, Mark Butcher, Michael Hussey and Chris Gayle.

Virender Sehwag, whose explosive batting exploits for India set new standards for opening an innings in Test cricket, became the first man to receive the award, namely, The Leading Cricketer in the World twice, and by 2013 was the only Leading Cricketer in the World not to have been chosen as a Cricketer of the Year.

Wisden, in 2000, named its Five Cricketers of the Century. To arrive at a "Five", Matthew Engel, the editor, drew on the votes of an electorate of 100 cricketers, journalists, historians and observers spanning all nine (at that time) Test-playing countries. Voters were asked to consider the contributions of cricketers in the broadest sense - taking account of such factors as leadership qualities and impact on the public - and to discount W.G.Grace on the basis that he was primarily a 19th century cricketer. The chosen Five were - Don Bradman (Australia - 100 votes), Garry Sobers (West Indies - 90 votes), Jack Hobbs (England - 30 votes), Shane Warne (Australia - 27 votes) and Vivian Richards (West Indies - 25 votes).

As cricket correspondent of the Sunday Times, Simon Wilde has written biographies of Ranjitsinhji, Ian Botham and Shane Warne apart from assisting two of England's finest left-handed batsmen, David Gower and Graham Thorpe, with their autobiographies.

The book deserves to be bought, read and pondered. Lavishly illustrated, this outstanding publication is a must for collectors of cricket literature.

The production work of Wisden Cricketers of the Year is outstanding. The photographs by the world's leading photographrs are marvellous. Highly recommended.