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4.7 out of 5 stars31
4.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 April 2012
Given the option of taking one book onto that desert island, some would select the Holy Bible. Others, myself included, would plump for their own bible, that of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, now on its 149th edition.

It's not that easy to review a book that is primarily based on statistics. Whatever the subject matter, either you like it or you don't. When it comes to Wisden, there is no in between of, "well it`s okay but...."; it's either one star or it's five stars. Having said that, no one would ever give a statistical anthology on cricket, football, or anything else less than a top rating, as you wouldn't be reading it if you didn't have a great interest in what's within the pages.

Lawrence Booth, a man with a cricket writers' pedigree, takes over the responsibility of Editor and does a decent job, not that it could be anything other than that, as the format hasn't really changed since 1864. Once again, the editorial is worth reading (though 17 pages on `Behind the Scenes at the ICC' is a bit much) and brings up a few surprises; how many know the 1900 Olympics had a one-off cricket final between England and France? (The earliest the sport can be included is 2024.) There is also a worrying trend of the 20/50 over format taking over from Test matches, as read in a brief piece by Richard Gillis; the World Test Championship planned for 2013 isn't going to happen because India couldn't be guaranteed to be involved, and it appears only tournaments that country can't lose will be considered staging. As for the ubiquitous `Five Cricketers of the Year', one of Booth's selections might have anyone outside Worcestershire scratching their head.

What may be surprising is that the total page count comes in at 1552, nearly 100 less than you'll be used to. This is due to one significant change; the removal of the pages dedicated to the Laws, though any changes of such and their impact is still mentioned. The colour photos are of the usual high standard, one of which shows the vast crowd at a Nepal v Kuwait 20/20 game which will leave many county treasurers crying into their empty coffers, but there are a third fewer than last year. (There is one moment of high irony within the photo on page 91; see if you can spot it.)

Additions this year include total attendances for each county in their Championship games (Somerset top; Northants bottom) and the turnout for CB40 matches. What is still missing is a table to show the reader how Duckworth/Lewis is worked out. Yes, there is the text explanation, but it is a bit confusing; an included table would be easier and also handy. Something to interest everyone for next year is a chance to be published in Wisden 2013, conspicuous by its absence until now - well, until the 150th edition anyway. My only gripe (and it's a continuous one each year) is why this isn't published around 1st April, before the season starts. Surely publication date can be brought forward a week or so.

There was a time when the football season ended and cricket began, with the roles reversed in the southern hemisphere. With first class cricket now seemingly played at least once each week of the year, maybe some things will need to be altered or even dropped from the almanack in order to fit in all those extra matches. What this edition of Wisden makes clear is that those responsible for running the sport make that headless chicken appear intelligent.

Whatever the future holds, this is still one of the most anticipated books of the year, and possibly the only book some buy.
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Wisden Cricketers' Almanack remains the most complete and comprehensive review of cricket. The heavyweight distinctive yellow (now with a cover photograph) has filled my book shelf for years. The new editor,Lawrence Booth, has set his stamp on how he feels the game is to progress. 1522 pages of reference, statistics, but more so the opinions of the editor and other knowledgible contributors. Money seems to drive the game. So be it. The one day and 20/20 matches attract massive crowds. Instant hits and results. I agree with Mr Booth that the intrigue, guile, unpredictable variation in the 5 day test matches are under threat. Personally I feel this is the ultimate form. The one day shoot-off will attract like soccer but will it burn off? The Indian power is not in dispute for financial reasons. The Pakistan scandal is not disregarded nor other potential avenues of corruption. Mike Brearly relates the associations of cricketers and their emotional and depressive problems. Long term abscences on the county circuit and lengthy tours have had their well-known effects on players.
Apart from the wealth of information, we are reminded of the losses of legendary cricketers. Trevor Bailey, Basil d'Oliveira, Fred Titmus amongst others.
The Five cricketers of the year are described in detail and the reasons for their selection. Some open for debate but that's cricket.
Indispensable for lovers of the most marvellous of sports. A pick up and read that will last for more than a year.
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on 13 April 2012
Gosh, is it really a year since the last one? The new cricket season waits before us, to borrow radio genius Danny Baker's delicious aphorism, like a great big shoe with its lights on. It's quite probably my age, but the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack is surely coming round quicker every year. At least that's how it feels.

It's the first under the editorship of Lawrence Booth, the youngest editor of the Wisden Almanack for 72 years. I'm pleased to report its very much business as usual. No boats have been rocked, it still looks, feels and reads very much like a Wisden should. He tackles the weighty issues affecting (the future of) the game - Twenty20, India and the IPL, the jailing of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, the World Cup and Test cricket. However, he has also introduced two competitions (see page 25), one of which offers a lucky reader/writer the chance to have his or her work published in next year's Almanack, which will be the 150th.

The big news is always the Five Cricketers of the Year. Yes, the selection of Alastair Cook was a no-brainer, but what had he done, or not done, to escape the accolade thus far, a full six years since his debut ton in India? Likewise, Kumar Sangakkara, a run-glutton for Sri Lanka for the past dozen years, who was also named The Leading Cricketer in the World, 2011. Tim Bresnan, a cricketer who is showing every promise of rising above the rank of doughty yeoman into something approaching the new Flinto... Let's just say he's turning into a pretty useful Test all-rounder. Completing the quintet are County Champions Lancashire and Worcestershire stalwarts respectively Glen Chapple and Alan Richardson.

A mighty two hundred plus pages are devoted to absorbing essays, reviews and comment before we get on to the nuts and bolts of stats covering every game of note from the past year with records being broken or updated from across the game's rich history.

It's not for me to tell you what to read in a Wisden Almanack, it's for you to delve in as your whim takes you. What gives greatest delight, for me, is that nothing escapes its attention, however obscure or arcane. I chanced across a category titled 'I might as well not have bothered', subtitled 'Players in English first-class cricket who top-scored in both innings, took ten wickets and lost.' Take a bow, Warwickshire's C.R.Woakes, the tenth player to do so, the first being W.G. Grace back in 1869, whose 64 and 23* plus 7-20 and 3-103 could not prevent Hampshire defeating him, and his obviously hapless team mates, by 209 runs in August.

Finally, I wouldn't normally scour the stats of the Aussie domestic game but my Wisden fell open, like a wizard's book of spells, at just the right page. May I draw English and Australian eyes to page 884 - Australia First-Class Batting Averages, 2010-11. Places 1 to 3 are occupied by Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, all of whom play for the England XI. An Aussie (Queensland's James Hopes) sneaks in at 4, before Andrew Strauss, also of the England XI stands at number 5. Yes, Sir Donald Bradman, Mark Taylor, Dennis Lillee, Steve Waugh, Alan Border, Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting, we haven't forgotten, your boys took one hell of a beating.

Well done, Lawrence Booth and all his merrie contributors.
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on 11 June 2012
One of the life's annual pleasures is receiving the new edition of Wisden. Given the increase in the amount of cricket the book contains over 1552 pages. Wisden has to represent developments in the game and cricket authorities rather than Wisden are responsible for the result.

There are some changes that should be considered. The records sections should be in their original place rather towards the end of the book, which would be a more appropriate position for the obituaries now featured earlier in the almanac. Also a return to publishing a Test player's career series by series which was done up to 2003. The articles about women's cricket are scattered throught the almanack and it would be better if they were collected in one section.

Wisden is still good friend. With a little tinkering it return to the standard of its peak years.
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on 8 June 2012
I bought this as a birthday gift for my cricket loving husband- if the weather stays as it is, this might be as close to a game as he gets this season. I don't understand the attraction but he can spend hours totally absorbed so it must be good!
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on 17 September 2014
Let's face it, those people who buy Wisden are a... particular type of person. They're typically collectors of some sort, a particular type of cricketing aficionado, or a friend of said aficionado, who's looking for a gift. That isn't meant as a criticism, it's just is what it is. A statement of fact in my mind.

There's nothing much I can say to the collector, other than "It's a Wisden, if you collect those things, buy it." To the aficionados, and their gift giving friends I say.... "It's your standard Wisden. It's got all the usual things that a Wisden aficionado has come to know and like."
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on 24 August 2012
As usual (and I have a complete set since 1966) this product is full of interesting information, well presented, and well illustrated.

I was mightily impressed with the efficiency of delivery of this item. From date of order, it took three days for the book to arrive in my letter box in Hastings, New Zealand. Compare that to a book purchase I made from a supplier in Sydney, Australia, three years ago, which took 45 days to arrive BY AIR MAIL. Well done Amazon!
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on 1 July 2013
Not a great deal to say - it is Wisden and as always the articles are great, I wish more sports gave such a comprehensive review of the past season.

My main grip (is as always) in the desire to be current there is not enough time to reflect objectively on the Feb / March tours but that is not even worth losing part of a star
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on 11 July 2012
I bought this as a gift for my husbands birthday it's the one when lancashire won he absolutely loves it .
The seller was very prompt and it arrived quickly very pleased with the service and to top it a very happy hubby
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on 28 December 2012
I have been collecting Wisden since 1974, before that I used to borrow it, now proud owner of good cricket library of Wisdens Almanack. Love the fact that I get it here in Spain before its on the shelves in UK
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