on 12 December 2012
When I was a youngster there was always one book that I ensured went with me to every match that I attended - the Playfair Cricket Annual. Within its pages you could find any statistics you needed to ensure that the feats of the match protagonists were only a page turn away. I've not bought one for some time now, as the most up to date information is available on the excellent cricinfo website, saved as an early favourite on the family laptops.
It is from cricinfo that much of the information in the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2013 comes, having changed its name to use the Wisden brand last year to good effect. Where it comes into its own is as a potted guide to the touring sides, the editor having to second guess the national selectors of the different teams with his selection of players for inclusion. So well is it done though that there are unlikely to be many omissions.Those seeking information on overseas professionals for the counties will also be rewarded, as the major stars from around the globe are here from all of the Test-playing nations. The book is now in its seventh year and is an excellent annual addition to the literature of the greatest game.
More than most of its kind it tells you not just what the players have achieved, but how they play, with the potted biographies both enlightening and rewarding. Of course, in an age when cricket statistics are, through cricinfo, only a mouse click away, the statistics are out of date because of publishing schedules and the sheer quantity of international cricket these days. Published in November 2012, the book doesn't reflect the most recent matches around the globe but one has to expect this and instead appreciate the book for what it offers.
That is 272 pages of information on the top stars of the modern international game, nicely produced and of a size and price that means you can have one of the only books you really need on match days and still get decent change from a tenner.
What's not to like?
on 21 January 2013
This is well laid-out and easy to follow. Print size reasonable for older folk. Only criticism is in the number of entries, as there were some I felt should be included but, if the parameter has to be of 300 entries only, it's difficult to leave any of those in now, out.