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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 April 2014
The most interesting thing about Wisden is the editorial. Yes, the match reports are always worth reading and poring over scorecards is never a wasted moment (especially those involving your own team), and perusing the records section can make for some interesting discoveries - not that this part of the almanack changes that often. But it's the sometimes in-depth essays that make this money well spent and this year is no different. Then again, would it matter what the content was, as Wisden isn't like any other book; it has a specific audience who buy it every year anyway.

What may come as a surprise to many is the inclusion of Charlotte Edwards as one of the `five cricketers of the year', only the second time a woman has been awarded this accolade (Claire Taylor was the first). After the winter fiasco and T20 World Cup capitulation from the men, maybe there should be more given this award. (And the girls always play with a smile, something sadly lacking in the male game.) The colour photos include Sarah Taylor's scarcely believable catch against Australia, and Virat Kohli getting his face disfigured by the ball. All well worth seeing. Staying with the women, there's also a piece on the five greatest women cricketers of all time.

The thinly veiled attack on the ECB and Cricket Australia for acquiescing to the demands of the BCCI is well warranted. They should have told them to get stuffed and let them get on with it, as the other seven test playing nations may well say to the so called `Big Three'. Whatever anyone may argue, no one will benefit, especially us, the spectators, but when did we ever matter to anyone in sport?

The 151st volume of Wisden has a more serious feel about it than previous issues simply due to the Pietersen affair, the Ashes calamity, the meekly compliant ECB and CA, the IPL match fixing, and the opening page from the editor that makes you wonder how long cricket will actually last - it was full steam ahead for the two division test league until the 'Big Three' insisted they could never be relegated. But it's not all despondency; like most who buy this, the first port of call is usually the section devoted to your own team, and it's that part and the list of unusual occurrences, the usual section of minor cricketing stories from local papers, and a piece on DRS that brighten the gloom (unless you're a Kent supporter). In recognition of 150 years of Wisden and 450 years of William Shakespeare, the winner of this year's writing competition has come up with something a bit different: 'The Shakespeare XI'.

The obituaries section is always sad and this year's edition includes Nelson Mandela, and actors Peter O'Toole and Bill Pertwee (the air raid warden in Dad's Army). With the BCCI now pulling the strings, how long will it be before Rajasthan Royals versus Kings XI Punjab is the pinnacle of cricket matches? Maybe then the obituary pages will consist of the game itself. Now, if only the editor could see fit to include a pull-out Duckworth Lewis table.

I end with yet another plea to the publisher: next year, please publish this before the start of the domestic season. How difficult is it to bring the date forward by a week?

NOTE: For some reason, at the time of writing, this is listed twice on Amazon in hardback with two prices. Not just a minor variation but a £25 difference!
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on 17 September 2014
I've said it before, and I'll say it again here. Those that buy Wisden typically fall into 1 of 3 groups. 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 to be mean, it's just is what it is.

There isn't nothing much I can say to the collector, those people will buy it no matter what I say I suspect. To the aficionados, and their gift giving friends I say.... "It's a Wisden. It's got all the usual things that a Wisden aficionado has come to know and like in it."
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on 28 May 2014
Every year I say to myself,"No, I really don't need to buy Wisden this year . So much of the content is the same as last year ." But then you realise that this is not the case
as the Obituaries change year on year; the news from those countries which are not known as regular cricketing countries always contains interest and joy at the pleasure that can be drawn from this game and even snippets about the skills of the groundsmen, the press and even the administrators and the weather have so much humour and interest. The editorial style has varied so much over the years. Hubert Preston was basic and somewhat turgid but ensured that Wisden provided a true record of the years cricketing events but did not stray off the path of English cricket apart from a few pages dedicated to the commonwealth. But as times and editors have changed, the scope has expanded to cover all aspects of the game and all corners of the world. We can now even countenance a lady as a "Cricketer of the Year". O tempora , O mores. But I for one welcome these changes and will no doubt be back next season to refresh my mind on some of the pleasures of the year 2014.
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on 1 May 2014
Wisden has seemed to struggle just a little of late, with some articles and reports that were not that well written and/or overly long. This was suggestive of the editors being overwhelmed by their task and not being able to exercise proper quality control. The very good news from the 2014 edition is that clear, crisp and focussed writing has returned in much of the almanack. The tone is always set by the "notes from the editor". Of late this has deviated a bit from the forthright opinions of Woodcock, Wright, Engel and even Preston, but this year the editor is spot on, in particular on the main issues, KP and BCCI. With one exception, the other main articles and informative and enjoyable: Stern's and Gibbs' articles are especially recommended. Gideon Haigh's account of the BCCI coup is excellent. Those who read his blog over the winter will know what to expect. Those who relied on certain UK newspapers may be surprised. One other highlight is the introduction to the UK T20 competition.

As usual much of the Almanack is tour and match reports. The accounts of the Ashes tests seem long but are in fact not much longer than those describing the 1953 Ashes! All the (needless) pictures and information boxes just make things seem to go on. Here the editorial red pen could be used. But there is little to quibble about in this part of the Almanack. Facts and events are presented clearly.

Occasionally things don't work. Tendulkar gets 12 pages on his retirement. 2 are a review of how the media covered Tendulkar, which says a lot about priorities. [For the record in 1949 Bradman got 4 pages + a proper statistical survey,] One longs for articles such as Woodcock's tribute to Peter May in 1971 (as an example of precise writing). The county championship survey is ruined by occasional attempts at humour. Just the facts please.....

The editor had a tough time with the cricketers of the year. The two Aussies were obvious as I suppose was Joe Root. The selection of Dhawan is baffling. And then we have Charlotte Edwards who clearly had an outstanding 2013. But if Wisden wants to take Ladies cricket seriously, why not have 1 or 2 lady CoY regularly, in addition to the 5 men? Then there is no question of tokenism. Based on the male contributions to the 2013 English season, the editor could have selected just 3 CoY.

Highlights of Wisden are usually the book reviews and Obituaries. The former is a bit muted this year, which seems to be largely due to the books themselves not looking that interesting. The latter are excellent, and do not suffer from the occasional political point-scoring that has occured sometimes in recent years. It is not clear who writes them, but they should be named.

So, better than 2012 and 2013. The editor has work to do still, but things are going the right way.
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on 11 May 2014
The usual high standard. But the large edition price is getting out of control. A 20% increase on 2013, this edition now sits at 60 pounds
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on 9 May 2014
I buy this every year and it never disappoints
But it takes all the cricket season to digest !
would not be without it
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on 16 May 2014
Just thinking it is getting far to clumsy to sit comfortably and read it for any lenght of time. - some good articles though
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on 27 July 2014
Gave this to my dad for his birthday and he loves it. Has spent many happy hours reading it.
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on 23 May 2014
As always, Wisden is the only complete concise record of all first class cricket matches played in the last year. Wisden is recommended to any person who is passionate about the game of cricket, but, such a recommendation is futile as persons who are passionate about the game are well aware of the necessity of the annual purchase of Wisden.
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on 12 May 2014
The annual almanac of Cricket. Like all the previous editions, crammed with detail, stats, articles, etc. One for the cricketing fan of a serious nature.

I love it! recommended.

Michael.
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