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4.0 out of 5 stars On the mend at last, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2014 (Hardcover)
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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