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Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2024

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2024
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2024 - Edited by Lawrence Booth, Co-editor Hugh Chevallier, Statistical Editor Harriet Monkhouse, International Editor Steven Lynch & Consultant

Publisher Christopher Lane.
First Published in Great Britain in 2024 by
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 50 Bedford Square,
London WC1B 3DP, UK

Web: http://www.wisdenalmanack.com and http://www.wisdenrecords.com

ISBN: 978-1-3994-1184-4

Pages: 1555

It is 'Wisden time' once again. Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2024, the 161st edition, is the thirteenth under the editorship of Lawrence Booth, who has done a competent job.

With its iconic yellow jacket and with all the usual indispensable features, the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack has been published every year since 1864.

The latest edition is packed with wonderfully crafted, meticulously researched and splendidly presented essays and articles.

Mitchell Starc, Mark Wood, Harry Brook, Ashleigh Gardner, Usman Khawaja, are the editor's choice as Five Cricketers of the Year - still the most prestigious award in the game.

Profiling Ashleigh Gardner, Melinda Farrell has remarked: "She has been a reliable performer for Australia since making her debut in T20Is and ODIs against New Zealand early in 2017. In January 2024, she was averaging in the low twenties with the ball in all three formats. and in the mid-to-late twenties with the bat; she was second in the ODI all-rounder rankings, and third in T20Is. A tally of 42 sixes in 64 T20I innings reflected her firepower. Even in rare Australian defeats, she stood out when the team now captained by Alyssa Healy lost their one-off Test in Mumbai in December, Gardner's first innings figures of four for 100 were her side's best."

The Almanack celebrates the careers of Stuart Broad, Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Sciver-Brunt.

Wisden reflects on the career of Stuart Broad, “England’s maker of memories”. In his Editorial Notes, Lawrence Booth says: “The best players don’t simply rack up the numbers (though his final tally of 604 Test wickets made you tired just thinking of it). They leave an impression. Even more than Anderson, Broad was England’s maker of memories, the curator of the family album. With his eye for drama, this began and ended with the Ashes and The Oval – the series-winning spell in 2009, the series-levelling burst 14 years later. It took in much else besides: two Test hat-tricks; an Ashes-clinching haul of 11 at Chester-le-Street in 2013; eight for 15 at Trent Bridge in 2015; six for 17 that winter at Johannesburg. A rule of thumb emerged: if Broad’s knees were pumping, so was England’s blood.”

Additionally, Jonathan Liew has written an article bidding Broad farewell. "And for all his impressive numbers, it will be the moments that endure. There have been faster England bowlers, more aggressive and accurate England bowlers, bowlers better at manipulating the ball, and by his own admission - with more natural talent. But there has perhaps never been a bowler, who knew himself, or his game, better. Like a mathematician devoting his life's work to a single problem, Broad spent every walking hour trying to crack the code of cricket. Whether it was through technique or skill, physical prowess or psychological mastery, he usually found a way."

Nat Sciver-Brunt has become the first English player to be named Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World (Women). She had reached new levels of brilliance last year, managing 393 runs in five innings at an average of 131.00, including three hundreds - two vs Australia Women and one vs Sri Lanka Women, at a strike rate of 107.37. Her 66-ball hundred vs Sri Lanka Women at Leicester on September 14, 2023 remains the quickest for England in Women's ODIs.

Pat Cummins is the first Australian to be named the Leading Cricketer in the World since Michael Clarke in 2012. Just two other Australian players got the honour - Ricky Ponting in 2003 and Shane Warne in 2004.

Mike Brearley, former England captain, in his piece, namely, Ben Stokes and Bazball - Hearts and minds, gives his verdict: "Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have done an alchemical job with the England Test team, creating gold - if not quite from base metal. Most changes of morale and performance take place gradually. These two transformed England holistically, almost all at once."

This year's Almanack celebrates 75 years of Wisden Book Reviews. John Arlott had the longest tenures, reviewing the books between 1950 and 1978 and between 1981-92. In December 2023, England Women became the first team to appear in 100 matches in the history of Women's Tests when they played at DY Patil Stadium, Mumbai.RAF Nicholson, in her piece, namely, 100 Tests for England's Women - The long and winding road, says the ECB have fought hard for the survival of women's Test cricket. It took 89 years for England to reach the 100-Test milestone. Whether they make it to 200 is another question.

In a Crime and Punishment section - ICC Code of Conduct - Breaches and Penalties in 2022-23 to 2023-24, India's Ravinder Jadeja, Shubman Gill & Harmanpreet Kaur figure. Besides, Rohit Sharma, as captain, appears thrice for not completing the overs in the allotted time.

The 76-page Obituaries section includes the authoritative obituaries of Bishan Singh Bedi, Salim Durani, Sudhir Naik, Heath Streak, Norman Hill, Brian Taber, Joe Solomon, Naushad Ali Rizvi and Ijaz Butt.

Lawrence Booth has shown his concern with regard to the cost of staging a Test. "Of the 34 Tests completed within 2023, only four reached a fifth day without intervention by rain. Nine more had no need of a fourth. Since one of the concerns of the less well-off nations - everyone bar India, England and Australia - is the cost of staging a Test, might it be time to take the pragmatic view, and limit games in those countries to four days? A fifth day could be reserved in case an entire day is lost to rain. Test cricket has always had to adapt, and there's no shame in that."

Sharda Ugra dissects the growing influence of Indian politics on Indian cricket.

As in the past, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2024 contains reports and scorecards of all three formats of international cricket, namely, Tests, One-day Internationals and Twenty20 internationals apart from first-class cricket and Women's cricket, together with forthright opinion, compelling features and comprehensive records.

Seventy one pages have been devoted to The Men's World Cup in 2023-24, reviewed by George Dobell.

The Cricket Round the World section, compiled by James Coyne and Timothy Abraham, is more extensive than ever

The text is adorned with some superb colour photographs. Many happy hours can be spent absorbing the endless interesting data. A lavish production, the latest Almanack provides all the facts and figures of a year, meticulously compiled by Philip Bailey and Andrew Samson.

Despite its price tag of Sterling Pounds 60, it is a must for cricket enthusiasts. The Indian cricket lovers can get the Almanack for Rs.5999/-.