Press Esc to close

Wisden celebrates 150 not out

London, Apr 10, 2013, (AFP) : 14:13 IST
Wikipedia Image
It started as the work of a former cricketer looking to secure an income in his retirement and was priced at a modest one shilling.

By contrast, today saw the publication of the 150th edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, with the hardback edition a somewhat more expensive 50 (USD 76, 59 euros).

In the intervening years the publication founded by John Wisden -- an English professional bowler known for his "fast and ripping off-cutters" -- has established itself as the "bible of cricket".

Published every year since 1863 -- not even two world wars interrupted the unbroken sequence -- the appearance of the annual, primarily a review of the previous year's English cricket season but now encompassing the global cricket calendar, has become a landmark event among the game's enthusiasts.

That first edition was a 112-page work, in contrast to the some 1,500 pages needed to encompass the modern game, and included such random details as the lengths of Britain's canals.

Also there were the dates of the Wars of the Roses -- a series of dynastic wars fought for the English crown in the 15th century -- and the rules of an ancient pub game called Knur and Spell.

But over time features that have become staples made their first appearance, with 1889 marking the debut of the Almanack's Cricketers of the Year -- a highly prized award which a player can win only once in their career.

Recipients have ranged from giants of the game in the 19th and early 20th centuries such as W.G. Grace and Jack Hobbs to modern-day greats from Viv Richards and Ian Botham to current England skipper Alastair Cook and Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar.

"It was an honour to be named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1993 because you feel like you are being recognised by one of the game's great institutions," former England captain Alec Stewart told the BBC.

The reference work's familiar yellow cover made its debut with the 1938 edition, as did the woodcut image by artist Eric Ravilious of two Victorian-era gentlemen playing cricket, which has since become Wisden's emblem.

Having outlived some early rivals, Wisden established a pre-eminent place in cricket publishing.

But in an age when cricket statistics and comment are just a mouse-click away and the Internet provides a constantly updated supply of information, how will Wisden, having reached a well-known cricketing landmark "score" of 150, press on to its double century?

"In an age of tweeting and blogging, which are both important nowadays, we try to make a virtue of the fact that we can step back and take a considered view," current editor Lawrence Booth told the BBC.

"The fact that people still buy Wisden suggests there is still an affection for that approach. Until people stop buying it we will carry on doing it."

Go to Top

More from this section
Photo Gallery
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar met members of the Indian Womens cricket team at the MCA BKC...

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar met members of the Indian Womens cricket team at the MCA BKC...

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu joins hands with ASEAN Ministers...

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu joins hands with ASEAN Ministers...

Karni Sena activists demonstrate against the release of Padmaavat, in Bhopal...

Karni Sena activists demonstrate against the release of Padmaavat, in Bhopal...

The tableau of Gujarat for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

The tableau of Gujarat for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

An artist of J & K tableau for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

An artist of J & K tableau for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

Jana Sena Party chief and actor Pawan Kalyan offers sweets to his wife Anna Lezhneva before...

Jana Sena Party chief and actor Pawan Kalyan offers sweets to his wife Anna Lezhneva before...

The tableau of Maharashtra for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

The tableau of Maharashtra for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

A woman shows the damage at her house after heavy shelling from the Pakistani side of the...

A woman shows the damage at her house after heavy shelling from the Pakistani side of the...

School students wear the customary yellow dress for Basant Panchami ...

School students wear the customary yellow dress for Basant Panchami ...

Police personnel guard as Buddhist monks wait at the entrance gate to enter Mahabodhi temple...

Police personnel guard as Buddhist monks wait at the entrance gate to enter Mahabodhi temple...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.