Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2016

Published: 2016
Pages: 1552
Author: Booth, Lawrence (Editor)
Publisher: John Wisden & Co
Rating: 4.5 stars

It arrives annually, and the question is whether this year they can again do the impossible and set the bar just a little higher. The answer for Wisden 2016 is a resounding yes.

Thought provoking articles by some of the best writers in the game on interesting and relevant topics make Wisden 2016 a pleasure to peruse. While the specially commissioned feature articles are outstanding, it’s the old favourites that keep the dedicated reader coming back and all the established favourites are here.

Finding out the five players and cricketer of the year, the book of the year, and the morbid fascination of discovering which lesser lights have passed away in the last 12 months is still as fascinating as ever. This is simply because of the reverence that the ‘bible’ is held in. If Wisden says it’s the book of the year, then that’s a guarantee of a quality read. This year I have at least six books to order, safe in the knowledge that Wisden has never sent me wrong.

A personal quirk I have is to pick a team of the best players whose obituaries feature each year in Wisden. This year’s team is one of the strongest ever and includes Bob Appleyard, Brian Close, brothers Tom and Ken Graveney who died within nine days of each other, Lindsay Kline, Arthur Morris, Clive Rice, Frank Tyson and Richie Benaud.

The last name overshadows the rest. Benaud is lovingly covered by two of the finest writers in the history of the game; Gideon Haigh and John Woodcock. The latter’s personal reminiscences offer a new insight into the private Benaud, which are not provided in any of the fine books released on Benaud since his death.

The quality of the writing is really the thing that sets the 2016 Wisden apart. Paul Farbrace’s piece on Kumar Sangakkara provides descriptions of what made him an all time great. I enjoyed it so much I read it twice, the second time for this review, but in the end I decided to include no quotes as it needs to be read in totality.  

The 2016 Wisden is upbeat, probably due to the strength of the English Test team. This makes for some tough reading for Aussie fans with lots of references to the Ashes and especially Broad’s demolition of the Australian batsmen. The article by Scyld Berry is vivid and brings back the image of Broad covering his mouth after a spectacular catch. This is turns brought back the memories of the English fans decked out in their T-shirts featuring a ball by ball account of the demolition. How the hell did they have those shirts printed so quick?

It should not be assumed that it’s all about the Ashes, there is coverage of all the major cricket from around the world, which continues to make Wisden the first book checked when you want to know what happened in international cricket in 2016.

So there you have it, the 2016 Wisden has done the impossible and improved on last year’s effort making it a must have for all cricket fans.           


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