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Thread: Nuggets From Wisden

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    SJS
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    Nuggets From Wisden

    Most people who haven't had a long and loving relationship with them, associate the Wisden Cricket Almanacks with
    • Score cards of all cricket matches played during the year and other such statistical data which can be had from the world wide web so much more conveniently anyway. OR
    • Records of births and deaths of cricketers, most of whose names do not ring the faintest of bells in the remotest corner of a cricket fan's head OR
    • Reports on first class cricket games held during the English cricket season which have very limited interest months (let alone years) after the stumps were drawn on them AND
    • Reports on the International games held during the twelve month period which a genuine cricket lover would have already dealt with through other media and the more particular one would get from the spate of tour books published after most of them


    So your average cricket fan would prefer to give the bulky and unwieldy Wisden a miss for one or more of all those reasons - all true but not the complete truth.

    It is also generally assumed that Wisden's are bought by collector's who have money to throw around and buy the Wisden's just as conversation pieces and rarely sit down to read the stuff. Again partly true.

    I do not buy the Wisden's for most of those reasons but would gladly buy them if they were not such a bad value for money (except if one was a collector and I am not). So I have struck a comfortable mean. I have bought all volumes of the Wisden Anthologies. The Five volumes cover the entire 142 year period between 1864 to 2006 and cost me USD 80 plus postage. They are still unwieldy but they are value for money and I can actually read all of them.

    What I intend to do on this thread, is to post nuggets (both for their size and my liking for them) from these anthologies and would welcome the other owners of Wisdens here (we have some true blood collectors as well) to chip in please. I will type in the first one after I finish my breakfast for which the missus has been hollering for some time now

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    Global Moderator Fusion's Avatar
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    Look forward to this!

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    Before I post my first nugget, I must add that some of the topics covered by the nuggets (including the one I am about to post) are quite contemporary and can be a subject of discussion/comment from posters as well.

    Matthew Angel, former editor of Wisden, writes some of my favourite small pieces which touch on subjects other than the cricket proper. His wry sense of humour never fails to bring a smile to my face. Here is one about the arrangements for the media at Lord's.

    The 1901 Wisden Notes included a whinge by Sydney Pardon about press facilities at Lord's - although even then, conditions had moved on since the time of one of Pardon's predecessors, W.H. Knight, who had to report games from a shrubbery.

    Now we have a media centre, built at vast expense in pole position behind the bowler's arm. It has won a major architectural award, though not everyone shares the enthusiasm. The building has been compared to an alien space ship, a barcode reader, Wallace's teeth (from Wallet and Grommit), Tony Blair's smile, Mrs Blair's smile, a digital alarm clock and a pickled gherkin. Those of us allowed inside dont have to worry about how it looks, however. We ought to be eternally grateful to MCC, and promise never to write horrid things about them ever again.

    There is a problem, though.

    None of the windows(except in the Test match special box) opens at all. We watch from behind plate glass as if in a cataleptic fit: able to see what goes on but wholly removed from it. If Lord's is full, we have nowhere else to go. It confirms my view of architects: they win awards for grand conceptions, not concern for the comforts of the building's users. The new media centers at taunton, Nottingham and Leicester are enclosed in the same wretched way. It is said that health and safety officers are concerned that , if a window opens, one of us might throw himself out. (The Evening News did once hurl the Sunday Times typewriter off the balcony at Leyton but that's as near as we've got). I became a cricket writer because I wanted to spend my summer days in the fresh air rather than cooped up in an office. These new arrangements are deeply depressing.

    End of whinge. Could someone direct me to the shrubbery please.

    Matthew Angel, Notes by the Editor, 2004

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    I am not particularly fond of the Lord's media center myself and I too thought it looked like a spaceship when I first saw it. But I was quite intrigued by Engels comparing it to a bar code reader, Wallace's teeth (not an avid comic book reader for almost forty years), the blairs etc., I decided to check out the veracity of the claims.

    I found that while the Blair's were mentioned perhaps out of dudgeon and the gherkin was a bit misplaced (unless one had seen a white gherkin cut into half and even then it was not very close), the others were pretty good approximations. have a look and ignore the colours assuming everything to be totally(not partically) white.

    First the media center itself



    The Barcode Reader



    The Digital Clock



    Wallace



    Mrs Blair tries here but not good enough

    http://www.splitting-images.com/Car-...herieBlair.jpg


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    International Captain stumpski's Avatar
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    The 1971 edition includes a very amusing feature by Basil Easterbrook entitled 'The Dreaded Cypher' concerning ducks and the making of them. Seven pages long incidentally - with fewer Tests and no ODIs to cram in they were able to give feature writers more scope in those days. Trueman stories abound, but it included this little snippet which I rather liked:


    There are many of cricket's best untold stories in the making of a duck. I remember one occasion when Yorkshire were playing Oxbridge. A wicket had fallen. Slowly gracefully from the pavilion emerged a slim willowy figure most beautifully attired - the next man in. His flannels could only have been cut in Savile Row; his boots were new, his pads spotless. On his head, set at a carefully cultivated, devil-may-care angle was a multi-coloured cap. Clipped round his neck to protect his throat from the rude winds of early May which do not spare even university towns, was a silk scarf. On his way to the crease he played imaginary bowlers. With wristy cuts and flicks, perfectly timed drives, and daring late glances and hooks he despatched the imaginary ball to all parts of the ground.

    The Yorkshire players watched his approach in silence. He eventually arrived at the wicket and looked around, imperiously, like a king come to his rightful throne. He took guard, and then spent a full minute making his block hole, shaping and patting it until it was ready to his satisfaction. Another look around the entire field - and he was ready to receive his first ball.

    Freddie Trueman bowled it and knocked two of the three stumps clean out of the ground. As our young exquisite turned languidly and began to walk away, Freddie called to him sympathetically, "Bad luck sir, you were just getting settled in."


    I love pieces like that. You can guess what's going to happen, but it doesn't make the denoument any less funny.
    Last edited by stumpski; 11-07-2009 at 03:15 AM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpski View Post
    The 1971 edition includes a very amusing feature by Basil Easterbrook entitled 'The Dreaded Cypher' concerning ducks and the making of them. Seven pages long incidentally - with fewer Tests and no ODIs to cram in they were able to give feature writers more scope in those days. Trueman stories abound, but it included this little snippet which I rather liked:


    There are many of cricket's best untold stories in the making of a duck. I remember one occasion when Yorkshire were playing Oxbridge. A wicket had fallen. Slowly gracefully from the pavilion emerged a slim willowy figure most beautifully attired - the next man in. His flannels couild only have been cut in Savile Row; his boots were new, his pads spotless. On his head, set at a carefully cultivated, devil-may-care angle was a multi-coloured cap. Clipped round his neck to protect his throat from the rude winds of early May which do not spare even university towns, was a silk scarf. On his way to the crease he played imaginary bowlers. With wristy cuts and flicks, perfectly timed drives, and daring late glances and hooks he despatched the imaginary ball to all parts of the ground.

    The Yorkshire players watched his approach in silence. He eventually arrived at the wicket and looked around, imperiously, like a king come to his rightful throne. He took guard, and then spent a full minute making his block hole, shaping and patting it until it was ready to his satisfaction. Another look around the entire field - and he was ready to receive his first ball.

    Freddie Trueman bowled it and knocked two of the three stumps clean out of the ground. As our young exquisite turned languidly and began to walk away, Freddie called to him sympathetically, "Bad luck sir, you were just getting settled in."


    I love pieces like that. You can guess what's going to happen, but it doesn't make the denoument any less funny.
    Brilliant.

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    This one isn't from Wisden but it is so good I thought I must put it here.

    When Grimmett died in May 1980, hundreds of cricketers, friends and admirers turned up at Adelaide's Centennial Park Cemetery to pay their last respects to the great man/ Amongst them was Ashley Mallett, Australian off-spinner and long time student of Grimmett. He recalls the service at the very end of his lovely biography of the master bowler with this wonderful bit of prose.

    "The minister summed up and as the coffin slowly descended. O'Reilly reached for a handkerchief. He revered the man and he loved him as a brother.

    Clarrie could have been with his mates in spirit. Perhaps that very moment he was working on a mystery ball, one to bowl many of the great batsman who have already taken up their stance on the heavenly turf.

    Under the baggy green penthouse of his cap, those blue eyes twinkled with amusement. Besides, he had some unfinished work with Victor Trumper."

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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpski View Post
    The 1971 edition includes a very amusing feature by Basil Easterbrook entitled 'The Dreaded Cypher' concerning ducks and the making of them. Seven pages long incidentally - with fewer Tests and no ODIs to cram in they were able to give feature writers more scope in those days. Trueman stories abound, but it included this little snippet which I rather liked:


    There are many of cricket's best untold stories in the making of a duck. I remember one occasion when Yorkshire were playing Oxbridge. A wicket had fallen. Slowly gracefully from the pavilion emerged a slim willowy figure most beautifully attired - the next man in. His flannels could only have been cut in Savile Row; his boots were new, his pads spotless. On his head, set at a carefully cultivated, devil-may-care angle was a multi-coloured cap. Clipped round his neck to protect his throat from the rude winds of early May which do not spare even university towns, was a silk scarf. On his way to the crease he played imaginary bowlers. With wristy cuts and flicks, perfectly timed drives, and daring late glances and hooks he despatched the imaginary ball to all parts of the ground.

    The Yorkshire players watched his approach in silence. He eventually arrived at the wicket and looked around, imperiously, like a king come to his rightful throne. He took guard, and then spent a full minute making his block hole, shaping and patting it until it was ready to his satisfaction. Another look around the entire field - and he was ready to receive his first ball.

    Freddie Trueman bowled it and knocked two of the three stumps clean out of the ground. As our young exquisite turned languidly and began to walk away, Freddie called to him sympathetically, "Bad luck sir, you were just getting settled in."


    I love pieces like that. You can guess what's going to happen, but it doesn't make the denoument any less funny.

  9. #9
    International Captain stumpski's Avatar
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    Some input from Fred needed on this thread, methinks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpski View Post
    Some input from Fred needed on this thread, methinks.
    The major collector of Wisdens out here to the best of my knowledge

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    International Regular chasingthedon's Avatar
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    Love this one from a profile of Gower by Martin Johnson in the 1994 edition:-

    "His first mentor at Leicester was Raymond Illingworth, a blunt Yorkshireman not much given to frivolity. Yet Illingworth recognised very early one of cricket's essential truisms. Change the man, and you change the cricketer. He had the occasional half-hearted stab, such as delivering a stern lecture over what he regarded as dress just the wrong side of acceptably casual during one away trip, whereupon Gower came down for breakfast next morning attired in full evening dress. Slightly suspicious, given the young Gower's already blossoming reputation as a bon viveur, Illingworth spluttered, "Bloody hell, Gower, have you just come in?".


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    Left handed England batsman and brilliant slip fielder of the 1930's John Fredrick Crapp became a highly respected umpire on retirement from cricket. Once asked his name at a hotel, he replied ,"Crapp".

    "The second door on the left, sir", replied the man behind the reception

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    Left handed England batsman and brilliant slip fielder of the 1930's John Fredrick Crapp became a highly respected umpire on retirement from cricket. Once asked his name at a hotel, he replied ,"Crapp".

    "The second door on the left, sir", replied the man behind the reception

    That in turn reminds me of the tale of the Sussex captain, leading a side travelling for some reason without stalwart George Cox, who announced to a startled receptionist, "there are ten of us, without Cox."

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    Not Wisden but...

    ...an interesting article from the New York Times in 1903:-

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...609C946297D6CF



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