Cricketers’ Bible Wisden Almanack on schedule
The game of cricket may be at standstill because of coronavirus but the copy of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack will be released on time, according to its editor, Lawrence Booth.
Speaking exclusively over telephone from London, he said, “The book will be published on schedule on April 9.”
Elaborating the delay of publication of Wisden in the past, the editor adds:
“Some of the war-time Wisdens were delayed. For example, the 1941 edition came out in August after the publishers’ premises in Mortlake, West London, were destroyed by German bombs at the end of 1940. In the preface to that year’s edition, the editor, Haddon Whitaker, notes that “a small amount of interesting matter disappeared irretrievably.”
“Both the 1942 and 1943 Wisdens came out in May, so they were delayed slightly too,” he further added.
The chapter on “Five Cricketers of the Year” is an old tradition of the Wisden that dates back to 1889, and it is considered to be the oldest individual award in this game of cricket.
“The Five Cricketers of the Year will be announced on April 8,” the editor added.
It is the discretion of the editor to choose the Five. “I select them, usually around Nov/December. It’s based on their contributions to the English summer which ends in September.”
“Only cricketers are named. It (choosing the five) can be tricky. But I’ve never felt any of my choices haven’t deserved.”
So who are those Five lucky this year? “It is kept secret till announced. It wouldn’t be fair to get into specifics,” he added.
“Wisden is published the following day. And yes, all Five get a special limited-edition leather-bound version,” Booth signed off.
Apparently, the publication of Wisden has not missed any year. “Although 1940-46 were much smaller versions due to the war,” UK-based cricket historian Martin Briggs said.
“The 1947-9 editions were on more inferior paper due to shortages and some of the early 1980s were as well due to poor design.”
“A full set of originals in prime mint condition would probably be the best part of £200,000 to buy. In recent years they have proven to be an investment for young London high-flyers spending their bonuses, as they hold their value well,” Briggs added.