Book of the week: The Nightwatchman - Wisden Cricket Quarterly Spring Issue

The Nightwatchman magazine’s spring issue is its fifth, and it goes from strength to strength as an outlet for eclectic long-form essays on the game. The criteria of the managing editor, Matt Thacker, include: “quality of writing, geographical mix, split of cricket journalists and ‘outsiders’, gender mix, subject range, mix of big names and unknowns,” and this issue middles the ball on every one.

Perhaps the most poignant article is Alison Mitchell’s portrait of “Australia’s 13th man”. If you wondered who the grey-haired 70-year-old in whites and Baggy Green cap was next to Michael Clarke on the outfield before December’s Adelaide Test, it was Barry “Nugget” Rees, a gentleman with learning difficulties who was long ago welcomed into the fold of the Aussie game, counts Steven Waugh, and Adam Gilchrist among his closest friends and has a team role as Honorary Assistant Coach.

Elsewhere among the 21 essays, the West Country sage David Foot chronicles the all-too-brief county career of Somerset’s engine-driver/wicketkeeper Seymour Clark; members of the losing side in the record first-class defeat, by an innings and 851 runs, explain that all was not quite what it seemed; Reg Simpson, England’s 12th man in Bradman’s final Test in 1948, claims Len Hutton “buggered up my career”; and Graeme Swann’s brother Alec reflects on sibling rivalry, or the lack of it.

My only criticism of The Nightwatchman is its unappealing sans serif typeface; the Gotham font is much used for building signage in the United States, which is where it should have stayed. But don’t let that picky point deter you from enjoying this cornucopia of cricket riches. And don’t be put off by the single-issue price of £9 either – it’s cheaper on subscription, and costs only a tenner a year as an e-book. If you enjoy this, the Summer Issue is out next month.

Published in paperback by Wisden, £9

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate