Sports Book Of The Week: Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2005; Matthew Engel (ed)

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The 142nd Wisden unashamedly celebrates England's success in 2004. Its front cover shows Michael Vaughan's team rejoicing after their victory in the fourth Test against South Africa and there is a black sticker boldly announcing: "England's record-breaking year: the full story."

(John Wisden, £33)

The 142nd Wisden unashamedly celebrates England's success in 2004. Its front cover shows Michael Vaughan's team rejoicing after their victory in the fourth Test against South Africa and there is a black sticker boldly announcing: "England's record-breaking year: the full story."

For the first time in 45 years all five cricketers of the year are English. Ashley Giles, Stephen Harmison, Robert Key, Andrew Strauss and Marcus Trescothick each made significant contributions as England won seven consecutive Test matches.

Andrew Flintoff was also at his awesome best in 2004, but the Lancashire all-rounder's talents were recognised in 2003. Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath also had wonderful years, and Warne's 92 wickets in 16 Test matches are rewarded with a new accolade - the "leading cricketer in the world".

Even though statistics and match reports fill the majority of the 1,744 pages, there are countless intriguing articles. Alan Lee has written a lovely piece looking at how village cricket has changed during his lifetime and Mike Selvey traces England's road to success, questioning whether it has all been part of a well-laid plan.

Mihir Bose looks at television rights in India and Steven Barnett explains why English TV companies are not queuing up to cover the game. Matthew Engel lambasts the England and Wales Cricket Board for pocketing Sky's millions even though, as a consequence, live cricket will not be available on terrestrial TV from the start of next season: "We are talking about a situation where the overwhelming majority of the British population will never come across a game of cricket in their daily lives. Never, never, never, never. I think we're looking at a potential catastrophe."

During my professional career the book held such kudos that, after a poor performance in the nets or in a practice match, players used to comfort themselves by saying: "Don't worry; it's not important and it won't appear in the little yellow book." This remains the case.

Top Sports Books

1 Playfair Cricket Annual 2005 Bill Frindall (ed) (Headline, paperback, £6.99)

2 Engineering Archie Simon Inglis (English Heritage, paperback, £14.99)

3 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2005 Matthew Engel (ed) (John Wisden, hardback, £33)

4 The Cricketers' Who's Who 2005 (Lennard Queen Anne Press, paperback, £17.99)

5 Marco Pantani: The Legend of A Tragic Champion (Velo, paperback, £12.95)

Compiled by Sportspages Bookshops 94-96 Charing Cross Road, London, 020 7240 9604; & St Ann's Square, Manchester, 0161-832 8530; and also: www.sportsbooksdirect.co.uk

Comments