Cricket is expanding into a global sport; the bigger the game, the higher will be the number of players involved. How do you keep track of that certain all-rounder from New Zealand or get to know more about the left-arm spinner from Zimbabwe who bowled well during the tri series involving bigger and better teams?
Is there any way to know all there is to know about your favourite cricketer or have you missed something of importance about the new leg spinner on the block? Don’t worry because THE WISDEN GUIDE TO INTERNATIONAL CRICKET 2014 is here; although the year is about to end, the information is bound to keep you glued to your seat for many days to come.
Over the years, this guide has become part of the cricket culture due to its unbiased coverage and unending supply of information regarding international cricketers. It has sort of become an essential companion for a cricket fan who keeps it by their side, consult it during the season (and also off it) and then wait for the next year for the next edition. It is the best thing for followers of the game in countries like Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh where the Internet is not always working 24X7 and where electricity has issues, especially when you need it the most.
This publication has included over 200 cricketers from nearly all Test-playing nations of the world with each and every one of them receiving a full page with a photograph and statistics that are up-to-date till last year.
The only problem with print edition of statistics is that they are valid for a certain period and unlike the Internet, they don’t update automatically. Therefore, if you don’t mind reading a little dated facts and figures alongside details that you will not find anywhere on the web, this is your stop! And yes, there is a special segment for Associate Teams (read non-Test-playing nations) as well as leading international umpires, match referees as well as coaches so that you miss no one who features on the map of cricket in coming days.
What makes this book a must buy is the way in which the text has been penned; it seems that the writer Steven Lynch is talking to you about the players rather than you reading about them. When you read about Mohammad Irfan — the tallest cricketer ever to play cricket — you feel as if you are reading about a super hero who came onto the cricket field and dazzled all with his out-of-this-world powers. The same goes for South African cricketer Hashim Amla’s description because you not only get to know that he has an older brother Ahmed who also plays for Dolphins, but also that he has a beard that is the most impressive in world cricket today. And nothing could have described the rare Lasith Malinga better than “a rare Sri Lankan cricketer from the South whose exotic hairstyle makes him stand out”.
There is no need to worry if you didn’t know that:
• David Warner represented Australia before playing first class cricket
• BJ stands for Bradley-John in Kiwi cricketer BJ Watling’s name
• Pakistan’s Younis Khan averages 88 in Tests against India
• James Franklin is one of the 7 cricketers ever to score a Test century and take a hat trick
• Luke Ronchi is the only cricketer to represent both New Zealand and Australia at international level
• Australia’s Pakistan-born Test cricketer Usman Khawaja is a qualified pilot
• ‘Abir’ is the nickname of Bangladeshi batsman Shahriar Nafees and
• England’s James Tredwell is known within cricketing circles as ‘Pingu’
There are a lot more facts in this treasure trove that not even the most ardent of cricket fans might have known. For fans of a particular country, there is the contents section that lists all the players under the team’s umbrella so you can find the page numbers of all Aussie cricketers, all Indians, Pakistanis and so on and so forth. There is also a ‘Overall Records’ section but I would advise you against going there, it might not be as updated as you might think. On the whole, the book is suitable for cricket enthusiasts of all ages — be it 8 or 88 — and if you really value your money, this is the best way to invest. Trust me!