|Publisher||A & C Black|
|Total circulation||50,000 (2006)|
|Based in||London, England|
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, or simply Wisden, colloquially the Bible of Cricket, is a cricket reference book published annually in the United Kingdom.The description "bible of cricket" was first used in the 1930s by Alec Waugh in a review for the London Mercury . In October 2013, an all-time Test World XI was announced to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.
In 1998, an Australian edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack was launched. It ran for eight editions.
In 2012, an Indian edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack was launched (dated 2013), entitled Wisden India Almanack,that has been edited by Suresh Menon since its inception.
Wisden was founded in 1864 by the English cricketer John Wisden (1826–84) as a competitor to Fred Lillywhite's The Guide to Cricketers . 's Almanack, with the apostrophe before the "s".Its annual publication has continued uninterrupted to the present day, making it the longest running sports annual in history. The sixth edition was the first published under its current title; the first five were published as The Cricketer
Charles Pardon, with George Kelly King, founded the Cricket Reporting Agency (CRA) in 1880. From Pardon's becoming editor of Wisden in 1887, the editor was nearly always a CRA partner and the CRA was responsible for the editorial production of the Almanack, until in 1965 it merged with the Press Association (PA).
Wisden was acquired and published by Robert Maxwell's publishing conglomerate, Macdonald, in the 1970s. Cricket fan Sir John Paul Getty, Jr., bought the company, John Wisden & Co., in 1993and in December 2008 it was sold to A&C Black, which is owned by Bloomsbury. The company presented the Wisden Trophy, for Test matches between England and West Indies, in 1963 to celebrate its 100th edition.
In 2013, a history of Wisden was published: The Little Wonder: The Remarkable History of Wisden, by Robert Winder ( ISBN 978-1408136263). "The Little Wonder" was John Wisden's nickname.
Wisden is a small-paged but a very thick book (over 1,500 pages in modern editions) with a distinctive bright yellow cover that it has carried since the 75th edition in 1938. Prior to that, covers varied between yellow, buff and salmon pink. That edition was also the first to display the famous woodcut of two cricketers, by Eric Ravilious,on its cover. It is published each April, just before the start of the English domestic cricket season. Since 2003 the woodcut has been replaced as the main feature of the front cover by a photograph of a current cricketer, but still appears albeit in a much reduced size.
It is produced in both hardcover and softcover versions. Since 2006, a larger format edition has been published on an experimental basis. This is said to be in response to requests from readers who find the print size of the standard edition hard to read. It is around twice the traditional size and was published in a limited edition of 5,000. It is not a large print book as such, as the print will still be of a size found in many standard books.
From 2011 an Epub version, The Shorter Wisden, has been available in online bookstores. Described by the publishers as a "distillation of what's best in its bigger brother", it includes the Notes by the Editor, all the articles, reviews and obituaries and the reports on all England's Test matches for the year in question. Excluded are the statistics and other cricket reports contained within the Almanack proper.
The contents of a contemporary edition include the following sections:
Around a hundred pages of articles on cricketing topics, including the introductory "Notes by the Editor", which address often controversial cricket issues and always provoke discussion in the cricketing world.
The traditional Wisden Cricketers of the Year awards, which date back to 1889, and the Wisden Leading Cricketer of the World award, started in 2004.
Traditionally the main source for key statistics about the game, although it has never attempted to be comprehensive. Nowadays the records section is intended to be complementary to the much more detailed data available online at Wisden's associated website ESPNcricinfo.
By far the largest section of the book. Hugely detailed coverage, including scorecards of every First class game played in the previous English summer, and summaries of minor counties, second eleven, university, school and premier club cricket, as well as the Village Cup.
Full coverage of all international cricket and brief coverage of domestic first class cricket outside England.
This short section, 80 pages in the 2010 edition, has information about and addresses of official cricket bodies as well as the full laws of cricket, together with appendices. There are also details of meetings held by official bodies, including their major decisions, as well as articles about the Duckworth–Lewis method and Powerplays. The laws have been omitted from the most recent editions.
This section includes the Chronicle (noteworthy events from the previous year), reviews of other cricket books published in the year, noteworthy retirements and the highly regarded obituaries section among others.
John Arlott wrote the Books section from its inception in the 1950 edition until the 1992 edition, just before he died. Beginning with the 1993 edition the Books section has been written by a different person each year, often someone "with a literary reputation first and a separate enthusiasm for cricket".The first such reviewer was J. L. Carr, and others have included Sebastian Faulks (1997) and Leslie Thomas (1998).
An award for the Wisden Book of the Year was inaugurated in the 2003 edition. The winners have been:
|2003||Bodyline Autopsy||David Frith||Frank Keating|
|2004||No Coward Soul||Stephen Chalke and Derek Hodgson||Barry Norman|
|2005||On and Off the Field||Ed Smith||Ramachandra Guha|
|2006||Ashes 2005||Gideon Haigh||Ed Smith|
|2007||Brim Full of Passion||Wasim Khan||Peter Oborne|
|2008||Tom Cartwright: The Flame Still Burns||Stephen Chalke||Patrick Collins|
|2009||Sweet Summers: The Classic Cricket Writing of J. M. Kilburn||Duncan Hamilton (editor)||Patrick Collins|
|2010||Harold Larwood: The Authorized Biography of the World's Fastest Bowler||Duncan Hamilton||Robin Martin-Jenkins|
|2011||The Cricketer's Progress: Meadowland to Mumbai||Eric Midwinter||Gideon Haigh|
|2012||Fred Trueman: The Authorised Biography||Chris Waters||Harry Pearson|
|2013||Bookie Gambler Fixer Spy||Ed Hawkins||John Crace|
|2014||Driving Ambition||Andrew Strauss||Jonathan Liew|
|2015||Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan||Peter Oborne||Patrick Collins|
|2016||The Test: My Life, and the Inside Story of the Greatest Ashes Series||Simon Jones||Duncan Hamilton|
|2017||Following On||Emma John||Marcus Berkmann|
|2018||A Clear Blue Sky||Jonny Bairstow and Duncan Hamilton||Kamila Shamsie|
|2019||Steve Smith's Men||Geoff Lemon||Tanya Aldred|
|2020||Cricket 2.0: Inside the T20 Revolution||Tim Wigmore and Freddie Wilde||Alex Massie|
|2021||This is Cricket: In the Spirit of the Game||Daniel Melamud||Emma John|
|2022||Who Only Cricket Know: Hutton's Men in the West Indies 1953–54||David Woodhouse||Vic Marks|
This section contains fixtures for the forthcoming international and English domestic season, the international schedule for the upcoming seven years and the Index of Unusual Occurrences featuring quirky cricketing stories. A selection from recent years includes: Rabbit burns down pavilion; Hot-air balloons stop play; Cricketers arrested for dancing naked; Fine leg arrives by parachute; Fried calamari stopped play; Umpire locked in ground overnight..
Wisden has had seventeen editors:
Booth's deputy, promoted to the role of co-editor, is Hugh Chevallier.
Wisden has had a large number of contributors. The majority involve match reports for the various fixtures recorded each year, but also biographies, reviews and opinion. Many great cricket writers have written for Wisden, along with many great cricketers. Neville Cardus contributed many notable essays and for many years John Arlott was responsible for the book reviews.
Since 1902 (with the occasional exception) Wisden has honoured five cricketers for their outstanding achievements over the previous year. Further details, with a full list of recipients of the award, can be found at Wisden Cricketers of the Year.
At least two indices to Wisden have been published:
An index from 1985 onwards is available in pdf form on the Wisden web site.
A number of anthologies of articles from Wisden have been published. These include:
For the first 32 years of its existence the Almanack was only published in softback form, in a paper cover that varied in colour through the years between shades of pink, yellow and buff. From the 33rd (1896) edition onwards hardback copies became available at twice the price of the softback.
In 1889 the Almanack published its first photoplate, commissioned to accompany the Editor's nomination of six great Bowlers of the Year. From then on a photoplate appeared each year up to and including 1915. The plates were attached to an un-numbered page in the Almanack and had a tissue protector. They continued to show a number of selected players of the year except in 1896, when W G Grace was the only subject, and in 1913, when the 50th edition published no selections but celebrated John Wisden himself. After a two-year hiatus during World War 1 the plate reappeared in 1918, but as a mechanically printed image depicting five School Bowlers of the Year. The image in the 1919 edition continued to reflect wartime exigencies with its five Public School Cricketers of the Year before normal service resumed in 1920 with five Batsmen of the Year. From then on, with four exceptions (see Wisden Cricketers of the Year), the norm was to include an image of five Cricketers of the Year. It was not until 1938 that other photographs were introduced.
From 1933 to 1939 the softback editions of the Almanack contained a cricket bat bookmark attached by the blade to the inside of the spine with yellow string. The bat handle of the bookmark is easily lost and softbacks with entirely intact bookmarks command a price premium.
In 1938 the Almanack underwent some significant style, design and material changes under the supervision of Robert Henry Harling.He introduced a new typeface and new designs for the front covers of both the softback and hardback editions. A yellow linen cover featuring the iconic woodcut by Eric Ravilious replaced the paper wrapper of the softback edition – a reason why softbacks from this time onwards are often referred to as "linens" even though they changed to a cloth-effect card binding in 1957. The design of the softback from 1938 onwards is probably the one most associated with the word "Wisden" in the mind of the general public.
There was a change to the orientation of the gilt lettering on the spines of hardbacks from 1941 to 1948. This was probably required by, and then a relict of, the slimness of the volumes published during World War 2. Excepting the 1963 centenary softback, the external appearance of both types of the Almanack then remained substantially unchanged until 1965 when the hardback was issued with a dust jacket. This was printed on yellow paper with the same design as the softback, giving a uniformity of appearance to both formats.
Between 1965 and 1978 the woodcut and text elements of the softback covers and the hardback dust jackets were printed in a variety of colours before reverting to black on yellow from 1979 onwards. Since that time some other changes have occurred to the style, design and materials:
Minor changes of style have taken place throughout the Almanack's history, and are documented in a collector's guide that was updated and reprinted in 2011.
Due to their rarity the early editions of Wisden, and editions published during the two World Wars, are rare and expensive. However, every edition up to 1946 is also available in facsimile form.
The first facsimile set was printed by Billing & Sons in 1960. Approximately 150 softback copies were produced of each year from 1864 to 1878 and made available either as part of a set or as singles. The facsimiles are clearly marked with an entry in capital letters at the bottom of the title page: "Facsimile edition 1960 made and printed in Great Britain by Billing and Sons Ltd., Guildford and London".
Lowe and Brydone produced another print run of the first 15 years in 1974. The run was limited again to 150 softback sets. These facsimiles are marked with an entry in capital letters at the bottom of the title page: "Second facsimile edition made and printed in Great Britain by Lowe and Brydone (Printers) Limited".
In 1991 John Wisden & Co Ltd produced its own facsimile set in a distinctive yellow box. This again comprised editions from 1864 to 1878 inclusive and was limited to 1000 sets. The individual books are not strictly facsimiles, and cannot be mistaken for originals, because although they include a copy of the original covers they are hardbound in red boards with "WISDEN FACSIMILE" in gilt on the front and the set number – "No. X of 1000" – on the back. Internally there is also an entry to the effect that the editions are facsimiles at the bottom of each title page: "This facsimile edition is published in 1991 by John Wisden & Co. Ltd. and printed by The Eastern Press Ltd., Reading".
In recent years a more extensive range of facsimiles has been produced by the Willows Publishing Company Ltd. As of early 2014, softback and hardback editions up to and including 1946 have been published. Like the Wisden facsimile set, the Willows softback facsimiles up to 1937 are hardbound, in tan cloth with gilt embossing, but from 1938 onwards they are true facsimiles with yellow linen covers. The hardback editions are also true facsimiles, with dark brown covers upon which the original gilt embossing is reproduced. Internally all Willows editions are identified as reprints at the base of the title page and limited edition numbers, where applicable, are also marked on the binding or cover.
The first three facsimile sets reproduced the wrong back cover for the 1878 edition – they incorrectly showed a list of articles supplied by John Wisden & Co. The Willows facsimile contains the correct advertisement, for a book on Oxford and Cambridge cricket matches from 1827 to 1876.
To celebrate the 150th edition, a facsimile of the 1864 edition was offered by John Wisden & Co as an incentive for those who subscribed to both the 2013 and 2014 editions.The facsimile offer was repeated in 2014 for those willing to subscribe to the Almanack by direct debit. This is not a true facsimile as the back cover does not reproduce the "List of Articles" of the original, but instead on the inside there is an advertisement for Wisden reprints from the Willows Publishing Company and on the back a celebration of 150 years of Wisden. At the bottom of the back cover information is provided about the reprint: "This reprint of the first edition of Wisden was produced in 2013 for the publisher, John Wisden & Co, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Printed and bound by MPG Books."
Facsimile dust jackets are available for editions of Wisden from 1965 to 2003 to replace those that have been lost or damaged. 's "official dust jacket supplier", these jackets are laminated and are printed in black on yellow (unlike the original jackets issued with the editions from 1965 to 1978 that incorporated colour elements). Replacement dust jackets are also clearly distinguishable from the originals as they are marked on the back cover with the words "REPLACEMENT DUST JACKET".They are also offered from 2004 onward as "traditional covers" that can be substituted for the original photo dust jackets. Supplied by Wisden
The same supplier offers traditional design dust jackets for editions from 1946 to 1964. Although these mimic the appearance of the softback covers they are not true facsimiles as the original hardback editions were never issued with dust jackets.
On 1 December 2018 Willows Publishing sold all their remaining stock of circa 2500 books to www.wisdenauction.com
The size of Wisden print runs is of considerable interest to collectors as rarity has a very strong influence on the value of individual editions.
The most reliable, or rather most widely quoted, source of information on print runs is an article by Leslie Gutteridge titled "A History of Wisden" published in the 1963 Almanack.In this article the writer states that it had proved impossible to trace any printing orders earlier than 1936, having earlier mentioned that records had been lost during the Second World War as a result of two attacks on the publisher and Wisden's Mortlake factory.
Despite the lack of early records Gutteridge notes that editions from 1889 to 1901, except 1896 and 1900, ran to two impressions (the word "impression" rather than "edition" is used throughout this section to avoid confusion with Wisden's use of "edition" in the book's title). He also notes in passing the rarity of the 1875 edition, though "not ... so scarce as the first issue of 1864", without providing specific details.
It is for the years from 1936 onwards that Gutteridge puts numbers to the print runs, providing either combined figures, or a breakdown of softback and/or hardback numbers, for each year to 1949:
After 1949 he notes that numbers diminished, although at the time he wrote the article sales of the softback and hardback editions were still 11,000 and 10,000 respectively. It is likely that these figures were greatly exceeded in the centenary year as the 1963 edition ran to three impressions.
In more recent years sales of the 2006 edition exceeded 50,000 in total.The size of the print run was based on the publisher's belief that England's successful Ashes campaign the previous summer would attract considerable public interest.
Although unsupported by any reliable documentation, it is almost certain that print runs were reduced during the First World War. The 1916 edition, also containing as it does the obituary of W G Grace, is the most expensive 20th century Wisden.
The smallest recent print runs are believed to be for the years 1969 to 1971.
Collecting Wisdens is popular among cricket followers, and early editions command high prices. The first edition, only 112 pages long, sold for one shilling. Rare copies of the early editions can sell for thousands of pounds.
A hardcover, hard cover, or hardback book is one bound with rigid protective covers. It has a flexible, sewn spine which allows the book to lie flat on a surface when opened. Modern hardcovers may have the pages glued onto the spine in much the same way as paperbacks. Following the ISBN sequence numbers, books of this type may be identified by the abbreviation Hbk.
The Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World is an annual cricket award selected by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. It was established in 2004, to select the best cricketer based upon their performances anywhere in the world in the previous calendar year. A notional list of previous winners, spanning from 1900 to 2002, was published in the 2007 edition of Wisden.
Bernard "Benny" Green was a British jazz saxophonist who was also known for his radio shows and books.
Charles Lucas Townsend was a Gloucestershire cricketer. An all-round cricketer, Townsend was classically stylish, left-handed batsman, who was able to hit well despite his slender build. His off-side strokes were particularly effective, and his driving allowed him to score at a consistent pace throughout his major innings. In his younger days Townsend was also a spin bowler, who relied chiefly on a big break from leg but could also turn the ball the other way. He was often extremely difficult on sticky wickets but very rarely effective on good ones.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack Australia was a cricket annual and reference book, the Australian version of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, generally known as Wisden. The Australian edition's gestation period was lengthy: the first edition appeared in 1998, when the Preface referred to a March 1981 report in The Australian announcing the imminent appearance of the Australian edition.
John Wisden was an English cricketer who played 187 first-class cricket matches for three English county cricket teams, Kent, Middlesex and Sussex. He is now best known for launching the eponymous Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in 1864, the year after he retired from first-class cricket.
Indian Cricket was a cricket yearbook published by The Hindu from 1946–47 to 2004. There was no 2003 issue and so there are 57 editions in all. During most of its run it was the principal annual of its kind in India. The editions were originally dated by the season covered but, since the 1962 edition, the date is the calendar year of publication.
This is a bibliography of literary and historical works about cricket. The list is sorted by author's name. It is inevitably highly selective. The 1984 edition of E. W. Padwick's A Bibliography of Cricket had more than 10,000 entries.
The Wisden Trophy was awarded to the winner of the Test cricket series played between England and the West Indies. It was first awarded in 1963 to commemorate the hundredth edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. Series were played in accordance with the future tours programme, with varying lengths of time between tours. If a series was drawn then the country holding the Wisden Trophy retained it. In 2020, it was announced that the trophy would be replaced by the Richards–Botham Trophy named after Sir Vivian Richards and Sir Ian Botham.
Harry Lawton Calder was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1918, then a 17 year old schoolboy. Calder is the youngest person to receive this accolade, one of the game's top honours, and the only Wisden Cricketer of the Year that never played first-class cricket.
1962 was the 63rd season of County Championship cricket in England.
1909 was the 20th season of County Championship cricket in England and featured a Test series between England and Australia. Kent won the championship and Australia, captained by Monty Noble, won the Test series.
Peter, the Lord's cat, also known as The Marylebone mog, was a cat who lived at Lord's Cricket Ground in London from 1952 to 1964. He is the only animal to be given an obituary in the standard cricket reference book, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.
Hubert Preston was a journalist and writer who was editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack for eight years from the 1944 edition to the 1951 edition. He contributed to 51 editions of the Almanack, and was the oldest editor of the publication, being 74 when he started in the position. He became a partner in the Cricket Reporting Agency in 1920.
Dicky Jamshed Sohrab Rutnagur was an Indian sports journalist. He was cricket correspondent for the Hindustan Times from 1958 to 1966, when he became a freelance based in the UK. He covered cricket, squash and badminton for The Daily Telegraph from 1966 to 2005.
Thomas Boxall was a noted English cricketer who played during the late 18th century. He is considered to have been "one of the finest professional cricketers" of his day.
The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories is the long-running "main" Nancy Drew series, which was published under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. There are 175 novels — plus 34 revised stories — that were published between 1930 and 2003 under the banner; Grosset & Dunlap published the first 56, and 34 revised stories, while Simon & Schuster published the series beginning with volume 57.
George Wootton (1834–1924) was an English cricketer.
The Young Wisden Cricketer of the Year is a cricketer selected for the honour by the annual publication Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. The decision is based upon "his or her performances in school's cricket, as reported in Wisden". Wisden has included details of schools cricket as far back as its second edition in 1865, when it carried an account of the match between Eton College and Harrow School. In 1918 and 1919, as no first-class cricket was being played due to the First World War, the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year were chosen from public schools. The first Young Wisden Cricketer of the Year was named in 2008, in the 144th edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, in an effort to "help raise the profile of schools cricket, especially at state schools." The first winner was Jonny Bairstow of St Peter's School, York.
Lawrence Booth is an author and a cricket writer for the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, and editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack since 2011. He was the youngest Wisden editor for 72 years when he was appointed. He has previously written for The Guardian, The Observer and The Sunday Times, and is a regular contributor to Wisden Cricket Monthly magazine. He wrote guardian.co.uk's The Spin column for seven years, and his Top Spin column for Mail Online was named Online Column of the Year at the 2010 Sports Journalists' Association awards. In March 2013, he won Scoop of the Year at the SJAs after revealing that Kevin Pietersen had sent text messages to the touring South Africans the previous summer. He has written, edited or co-written 15 books, including Arm-Ball to Zooter, Cricket, Lovely Cricket? and the last 11 editions of Wisden, including the 150th, published in 2013.