It’s set to be a thrilling summer of cricket with Test matches against New Zealand, the ICC Champions Trophy and the Ashes Test series against Australia. There’s also a publishing landmark with the 150th edition of Wisden, the cricketers’ almanack, available now priced £50. The annual reference book was first published in 1864 by John Wisden, the 5ft 4ins Sussex fast bowler known as the ‘Little Wonder’, at the price of a shilling for 112 pages (the latest edition weighs in at 1,584 pages).
In 1889, it began compiling what would become its famous cricketers of the year list, so by 2000 it was well placed to come up with five cricketers of the century, headed by Don Bradman. Even though it’s a venerable volume, Wisden’s never been too fusty: it made Claire Taylor one of its cricketers of the year in 2009, while the latest issue considers Kevin Pietersen and Twitter and features Steve Davies on being the first openly gay international cricketer. It even broke with tradition in 2003 and put a photograph on the front – Michael Vaughan was the cover star – but the Eric Ravilious woodcut of Victorian gentlemen was soon back where it belonged, having graced the cover since the 75th edition in 1938 (that was also the year it became bright yellow).
Wisden readers will also be fascinated by The Little Wonder: The Remarkable History of Wisden by Robert Winder, as well as a host of new cricketing volumes including The Promise of Endless Summer, a book of cricket lives from the Daily Telegraph; 80 Not Out: My Favourite Cricket Memories by Dickie Bird; and We’ll Get ‘Em in Sequins by Max Davidson, a unique look at the changing nature of masculinity, told through the lens of a series of Yorkshire County Cricket Club player portraits through the ages.