Danny Morrison and the Missing Pronouns, and other tales
People often say that Wisden lands on their doormat with a thud, which immediately causes you to wonder about the size of their letterbox. Wisden wouldn't land on my doormat with a thud; it would be left outside to go soggy in the rain, with a note from the postman explaining that he could hardly be expected to push a yellow brick through such a meagre aperture, and anyway, why don't you just get the scores from the internet?
My postman would be missing the point. You could get the scores from the internet, but there is something cosy about having them all piled up in your lap in very small print. And it is all about the small print. There are boring, pointless bits in Wisden, but then you could say the same about Christmas, and my year wouldn't quite be the same without that, either.
So even though I have to wait until the price drops before being able to afford one, which means I may be somewhat behind the times - yesterday, for example, I was worried to read John Woodcock's notes about the deadly threat of West Indian fast bowlers - like most cricket fans, I have a yellow-themed shelf in my living room, bent slightly in the middle, which I optimistically describe to guests as an investment.
I particularly enjoy the reviews. Everything from commentators' moustaches to the softness of the toilet paper at county venues is chronicled and rated. Naturally, this also includes cricket books, but Wisden doesn't always have room to include everything, so to fill in the gaps, here's three pieces of prime crick-lit you might have missed.
The year's most hyped thriller was Danny Morrison and the Missing Pronouns, the sequel to the 2011 blockbuster, Danny Morrison and the Unnecessary Pauses. The hero, a charismatic, handsome former fast bowler and three-times winner of the Nobel prize for cricket, tries to find out who has been stealing all the pronouns from his commentary. Sadly, the protagonist is completely implausible, and the extensive use of capitals makes the book unreadable.
Playing Cricket With Quirky Foreigners On Boats is written by an irritating young man from London, whose dull job in the media leaves him with too much time on his hands. Recruiting a team of whimsically-nicknamed former school friends, he travels to the Philippines where he attempts to teach the seafaring Bajau people how to play cricket. The book is mostly awful, although improves towards the end when the Bajau, driven to despair by the self-deprecating humour, throw the author stumps first into the shark-infested sea.
Finally, in the autobiography section, Insert Cricket-Related Pun is the not-at-all-eagerly-awaited memoir of 22-year-old bits-and-pieces cricketer Maxwell Clarke, describing his exciting journey from talented young cricketer to talented slightly older cricketer. He tells us what it's like to share a hotel room with Matthew Wade, what he usually has for breakfast, how his attitude to hair gel has changed since he entered his twenties, and the story behind each of his tattoos. The book ends with the high point of his career so far: a streaky seven not out against Chennai, and the chance to shake Ravindra Jadeja's sleeve.
Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here