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The longest-running sports annual in history, The Wisden Cricketers' Almanack has remained steadfast through wars and global crises and even technological revolutions. In Wisden India, six editors of the Almanack share their thoughts on what it means to be a Wisden editor.
The Kanga Memorial Library at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, a beloved haunt for cricket history buffs and probably one of the only sporting libraries in the country, is fighting for survival with administrative apathy. In the Mid day, Clayton Murzello explores the library to find some its rarest classics moth-eaten and dust-laden.
First-timers to the Wankhede Stadium won't find the library without having to ask around simply because there are no sign boards leading to the premises which comes in between the plush Cricket Centre and the Wankhede Stadium. The dark alley leading to the library is indicative of the times.
Ted Corbett, in the Hindu, says in these days of rapid-fire Twenty20 and so many websites dedicated to cricket, Wisden might not be really necessary, but in traditional cricket circles it still has time to live.
Whenever I visit Lord's I see old men taking their grandsons -- rarely granddaughters I note -- along the same route the old and the young trod heaven knows how many years ago. Those young men will be taught to identify players without names and numbers, to applaud each fifty, each small partnership and even clap the players as they walk off for tea. One day granddad will buy their first bat and grumble about the price, as my mother did all those summers ago, and maybe even present them with their first Wisden -- now £50, the cost of a bottle of champagne -- and teach them to find their way from Notes by the Editor to the funny little tales in the back.
Cricket writing is once again finding the diversity in its voice, after years of shying away from big stories. In his review of the best cricket books for the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (featured in the Guardian), John Crace profiles five books, including Bookie, Gambler, Fixer, Spy, that reveal the best and worst of cricket.
Best of all, cricket writing is back on the money. Literally. There is no bigger story in cricket at the moment than its finances - particularly in regard to illegal betting. Predictably, the International Cricket Council is not that keen to investigate; its efforts limited to setting up any number of sub-committees that invariably seem to discover next to nothing. Cricket's writers have been far bolder and more successful on a fraction of the budget.
Often called the 'cricketing Bible', almost to the point of a cliché, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack will release its 150th edition next week. As he traces the history of Wisden and the challenges it faces in the modern era, former editor Matthew Engel writes in the Financial Times that Wisden offers "the illusion of timelessness, which is at the heart of cricket's appeal".
"I am not sure anyone quite understands it. What I have learnt is that it appeals most to people who love books first, and cricket second, not the other way round. That collectability is crucial. And that what readers love most is the way, searching for one fact, one gets diverted for hours: it is a reference book double-plus. Plus there is that solid, distinctive name: as Australian writer Murray Hedgcock once pointed out, Wisden would never have worked had the founder been John Smith, Jones or Robinson."
In the Telegraph, Simon Briggs says the iconic yellow jacket still marks a fixed point in a disorder world.
Stephen Moss pays tribute to the classic that reminds him of a brick. In the Observer, he muses that perhaps the real reason to collect it is so that "one can build a small house, a protection against the real world that helps its readers forget that time must move on."
There are few books on cricket that have had as powerful and as lasting an impact as CLR James' Beyond a Boundary. Fifty years after its publication, it is still regarded by many as the greatest book on the game. Writing in the Guardian, Selma James, wife of CLR, shares her insights into a book that her husband "had to write".
Establishing early the interconnection between cricket and race and class divisions opens the way for Beyond a Boundary to fulfil its author's full purpose: to draw out other startling connections - cricket and art, life in ancient Greece, even rewriting English social history with cricket's great WG Grace as a crucial figure. As startling as his connections is the light he sheds on each - not only cricket but every subject benefits from shattering boundaries. We are invited to reject the fragmenting of reality, and to see its diverse interconnections without which we are prevented from ever knowing anything fully - including our own reality. What do they know of cricket, or anything, if it is walled off from every other aspect of life and struggle?
The Nightwatchman, a new quarterly magazine from Wisden Cricket, features articles from various popular cricket writers. In the inaugural issue, among others, Christian Ryan deconstructs the genius of Shivnarine Chanderpaul while historian James Holland retraces the life of English spinner Hedley Verity, who was killed during the Second World War. Sample the offerings here.
It has been a year since Peter Roebuck committed suicide in South Africa. A fan from Australia, Benjamin Golby, has written a song to mark the anniversary. "In Memoriam - P.M.R" is not an attempt at obituary for Peter Roebuck," said Golby, who is taking his Honours in Composition in Melbourne, having studied Music at the University of Western Australia. "Rather, it is a response to Mr Roebuck's death. This is what distinguishes an elegy from eulogy, in that an elegy is a personal lament rather than a detailing of its subject's qualities."
Golby wrote the song after attending a memorial service for Roebuck in Melbourne six weeks after the writer's death. "I had found Mr Roebuck's death difficult to comprehend and, when attempting to discuss it with friends, felt unable to express the confusion I felt regarding it."
In the song, Golby writes:
"Learnt of your death early on a Sunday morning hungover and consumed with my own complaints Soon after, my father telephoned touchingly to check I was okay, making sad warning Beside myself I had trotted down to the nearby oval, where I found solace watching the park cricketers"
"I feel like a charlatan saying this as a person who was personally unacquainted with Mr Roebuck but I felt the loss severely and still find it very troubling," Golby said. "I thought that this was an overreaction and was ashamed by my response until I realised that a great many others feel the same. His is not merely the case in Australia, where many felt a personal connection with Mr Roebuck through his commentary work on the ABC and the Fairfax papers. The English novelist Howard Jacobson expresses something similar in the opening paragraph of an article he wrote on the subject in the Independent.
"I assume that what is being expressed is not so much personal loss but that some dearly held idea or conviction, espoused by that person or achieving essence in them, is now lost. Fortunately ideas do not die with individuals. As has been expressed in many of the tributes written, Peter Roebuck's most significant contributions, excellence in cricket journalism and that cricket should be placed in the context of greater social and political issues, will abide."