Scyld Berry, the cricket correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph, has been appointed editor of the 2008 Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. Berry will take over while Matthew Engel has a sabbatical.
Engel is currently editing the 2007 Wisden, the 144th, due to be published with full coverage of the Ashes tour on March 28. He will remain "editor of Wisden" and retain responsibility for long-term editorial strategy. Berry, as "editor of Wisden 2008" will have full charge of next year's edition.
"Scyld is a brilliant cricket writer with remarkable insight into the game," Engel said. "He will bring a fresh and special perspective to the book."
Scyld (pronounced Shild) Berry, now 52, was given his first Almanack when aged six. "I scrawled on that one a bit," he admits, "But I've loved Wisden ever since, and now I'd like to leave a better mark on it." He reported his first match for The Observer when still a Cambridge undergraduate. He was sent on the 1977-78 tour of Pakistan, and made cricket correspondent the following summer.
Since then, he has missed only one England winter tour and is believed to have attended more England Tests overseas than anyone else in history. He joined the Sunday Telegraph in 1993, and will continue his role there during his editorship.
He has written six books - five on cricket and an Australian travelogue. His latest is Cricket's Burning Passion: Ivo Bligh and the Story of the Ashes, co-authored with Bligh's great-grandson, Rupert Peploe.
The 2007 Almanack will be Engel's 12th, making him one of Wisden's longest-serving editors. He is also a columnist on the Financial Times. He intends to use the break to write a book of his own, and administer the Laurie Engel Fund, which is working with Teenage Cancer Trust to build a new hospital unit in Birmingham. Laurie, Matthew's 13-year-old son, died of cancer in 2005.
The 2006 Wisden is believed to be the biggest selling edition in the Almanack's history, and went to a reprint for the first time since 1982. "These are challenging times for reference books," said Christopher Lane, managing director of Wisden's publishers, John Wisden and Co. "But we have implemented a clear strategy for keeping the book relevant in the internet age. Scyld will inherit a great team and we're sure he will be a superb editor."