“ Monthly puiblication from the biggest name in cricket publishing. „
Now that wisden cricket monthly has merged with the "cricketer" greater things have started to happen. I have full collections of the wisden and cricketer between 1990 and 2010 (probably a bit sad), but now I feel the wisden cricketer monthly has incorporated the best aspects of both into an allround magazine. I work, and so I sometimes find it hard to keep up with scores all day long, especially now that there is so much cricket being played, internationally and domestically. I also sometimes struggle to wade through some of the rubbish written in the papers about cricket (and sometimes stuggle to find the cricket right at the back of the paper anyway!). The wisden cricketer brings all the monthly stuff into an easy enjoyable 2 hour read. I particularly love the pictures of the week, the XI section and the letters. I have tried myself to send in a few, but have not succeeded so far!
Wisden Cricket Monthly was launched in 1979, and I started reading it around the summer of 1986 (I seem to remember that Mike Gatting, the erstwhile England captain was on the front cover then...). The first issue I bought cost a mere 95p, whereas inflation and printing costs has pushed the cover price to £2.90. However the magazine has undergone a lot of changes in that time, and whilst there are timeless copies with interviews with the likes of John Arlott, the magazine has sold out now to plug cricket as a trendy game (as Jamie Theakston is now saying too!). Nowadays Wisden Cricket Monthly is a full colour affair, whereas colour was sporadic and rationed in the past. Originally the coverage could be described as stuffy, but that is anything but the case nowadays. The traditional editorial has been shunted into Page 7 - with the shots of the month, such as action shots from the latest tour, or the latest happening occupying the front pages. After the one page editorial comes the "Openers" section, with regular contributors such as Scyld Berry, Rob Steen and Tim de Lisle writing short articles. Along the edge of the right hand pages there is the news register, which previously had been at the front, occuring a double page. Then they aer the letters, which are increasingly become e-mails, some cynical, some jocular and the occasionally the odd stuffy one. There are then features on assorted players (March's copy had a feature on the Sri Lankan enigma Muttiah Muralitharan) and assorted features about the international teams. The Agnew interview is one of the most prominent features, such as a story about Alf Gover, the oldest surviving Test Cricketer, Curtly Ambrose (and how he's enjoying retirement...). During the season there is the full compliment of county news, and there is a usual array of close season features in their place. The microcosm feature during the summer does a round-up of all the County Matches (first cl
ass or limited overs), and there is an annual season preview, and equipment preview, covering everything from scoreboards and sightscreens to bats and balls. There is a section on book reviews, so that you can see the latest cricket books that are on sale (there are a lot). This is followed by the obituaries section, usually encompassing one big review and two or three lesser reviews - although of course it is not always possible to guage the status of this. Then there is a classified section with evertyhing from offers of players, tours, fixtures to umpiring clobber, and all sorts of cricket related offers. Tehre is also coverage of the latest Test Match and Limited Overs International PriceWaterhouseCoopers ratings, and the forthcoming calendar for the next quarter, and a back page article, with a miscellaneous feature along the way, such as cricket on the wev. The magazine usually runs to around 80 pages, and there is some advertising but this is far from intrusive, as it is in some Mens Magazines. The magazine is a good read, and great for the cricket fan who wants to catch up with what is happening in the cricket world, but it will never replace the buff volume, that is the Wisden Cricketers Almanack.