.by Anura Guruge
Last Google Doodle posts:
>> American Jane Addams’ 153rd birthday — Sep. 6, 2013.
>> Google Doodle for my birthday — Sep. 4, 2013.
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‘Wisden’, the name borne by the annual bible on cricket (and for a time also a very popular cricket magazine that I used to subscribe to, airmail from the U.S.), is one of the most iconic names among cricket aficionados, only bettered by “Lord’s“. [What other sports has a holy of holies named “Lord’s” — and that after the name of a rather ‘humble’ professional cricketer, as opposed to a blue-blood or mythical person?]
The Wisden Cricket Almanack is treat to any cricket lover: both tactile and intellectual.
I started buying them annually as of 1977. By then I was working for IBM and had my own money to indulge in cricket books. I just went and checked the price on what I paid for the 1977 edition. £3.75 (probably about U.S. $8.50) for the soft (cloth) cover. I really can’t remember what I was getting paid those days. The 2013 edition is £23 at Amazon U.K. and $64.80 in paperback on Amazon U.S. Wow.
There was a time that I had promised myself that I would purchase an ENTIRE Wisden collection for myself. If I remember right, in the early 80s, I could have got (close) to an entire set for about $4,000. I never did, and that was another bad decision on my part. They now have entire auction houses devoted to selling Wisden collections. There is even a book on how to collect Wisdens.
The last one I have is 1999. A client from the U.K. bought it and brought it for me when he flew over to meet with me in Manchester. Bringing me a Wisden, and saving me having to order one, was a guaranteed way to get a good discount from me on my services. Some of my U.K. clients had worked it out. Every £1 they spent on getting cricket stuff for me would probably get them $100 in reduced pricing from me. So it was ‘win-win’.
Not sure why I stopped collecting Wisdens. Probably because I didn’t have access to watching cricket, and unless you are really up to date reading the Wisden is pretty frustrating because you are not familiar with the backgrounds and context. Maybe I will start collecting. Maybe I will drive Deanna nuts by telling her I want the 2013 edition for Christmas. The other reason, to be honest, is the Internet! In the 1970s IF you wanted to check or verify a cricket record or check a player’s lifetime statistics your ONLY source was the latest Wisden. Now CricInfo has more statistics and records than even I know what to do with.
But, I am DELIGHTED that Google honored John Wisden.
Kind of bummed that they did NOT make it visible across all ICC countries. Possible that the folks at Google don’t know all the ICC countries and never thought of Googling it. That they only displayed it in Australia, India, New Zealand and the UK is kind of RACIST. Pakistanis should be BUMMED. Yes, I can appreciate that most of the folks at Google have never heard of Sri Lanka. But, what about South Africa? NZ and not SA? Come on Google. You can do better than that. But, I am not complaining. Kind of glad that Google renewed my interest in Wisdens. I think I still have a few magazines around too. Wished I kept them all!