Alex Brinton reviews
Young Wisden: A New Fan’s Guide to Cricket
by Tim de Lisle and Lawrence Booth
A&C Black, pb, 128pp, £9.99
The second edition of Young Wisden is just what I want, says TWC’s first 11-year-old reviewer. And he’s not easily satisfied
LAST MONTH I opened the front door to find a parcel addressed to me lying on the door mat. I immediately tore open the packaging to find what I had been hoping for; a spanking new copy of Young Wisden. I loved the first edition when it came out in 2007 and have bought copies for lots of my friends on their birthdays.
The first big difference I noticed was on the cover – the winds of change have swept across Young Wisden. In 2007 there were photographs of Monty Panesar and Andrew Symonds, with Kevin Pietersen taking the main picture. This time the main image is Andrew Strauss playing a sumptuous drive through the offside.
The authors have a tricky job. The sub-title says A New Fan’s Guide to Cricket so they have to appeal to people who might not know much about cricket and those who do. This balance is demonstrated at the very start with a feature headlined ‘The Aim Of The Game’. This is obviously for beginners. But later on the story on the life of the great Don Bradman is at the other end of this scale.
I really enjoy these mini-biographies. The Sachin Tendulkar one sums up what a cricket-mad place India is and what a player he is. The narrative on Stuart Broad and the 2009 Ashes victory shows how cricket can pass into people’s DNA. I was there when Stuart destroyed Australia on the second day at The Oval.
This book can also help you as a player. The ‘Skills and Roles’ section is brilliant for players whether they want to be bowlers, batsmen or even wicketkeepers. The feature on ‘How to Set a Field’ is great for up-and-coming captains and players in general.
The World XI is one of my favourite bits. Everyone loves picking a world XI, past or present, though there are some weird choices in this team, like Tamim Iqbal ahead of Strauss or Gautam Gambhir. And why not pick James Anderson, Morne Morkel or Broad rather than Mitchell Johnson? But everyone has a different opinion.
Overall this book is a fantastic advert for cricket. I really want to give it five stars but can give it only four and a half because I think there is always room for improvement – even with the best books.
Alex Brinton plays for Overton Under-11s in Hampshire