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Book review

The Little Wonder: The Remarkable History of Wisden, By Robert Winder Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2013, Edited by Lawrence Booth

Posted April 12, 2013

The Independent

Like cricket itself, its annual chronicle has adapted to survive on a tricky modern wicket

Cricket has always claimed to be more than just a game. Neville Cardus wrote that, “if everything else in this nation of ours were lost but cricket, her constitution and the Laws of England of Lord Halsbury, it would be possible to reconstruct from the theory and practice of cricket all the eternal Englishness which has gone to the establishment of that Constitution and the laws aforesaid.” And CLR James was convinced that “cricket is first and foremost a dramatic spectacle. It belongs with the theatre, ballet, opera and dance”.

Those who care little for the sport might dismiss such claims as dotty. But the game does attract some remarkable devotees. Cardus, then the Manchester Guardian’s music critic, doubled up to become its cricket correspondent. James, a West Indian radical who 50 years ago published his classic Beyond a Boundary, was a Trotskyite deported from the US. And the great mathematician GH Hardy, a confirmed atheist, consoled himself as he lay dying by getting his sister to read out the scores of an Australia-India series.

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