A varied, sumptuous treat

Not having written for the first edition of the Wisden India Almanack gives me the advantage of writing about it. A cousin of the legendary Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, the inaugural edition is nearly identical to the original Wisden in shape, not as thick as it is, and is kitted out in blue and white as opposed to the original’s signature yellow and black. It is a treat.

Writing is Wisden ‘s strongest suit; and the India Almanack is both delightful and distinguished in this respect.

Rahul Bhattacharya says an eloquent goodbye to the ‘281 era’, the players who offered us Indian cricket’s most successful decade (2001-2011): “We weren’t kings – when have we ever been – but we had class, we were contenders, we were somebody.”

Mike Selvey and Lawrence Booth (the latter happens to be the editor of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack) have written two excellent essays on Sachin Tendulkar.

The tributes to VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid make us realize again what we had, and will no more.

Shehan Karunatilaka writes a perceptive, nuanced piece, full of surprise and humour, at how he overcame his scepticism about Muthiah Muralitharan (or, rather, how Murali destroyed it).

Among cricketers, past and present, who contribute to this volume are Sourav Ganguuly, Mahela Jayawardene, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath and Sanjay Manjrekar. And there is much more.

And while you get your hands on the Wisden India, here are some tributes to our modern legends (from the archive of yours truly), and mostly from that unforgettable tour of Australia in 2003-04:

Batman forever

Why Laxman is very, very special – and more so when he’s playing Australia

Steeling the show

Forgotten flair of the invisible man

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