Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2017
THIS year’s almanack comes after a dispiriting winter’s cricket. In Chennai, England conceded their highest total in their 983-Test history and long-standing skipper Alastair Cook resigned after England lost five of their seven winter Test matches.
Lawrence Booth believes Cook ‘chose the right time to go’ and lacked ‘the tactical acumen to influence a game on its own. That his team lost only four of his 17 series in charge was testament to a very English grit: understated, occasionally self-conscious, always bloody-minded. It proved an exhausting combination’.
The county season had ended on a high, with a dramatic finalday win by Middlesex against Yorkshire in a gripping winnertakes-the-title contest. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) then soured this heady brew 10 days later with a shock announcement that debt-ridden Durham were to be relegated from the first division as part of a punishment for having received a loan from them. This decision was said to have been made well before the season’s end, perhaps even as early as May.
Durham, in many respects a highly laudable county, are far from alone among the counties in being deep in debt, but other financially parlous clubs have steered clear of the ECB and its huge cash reserves and have been treated generously with loans from benefactors or local authorities. The ECB is rightly condemned as ‘draconian’ and ‘if Durham go straight back up in 2017, few promotions will have been cheered more loudly’.
The Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year is A. J. Woodland, St Edward’s School, Oxford’s lefthanded opening batsman. Roderick Easdale