Big Bri: The Primrose Path
To quote Hamlet ‘Blithely unaware of his doom, he continued down his primrose path. The wet and warm early spring has occasioned an unusual profusion of these innocent plants. Indeed on my daily exercise route through the cemetery the grey memorials and gravestones stand out against a sea of yellow.
However the most prized primrose appeared last week with the publication of this year’s Wisden almanack, the 157th edition of this bible. A signal to all of us fanatics that we must down tools for a few months and innocently travel down the path of sloth and happiness on the terraces.
My father bought me my first Wisden in 1949 which to an eleven year old was a bewildering present. I have since realised it was for himself, as at night he read the exploits of David Fletcher and Laurie Fishlock and the rest of the brown caps at his beloved Kennington Oval.
However the dye was cast as we journeyed together on the 36 tram to his Valhalla, where before the game I was given a strict reminder to keep quiet whilst play was in progress.
Those were the days.
Year after year I bought copies until the price became prohibitive , and whilst paying off the mortgage I opted to find them in second hand bookshops. This all ceased in 1990 when my son’s performance at school warranted a small entry. In these circumstances I drove my bookshop mad in enquiring in February if it was available.
To me this was as important and more meaningful than any honour her majesty the Queen could bestow on the family, and I hoped my dad was watching from beyond the grave.
The 2020 edition is a must read for all cricket fans as it covers a magnificent season when England won the one day World championship in the most bizarre circumstances. The ramifications of the super over and umpires interpretation of the rules still resonates throughout world cricket. One of the more amazing statistics was that this was the fourth New Zealand defeat in a super over in recent times.
The world cricketer of the year was Ben Stokes , the first English player to win since Andrew Flintoff in 2005.
Talking of hard luck stories Somerset supporters are convinced that they lost the county championship due to the reduction of points for a turning wicket, but point out that they have in the process produced two England spin bowlers in Jack Leach and Dom Bess.
At the moment I have only listened to the podcast where I was intrigued to hear the editor Lawrence Booth discuss Eion Morgan’s contribution on “Englands new multiculturalism’’where he felt being raised in a devout Roman Catholic household in Dublin has helped him to understand the racial diversity in his team, particularly concerning his two Muslim players, Adil Rashid and Moen Ali.
Wisden as always comes up with startling facts and who would have guessed that the late Bob Willis bowled 939 no balls in Test cricket ?