The podcast continues after fourteen years. Episode 8 (series 2, episode 1) of The Net Sessions is out.
A big thank you to cricket journalists Elizabeth Ammon, Melinda Farrell and Anand Vasu for taking the time for a Zoom chat reviewing and discussing various topics from the 2020 edition of Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack, in particular the Notes By The Editor, Five Cricketers of the Year, Leading International Cricketer In The World and Leading T20 Player In The World.
The transcript of my editorial from the opening of the podcast:
“Welcome to Episode Eight of The Net Sessions, and to those of you who have waited fourteen years since the end of Episode Seven, thank you for your patience.
The theme in this season of The Net Sessions will be Cricket Book Club and I’m starting with the 2020 Wisden. But first: each edition of Wisden has its Notes From The Editor. I’m going to start this podcast with mine.
A lot has happened in the world of cricket, as in life itself, in those fourteen years since my last podcast. Without dwelling too much on that space, I’d just like to outline what I think are the three biggest developments in cricket since 2006, in no particular order:
One is the absolute explosion of Twenty20 as the most popular genre of the sport. The creation of the IPL was a game-changer which showed that the best cricketers could not just earn a full-time living from the sport, but earn the big money – up there with some of the world’s most successful athletes – to set themselves and their families up for life. Make no mistake, T20 and the IPL have been good for the game.
Second is the decision by the ICC in the past two years to roll-out recognition of international status for mens and womens T20 teams representing all of its one hundred-plus member nations. This is still in the early days of its development but taken seriously should enable cricket’s maturity into a truly global sport – and perhaps if it really has the will, into an Olympic game.
And the other, is the growth and growth of the women’s game. From a time when it was treated as a novelty, derided or completely ignored, to the stage where it is a normal, natural part of our sport. Where the talents of women are rewarded not just as players, but as umpires, officials, administrators, media. Where girls have the same opportunity as the boys. Full equality? That’s still a work in progress, but it will happen, and should not be far away.
And so we arrive at April 2020 and… there’s no one playing cricket. Sport, and much of public life, has ground to a halt as we face the biggest public health crisis that a lot of us have ever seen, and certainly at a global level. We will come out of this. Girls and boys around the world will be placing bat on ball, screaming Howzat and taking those classic catches again. At the Big Business end of the game, there could be major structural differences, but at the moment this is something we just don’t know.
On this show, however, we’re going to focus on last year, 2019.
In each edition of The Net Sessions I will look at one or two books with a panel discussing the book and its underlying themes. I’m going to start with cricket’s longest running annual publication – Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack. Neither world wars nor global pandemics have stopped it from rolling off the presses. This month saw the release of its 157th annual edition.”
The 157th Wisden Cricketers Almanack is published in hardcover and paperback by Bloomsbury, as is The Shorter Wisden 2020 which contains most of the feature articles from the Almanack, and is available in epub, kindle and audiobook editions.