In the new issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly, out on January 18, we preview England’s five-Test series in India and consider whether Ben Stokes’ side can pull off ‘mission impossible’.
In a 20-page section looking at one of the game’s most intriguing rivalries, Anand Vasu examines the career of the incomparable R Ashwin, Aadya Sharma delves into the dream factory which produces India’s brightest young talents, Phil Walker speaks to Lancashire spinner Tom Hartley ahead of his first senior England tour, and John Stern takes us back to the eventful trip of 1984/85 when David Gower’s side prevailed against a backdrop of assassinations and political chaos.
Elsewhere in the magazine, we reveal the men’s Test XI and women’s cross-format XI of 2023, Michael Vaughan sets out his blueprint for the future of Test cricket in conversation with Mel Farrell, Courtney Walsh talks Aadam Patel through his record-breaking career, and award-winning author David Woodhouse introduces a new series on the literature of the game.
We also have hard-hitting columns from Andrew Miller and Lawrence Booth, Jo Harman investigates the origin story of the Chanderpauls, and Robin Smith tells James Wallace about the shot which changed his life.
Wisden Cricket Monthly is also available in digital form. You can purchase single issues or sign up for a subscription here.
10 standout quotes from the new issue:
“I’ve got a ‘carrom’ ball. It’s almost there. It’s easy to bowl it in the nets, I’ve bowled it a few times in county cricket and a bit in white ball, but with the style of play that England are after, given a chance, hopefully I’ll flick it out for yer…”
Tom Hartley says he has a new trick up his sleeve ahead of England’s Test series in India
“That an appeal to end the madness of war could be deemed a political gesture when, say, the co-opting of an entire World Cup campaign by India’s ruling BJP could not, is just the most preposterous recent example [of the ICC’s double standards].”
Andrew Miller on the ICC’s censuring of Usman Khawaja
“After Bombay there were a lot of heart-to-hearts and we decided to stick together. Nothing could get any worse than two assassinations so let’s get on with the cricket.”
Mike Gatting looks back on England’s remarkable tour of India in 1984/85
“I learnt so much from other players but the chemistry between me and Curtly [Ambrose] was something else. We never competed with each other, we simply complemented each other. Neither of us were selfish with the ball and it was a pretty open relationship where we both took responsibility. And it was even better off the pitch. Most nights, we would have a quiet meal somewhere, maybe a gin and tonic or some rum.”
Courtney Walsh on a match made in heaven
“There’s a lot of pressure, it’s very important to maintain that kind of presence. It’s very important to have a certain follower count. Again, it’s all about credibility. It’s not really about anything else. It’s more about how they are, how people perceive them.”
Keerthana Swaminathan, president of the Indian Sports Psychology Association, speaks to Aadya Sharma about the challenges facing India’s up-and-coming stars
“If everyone bought into the logic of going out there to win and not being too concerned about the draw, Test cricket would be in a better place. It’s been frustrating for many years that in this great format we do very little other than go, ‘Oh, we’ll just have a Test Championship, that’s going to solve all the problems’. No, it’s not.”
Michael Vaughan sets out his blueprint for the future of the Test game
“At times his bat seems to linger in the expression of the shot, as if blowing a kiss to an old flame as she scuttles off down the platform.”
Phil Walker on Harry Brook’s 186 at Wellington last February, WCM’s men’s Test innings of 2023
“Every Test is a bit of a luxury. I think it’s important for players to have their own opinions on what the game should do moving forward.”
Lorcan Tucker, the first-ever Irish representative in WCM’s men Test XI of the year, speaks to Ben Gardner
“He was very strict. If he tells you to do this or to do that, he expects you to do it. I enjoyed it, pretty much. There were a few times he would get upset if you were doing certain things the way he didn’t want you to, and he would have me running laps around the ground before we start practising.”
Tagenarine Chanderpaul on the coaching style of his grandfather Khemraj – coach and mentor to both him and his father, Shivnarine
“There was a tree square of the wicket in the garden and Dad drew a circle in white paint at its base. We’d set up the machine and my job was to hit that spot on the tree every single time. When you practise something hundreds of times a day it becomes ingrained.”
Robin Smith on how he learnt his famous square-cut