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Wisden Cricket Monthly issue 76 – This Is England

by Wisden Staff 8 minute read

In the new issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly, out March 28, Phil Walker delves into the major talking points from England’s Test series defeat in India, highlighting the emergence of a group of young spinners who showed glimpses of a positive and progressive future, and not just with the ball.


Following encouraging performances from Shoaib Bashir and Rehan Ahmed, two British South Asians just setting out on their careers, Moeen Ali tells us: “It’s not about where you’re from, what you do, or what colour you are. If you’re good enough you’ll play. This is a message for the Asian community, don’t get disheartened if you don’t get picked or get released.”

Elsewhere, we preview the 2024 County Championship season by giving the lowdown on all 18 counties and picking an XI of breakout stars who will have you on the edge of your seat this summer. We have a candid interview with Shan Masood, skipper of both Yorkshire and Pakistan, on juggling the toughest jobs in the game, and columnist Lawrence Booth writes that it’s hard to see anyone denying savvy Surrey a third consecutive title.

We also hear from former West Indies skipper Jimmy Adams on the defining moments of his career, including a famous Test win over South Africa inspired by a little skulduggery from Lara, the brilliant Rob Smyth digs through CricViz’s archive to compare and contrast the three most dominant Test batters of the 1990s, and, ahead of its 17th edition, Wisden India editor Aadya Sharma analyses the evolution of the IPL.

If that’s not enough, John Stern picks out Test cricket’s all-time greatest upsets, England stars Maia Bouchier and Lauren Filer share the tricks of their trade, returning columnist Mark Ramprakash gives his insight into what makes James Anderson tick, and Stephen Chalke delivers a touching tribute to the late Mike Procter.

You can buy the magazine in stores across the UK (click here to find your nearest stockist) or purchase a subscription here.

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:

“When Rash [Adil Rashid] and myself played, we felt like we were representing more than South Asians and Muslims. Sport has the power to change people’s mindsets and get them to see people differently. It’s an opportunity and a platform for people to get to know us, and to think, ‘You know, these guys are not too bad’. There are people out there who wouldn’t have met or interacted with Muslims or Asians. Sport has always done that. People say you can’t mix sport and politics, but I think sport can change politics.”
Moeen Ali on the power of sport

“An hour in his company at the crease is never dull. He’s a weird mix of easy, fluid casualness and neurotic hyper-urgency, like a languid concert cellist forever on the verge of twanging a string. Even during the bad times, of which there were loads, he still failed compellingly. It was always, always a talking point. Crawley nick off again, did he? See that Crawley, last over before lunch? Yeah, yeah, but did you see that shot over mid-wicket?”
Phil Walker on the unmissable Zak Crawley following the England opener’s impressive tour of India

“If, through its permissive attitude to training and dressing-room pressure, Bazball is an appeal for the players’ finely honed instincts to take over when the going gets tough, then it could be argued that those instincts need, first, to be put through the wringer in a more Draconian domestic environment.”
Andrew Miller on where Bazball goes next and its potential impact on county cricket

“I feel like I’ve got a game that’s suited to the current style of the Test team. My scoring areas change [between red- and white-ball cricket] but technically and set-up wise, everything stays the same. What the England Test team are doing now is the stuff that some coaches tried to coach out of me, telling me to not be positive and stand there and block the ball for half a session, and I’ve never done that. I feel like I’d be one of the most natural fits for it, being honest.”
England white-ball star Phil Salt on his Test credentials

“He’d moved the ball away from me in the first innings so when I came out to bat in the second, I shaped up for more of the same. Before I could get my feet moving, he hit me on the toe first ball – plumb lbw to a reverse-swinging, in-swinger, the perfect ball to a new batter.”
Returning columnist Mark Ramprakash recalls facing James Anderson on the Lancashire seamer’s first-class debut 22 years ago

“Surrey are easily accused by jealous rivals of possessing a strut, but there are few counties more cannily assembled, more pragmatically led. The era of season-long, top-of-the-range overseas players is in the past, but Surrey have alighted on the next best option: high-class bowlers who will not be waylaid by too many international commitments.”
Lawrence Booth says Surrey are primed for a third straight title

“As a nation, we’re very emotional and when it comes to loyalty. Everyone is a Babar Azam fan, I’m a huge Babar Azam fan. What he brings to the country is a huge asset. But it’s not about Shan, it’s not about Babar. It’s about the Pakistan team.”
Shan Masood speaks to Mel Farrell about succeeding Babar Azam as Test captain

“That’s the greatest innings I’ve ever seen or been a part of. We threw everything at him. It was reversing and we bowled really well. But we were outplayed by a master. He was unbelievable in this series, and what makes it even more special is that he was under so much scrutiny. He flicked the switch in his head and he was just too good for us.”
Jason Gillespie recalls Brian Lara’s 213 at Jamaica in 1999

“It’s near impossible to imagine a Dhoni-less Chennai, but it will happen soon, without a real heir in sight. Dhoni’s once CSK teammate Faf du Plessis, soon to turn 40, is now helming the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Virat Kohli might be captain no more, but he’s still, by far, their greatest star. At the team ever since he was a 19-year-old, Kohli enjoys immense fandom in Bengaluru, his adopted home. Again, it’s difficult to imagine what RCB would be without him. These ageing superstars still command eyeballs in the millions, but won’t be around forever. As it turns 17, the IPL is reaching a challenging phase
Aadya Sharma on the next steps for the IPL

“So, this is what really happened: Brian normally comes home from a day’s play, goes to sleep, wakes up at midnight and then hits the road. So at 12am, he’s gone into this pub and sees the whole South Africa team, minus Kepler and Peter Kirsten, the not out batsmen, and they’re celebrating a Test win, so Brian plies them with rum until five o’clock in the morning – all of them are absolutely legless. Hansie Cronje, all them, they were absolutely loaded, they couldn’t function. I was fielding at bat-pad and could smell the alcohol. Once we got Kepler, Courtney and Curtly did the rest!”
Jimmy Adams on how Lara inspired West Indies’ win over South Africa at Bridgetown in 1992

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