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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Friday June 09 2006

We all know that the Big Media are scared of the Internet.  And there is no Medium which is Bigger, or which was Bigger, than Wisden, the annual cricket Bible.

But the trouble with Wisden, for someone like me, is that it contains too much, and to look at what I want to look at, I also have to own a mass of stuff about, you know, Baroda versus Holka, and a ton of other similar things, and I don’t want that.  I want to be able to zero in on my current questions or my generally favourite things, like England winning glorioiusly, or like this, which is the list of biggest first class stands for each wicket.  Things like, with apologies for my revised formatting, this:

Fourth: 577 - VS Hazare (288) and Gul Mohammad (319) - Baroda v Holkar - Baroda 1946-47

Which is a case where Baroda versus Holkar springs to life.  (Was it actually 1946 or 1947?) That’s the biggest stand ever in first class cricket, and the second biggest stand in first class cricket is the biggest in test cricket:

Second: 576 - ST Jayasuriya (340) and RS Mahanama (225) - Sri Lanka v India - Columbo 1997-1998

Which again seems to have taken them two years to do.  Ah well.  More to the point, I wonder if Jayasuriya and Mahanama knew how close they were to even greater glory.  And yes, that is the very same Jayasuriya who was inserted into the Sri Lanka side for the third test here in England this summer, which Sri Lanka won a few days ago, with Jayasuriya himself taking the final wicket of the match.  (Murali having taken eight of the previous nine, but that’s too painful to talk about.)

Anyway, back to that page of stand records.  The thing about this kind of page is that you really, really want it to be up to date, and up to date is something the Internet does really well.  For me, Wisden has quite lost its appeal.  I have a few, which I will probably keep.  But no new ones, by which I mean second hand ones of years I don’t have.

Wisden does have a website, of course.  But if you click on records, for things like the best stands for each wicket in first class cricket, you eventually get to here, i.e. the exact same page as the above Cricinfo one.  And if you look at the Wisden address, you’ll see that it starts with “cricinfo”.  Was Wisden actually taken over a year or two ago?  I vaguely recall something about that.  More like a merger, it would seem, or even a takeover of Cricinfo by Wisden.  But the real story here surely is that Wisden is migrating to the Internet, away from dead trees.  Cricinfo may have been “taken over”, but it showed Wisden the way forward.

Internet cricket stats all seem to be financed by betting, concerning which there is much angst generated by the angsting classes.  Although becoming an elder, I am not a better, but good for betting, I say.  What is the problem about money disappearing from the pockets of silly people into the pockets of sensible ones?  Such a trend is a definite plus for civilisation, I would say.