SPORTS BOOK OF THE WEEK
The Cricketers' Who's Who 2012, edited by Jo HarmanPublished by: Pitch Publishing on behalf of All Out Cricket
What's it about?
As those who would damage the beloved County Championship know all too well, if there is one thing to which cricket followers do not take kindly it is change, in particular unnecessary change.
Outrage, therefore, greeted the 2011 edition of the Cricketers' Who's Who, which is not an institution of Wisden magnitude but has nonetheless been around now for 33 years.
Consternation arose largely from the disappearance of the personal information and opinions that added colour to the player profiles and gave the Who's Who its unique selling point. This was forced in part by circumstance, with a change of publisher during the close season disrupting the normal process of gathering in forms filled in by the players themselves.
These gems of trivia were replaced for each player by 'an objective view of their skills and characters' in the words of the Pitch Publishing editorial team.
Happily, fears that the more earnest, worthy tone was the shape of things to come have been allayed. The 2012 edition has been restored, more or less, to its former glory.
'We invited comment, we listened to it, we weighed it up, and we have reacted," wrote the editor, Jo Harman, in his introductory notes.
There has been a reaction, too, to complaints from some players about false information appearing in past Who's Who editions, sometimes to their embarrassment. The paper forms players used to complete -- and which, inevitably, would be prime vehicles for dressing room mischief -- have given way to online surveys.
Hence we can hope that Jonathan Batty's assertion that he would be prime minister if he were not a cricketer is no less honest than Gareth Cross's that he would be a binman. And that Will Bragg's preferred reading is the Financial Times and James Taylor's favourite band is the Pussycat Dolls.
The editor adds a warning for cricket writers looking for a line on a slow day, however. "As with Wikipedia, approach with care..."
Jo Harman, former sports journalist at BSkyB, is web editor for the Professional Cricketers' Association's partner magazine All Out Cricket.
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