Friday, 3 April 2009

Wisden taken over by SAfricans

Well, at least Neil McKenzie has something to be happy about. He accidently forwarded a text to me that he was supposed to send to only Mike Procter. It read: "Take that, bastard."

The 146th edition of the Wisden Almanack featured the well-known five Wisden Cricketers of the Year for the year 2008. 3 of them were South African. What is going on? The players, in no particular order:
  1. Neil McKenzie
  2. Mark Boucher
  3. James Anderson
  4. Claire Taylor
  5. Dale Benkenstein

Numbers 1, 2, and 5 are saffas. 3 and 4 are English. My favourite of the lot is Claire Taylor. She's been an important part of England's cricket team over the past few years, and was a key player in the last Ashes series (England won). She's actually the first female to be present in the list. Ever.

Neil McKenzie and Mark Boucher received the award for their efforts against England in 2008. I remember that series, when the English started seeing stars in their efforts to get McKenzie's wicket. Unfortunately for them, Neil had morphed into an uglier Dravid and decided to become a wall. The good old days for McKenzie. It feels like so long ago.

Here's what Boucher had to say about the award:

"Like all young boys I used to read the Cricketers of the Year in Wisden every year and be awe-struck - I can't quite believe I'm there now. But I'm equally pleased to be alongside Neil McKenzie. Most people don't realise what a complete package he is, both on and off the field, and how much he contributed to our success in 2008. It's fantastic for him to be honoured in this way."

Neil McKenzie is a "complete package" both on and off the field. Interesting thoughts there, Boucher. Very interesting. Perhaps he was misquoted and it was actually supposed to read "Most people don't realise what a complete package he has." That would explain a lot of things like the closeness and hugs. Why do the South African cricketers always seem to be hugging/being in awkward positions?

Say what you will about bromance, but some things are just not normal.

Neil McKenzie has also said that "being a part of Wisden is a great honour" and has also stated that he just "needs to make a few adjustments and then make sure I get the weight of runs required". Does anyone else feel as though he's being quickly forgotten? Cricket moves fast, and once you're off the bandwagon, it can be difficult to get back on.

By the way, Jacques Kallis has never gotten this award. Too busy eating chicken pasta, I suppose.


Stephen B said...

I think Jacques just had to settle for Wisden's, 'Leading Cricketer in the World' accolade last year. I suspect that the Chicken Pasta Almanac might award a similar gong this year.

Dave said...

As and added bonus, picking Claire Taylor will almost certainly have the MCC spluttering into their gin and tonics.

Amy said...

Jacques is their sole benefactor, you know. He receives the award every year, although he cleverly sends donations under different variations of his name to appear as several people, including: "Jack Callis", "Bestcrick Etter" and "Win Ner".

Amy said...

@Dave - And that would be the best thing of all.

12th Man said...

Neil Mckenzie should have been voted as the "Wisden most-dullest batsman to watch in this generation".

Neil Mckenzie's 2008 exploits includes a monumental double century or something against Bangladesh. That single Bangla tour contributed a shitload of runs to his' and Smith's yearly aggregate.

Boucher deserved it. For all of Boucher's achievements (leading number of test dismissals and a few SA WK records), I was surprised to note that he is only 32!

Benkenstein? Is that a consolation award given for playing the game and achieving nothing?

Is the Wisden almanack biased towards England and its colonies?

Amy said...

Well, towards England itself, I believe.

Graeme Smith regularly gets his high scores off the minnows. If you look at his batting average against other countries, it's not exactly spectacular. Neil McKenzie is a handy senior player to have on the field too.
Really, though, Neil's award was only based on his performance in England.

Benkenstein didn't even really deserve the award. I can think of many other players who did more than take a county team to the finals who would have been more worthy recipients of the award.

Alex said...

Benkenstein has helped Durham along quite a bit in the past few years but Player of the Year seems strange.

Amy said...

It is. haha.