Not too long ago it was known as the one of the most traditional cricket publications. But the Wisden annual now breaks one convention after the other every year, perhaps to keep moving with the fast-changing times. Last year, it featured a cricketer, Virat Kohli, for a second time (the original, yellow-jacketed Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack in its 155 editions has never featured any player a second time); this year, it has featured two women cricketers, both Indians, dismantling another tradition on its 2018 Wisden India Almanack. And this convention-breaking idea for the cover was not restricted to the Indian version, which features a delirious Sushma Verma and Shikha Pandey exchanging a high five in celebration of Australian Beth Mooney’s dismissal in the 2017 World Cup semi-finals. Its international edition, too, has a woman on cover—England pacer Anya Shrubsole, who captured a six-wicket haul to deny India a win in the tense final.
Although Indian women fumbled at the final hurdle, they had striven heroically enough to become stars in their own right. So, Sushma and Shikha were deservedly given the pride of place on the distinctive blue jacket. Wisden honoured another distinguished Indian team member, off-spinner Deepti Sharma, India’s top wicket-taker in the World Cup, in a different way. She was picked as one of the six cricketers by Wisden for her superb performance with the ball; the others being K.L. Rahul, Priyank Panchal, Hasan Ali of Pakistan, Bangladesh’s Tamin Iqbal and Englishman Ben Stokes.