Episode 2: Publication of Wisden 2020

Cricket authors (and obsessives) Peter Oborne and Richard Heller have launched a new podcast to help deprived listeners endure a world without cricket. They will chat regularly about cricket topics – hoping to keep a good line and length but with occasional wides into other subjects.

In their second podcast Peter Oborne and Richard Heller root for truffles in the rich soil of the new Wisden Cricketers Almanack.

Episode 2: Publication of Wisden 2020

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Oborne & Heller assess Wisden’s selection of the five cricketers of the year: Jofra Archer, Pat Cummins, Simon Harmer, Murnus Labuschagne and Ellyse Perry.

They praise the coverage of women’s cricket, and the retrospective obituary for one of its early pioneers, the redoubtable Frances (Max) Heron-Maxwell. But why not a retrospective Cricketer of the Year award to Rachel Heyhoe-Flint?

They hail the call by the Editor, Lawrence Booth, to correct the injustice of withdrawing Test status from the England series in 1970 against the Rest of the World – one of the best cricket teams of all time. But they argue that official Test status should be withdrawn from the white-only matches which apartheid South Africa played in the 1960s and early 1970s after South Africa left the Commonwealth.

And why did Wisden give such a long obituary to John Carlisle, the Right-Wing Tory MP who did nothing for cricket except support the rebel tours which defied sanctions and split the cricket world?

A far worthier obituary was that of Lord Bramall, former Chief of the Defence Staff, an accomplished cricketer coached in early life by Douglas Jardine. In his seventies he played a fine innings for the House of Lords against the House of Commons at the Oval, in a match overshadowed by the run-out of Jeffrey Archer – an event so terrible that Peter and Richard and other onlookers were sworn to silence. Will they keep their promise? Find out in the coming weeks.

They defend Henry Blofeld’s latest book against a savage attack from reviewer Alex Massie calling it ‘”idle and clichéd.” – but suspect that it will boost sales from Henry’s loyal fans.

They pick out much else in a review of a superb edition of Wisden, covering the greatest English season in living memory. It will give solace to its readers in a summer where cricket is suspended indefinitely. They promise to return to important things they missed – and apologize for doing a T20 review of a Wisden which deserves a timeless Test.

Get in contact with the podcast by emailing obornehellercricket@outlook.com, we’d love to hear from you!

Listen to more episodes of Oborne & Heller

Next episode – Episode 3: Unpacking more of this year’s Wisden

Previous Episode – Episode 1: A Preview of Wisden 2020

Listen to all episodes – Oborne & Heller on Cricket

Peter Oborne & Richard Heller

Peter Oborne has been the chief political commentator for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, a maker of several documentaries and written and broadcast for many different media. He is the author of a biography of Basil D’Oliveira and of Wounded Tiger, a history of Pakistan cricket, both of which won major awards.

Richard Heller was a long-serving humorous columnist on The Mail on Sunday and more briefly, on The Times. He worked in the movie business in the United States and the UK, including a brief engagement on a motion picture called Cycle Sluts Versus The Zombie Ghouls. He is the author of two cricket-themed novels A Tale of Ten Wickets and The Network. He appeared in two Mastermind finals: in the first his special subject was the life of Sir Gary Sobers.

Jointly, he and Peter produced White On Green, celebrating the drama of Pakistan cricket, including the true story of the team which lost a first-class match by an innings and 851 runs.

Peter and Richard have played cricket with and against each other for a variety of social sides, including Parliament’s team, the Lords and Commons, and in over twenty countries including India, Pakistan, the United States, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Australia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Morocco.

The Podcast was produced by Bridget Osborne and James Willcocks at The Chiswick Calendar.

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