Managing editor Matt Thacker introduces the Summer 2021 issue…
I’m sitting at The Oval waiting for the start of the Surrey against Middlesex County Championship match. 4,000 spectators will be allowed into the ground, the sun will break through the clouds for a few minutes, there will be a smattering of applause as Hashim Amla eases Tim Murtagh through the covers, and everything will be a little bit righter with the world.
It’s been a long and lonely time for everyone. We’re re-learning how to talk to each other, how to be near each other, and we will hopefully be able to take some of the good things the pandemic has taught us – a renewed appreciation of our local communities, the knowledge that less travel (and therefore less environmental damage) is possible and even preferable – and integrate them into our daily lives.
In this issue, we’ve got a Wisden thing going on. First up, we feature the winner of the Almanack’s annual writing competition, but we’re also publishing six stories that the judging team commended. It’s great to have these first-time writers in the Nightwatchman, so we’ll be repeating this exercise annually.
And then we’ve got a piece from Jon Hotten that blows the whole Wisden origin story apart. It’s scandal and subterfuge in a very understated nineteenth century way, and it is absolutely fascinating.
We also give a nod to New Zealand’s arrival on these shores for their series against England (a mere warm-up for their battle royal with India where the winner will be crowned, well, whatever it is that they will be crowned) by asking Dylan Cleaver to delve a bit deeper into the character of Ross Taylor, who – in that archetypal Kiwi way – must be among the most underrated cricketers on the planet.
And, as usual, there’s plenty more besides. This quarter’s highlights include Sourav Ganguly, Adam and Eve, detectives impersonating cricketers in 1930s London, a first-class spell of 8 for 0, all of Chris Martin’s boundaries written about at greater length than even Chris Martin would have thought possible, and an important piece on social media and women cricketers from Isabelle Westbury. And that’s not the half of it. We hope you enjoy the issue.
As ever, if you would like to write for us or just let us know what you think about the Nightwatchman, good or bad, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. We read every submission (but promise nothing) that fulfils our criteria: that articles should touch on cricket (however tangentially) and are original, well written and thought-provoking.