Wisden Schools Cricketer of the Year – a retrospective

We are privileged to add supplementary details to the schools section in this year’s Wisden (2021 edition). We’d strongly urge you to read the printed version first before looking at this detail. In that way, these figures may be seen in perspective. Note: if viewed on an Apple device (eg iPad or iPhone), tabs etc – see below –  may possibly be at the top, not the bottom).

This was a collaboration by four of us, with the Editor making the final decision. Douglas Henderson chose the winners from 1945 to the present day; Steven Lynch chose the winners 1900 to 1944; Christopher Lane looked carefully at our conclusions and made a great many valuable suggestions, and he also compiled the all-time records; Robert Winder also made some useful observations and wrote the commentary in Wisden.

Wisden Schools Cricketers of the Year MASTER sheet

(but see below first)

You need to click on the tabs at the bottom for various different sheets, arranged by decades.

This shows the short list for both batting and bowling. On the left side is batting, on the right bowling, and in the middle is our final choice. The names are based largely on the figures in Wisden; they were sometimes altered during lengthy discussions.

The figures shown are as usual for both batting and bowling but there is an extra column (shaded) which needs explanation. For batting, this is the number of runs scored divided by ALL innings, not just those where the batsman was dismissed (the traditional method). This is because the traditional average, though important, may conceal the fact that two batsmen, say, scored a similar number of runs in the season but one may have played significantly more innings than the other.

Similarly in bowling, it was quite common before recent restrictions (such as in overs games or for safety reasons) that a bowler could bowl possibly unchanged throughout an innings, and frequently did if he was good enough. Thus, as with the batting, two bowlers may both have taken a similar number of wickets but one bowled significantly more overs than the other. The final column (shaded) is thus the number of wickets per overs bowled.

All-rounders: to qualify as an all-rounder here, a player  who features in the batting list must also have taken 20+ wickets; bowlers need to have also scored 200+ runs. A summary of these performances appears in brackets, though there are many occasions (especially in the earliest decades) where a player appears in both lists.

1900 – 1944

(added to the MASTER sheet above)

This is a Word document compiled By Steven Lynch and is in a different format (in every sense) from the spreadsheet. However, the key names and figures are incorporated into the MASTER sheet (above).

Analysis of the records

(click on the tabs at the bottom)

All-time records

(not confined to the winners; click on the tabs at the bottom)

These last two were compiled by Christopher Lane and need little explanation.

Schools Cricket Online