Playfair Cricket Annual 2007

Always interesting to see who appears on the front cover of the Playfair Cricket Annual. It’s a bit of a poisoned chalice, based upon a player’s form in the previous season. As such, they usually fail spectacularly in the next summer. This year’s victim is Ian Bell.

Expect one or all of the following: loss of form; chronic and/or career-threatening injury days before the opening Test; other chronic things; tabloid exposure (unlikely in this case) and/or does/has a Thorpe; dropped in place of Mark Butcher; dropped in place of Ashley Giles who is promoted to No.3 as reverse-pinch-hitter. Or, worst of all, he launches a book in an attempt to dethrone Jamie Oliver, entitled Cooking like the Shermanator.

It fails – he fails – and Frindall starts plotting the downfall of 2008′s incumbent.

Ian Bell on the front cover of the 2007 edition of the Playfair Cricket Annual

Pre-order it now for a puny £3.99 (released April 5 2007).

Playfair Cricket Annual 2006

This year’s Playfair, edited by Bill Frindall, was released today. £3.99 from Amazon – can’t be bad.

Talking of such matters, I’m soon to review his autobiography, Beaders, which goes on general release on June 1. You can preorder it now though.

Bill Frindall sticks his neck out on Harmison

Playfair Cricket Annual

I don’t know if non-British people reading this blog read Bill Frindall’s Playfair annual, but if not then you’ll almost certainly have heard his familiar, languid and slightly depressing voice on the radio. He is the statto’s king, and his Playfair annual is a genuine must-buy for all English fans. Small, pocket-sized & cheap – great for train journeys, and conspicuous enough to read it in public without being laughed at!

Anyway. His 2005 annual is available for pre-purchase (click on the cover above), and each year a different English player is featured on the cover. He spends (as far as I know), quite some time deliberating over who should be on it: I think the requirement is, in the main, “Who do I think will make the biggest single contribution on the summer’s international season?” Thing is, Frindall’s jinxed us and the player in question on numerous occasions. Thorpe, Ramprakash, Fraser and many more have all fallen foul of the Frindall-crystal-ball – and this year, Bill’s outdone himself by choosing none other than Stephen Harmison.

Frindall – what are you playing at? We all know England need Mr Harmison back to his lethal best – and, come on, he’s not exactly Beckham-esque in terms of loving the cameras. We will not forgive you if you are wrong. We will love you if you’re right.

Steve Harmison / Bill Frindall / Playfair Annual 2005