All are deserving recipients, clearly. It is pleasing that a county player, Mark Ramprakash, is included after none were last year. Ramprakash batted extraordinarily, single-mindedly hitting 2000 runs at an average of over 100. Even allowing for this being in the Second Division, this is surely deserving of recognition.
However, given that the award is based predominantly on exploits during the English season, it appears a little unfair that Ian Bell, scorer of three consecutive Test hundreds against Pakistan, has been ignored, while Paul Collingwood is included. Ultimately, Editor Matthew Engel felt Collingwood, succeeding in Test cricket after finally getting a chance, had to be recognised while, in all probability, Bell's time will come again. Bell, however, should be outraged at not being included in 'The Wisden Forty'; he scored three hundreds and four fifties in 10 Tests in 2006, while also establishing himself in the ODI side. But it is nice to see Darren Lehmann included in the aforementioned list.
The Leading Cricketer in the Year award goes not to Yousuf, who scored more runs in a calendar year than anyone has ever done, but to Muttiah Muralitharan. Murali took 74 wickets (excluding Bangladesh) from nine Tests at 16, including a phenonemal 8-70 to tie the Test series in England. Yousuf scored 1788 runs at 99, scoring no fewer than nine hundreds. Which is the greater? In a batsmen-dominated world, perhaps Murali, by a whisker.
Wisden, needless to say, is fantastic as always, with the backlog of Leading Cricketers in the World particularly intriguing. While the almanac has invariably tempted readers to waste many an hour with its vast swathes of statistics, the writing - both the quality and quantity of it - has risen markedly in the past decade.