In 2005, Aurum republished with success, J.L. Carr's miniature and classic "Dictionary of Extra-Ordinary Cricketers" - the book reprinted within a few months. Now, in its first collaboration with John Wisden & Co., publishers of the celebrated annual "Wisden Cricketers' Almanack", it publishes a similarly eccentric gallery of quixotic and eccentric cricketers, edited by acclaimed cricket writer Gideon Haigh. But where readers of J.L. Carr were never quite sure whether the author had somehow embellished - or even completely invented - the facts about the cricketers he anthologised, the esoteric details and mad whimsies recorded in these obituaries are exactly as they appeared in the august pages of the Almanack itself. Thus, we read of Anthony Ainley, who besides a claim to fame of playing the Master in "Dr. Who", opened the batting clad in "sunblock, helmet and swimming goggles" and always took his teas alone in his car, "possibly because he despised cheeses of all kinds"." There is the Rev. Reginald Heber Ross, whose two first-class cricket appearances were separated by a record 32 years.
And there is the much-lamented loss of Peter the Cat, who frequented the pavilion at Lord's for many years. He gets his own obituary.
Gideon Haigh is the author of Ashes 2005, Mystery Spinner, Game for Anything, Many a Slip and The Big Ship, all published by Aurum. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.