The driving force behind the creation of WCM was its first editor, David Frith, formerly an editor of its rival, The Cricketer. At first, it operated under the Wisden name using license from John Wisden & Co; Wisden later bought a controlling interest.
Frith's tenure saw two major controversies involving WCM. In 1987, Surrey banned an issue from the bookstalls at the Oval, because of the frontpage headline Bloodbath in Birmingham referring to the crowd trouble in the one day match between England and Pakistan. In the July 1995 issue, WCM published an article titled Is it in the blood by Robert Henderson, which questioned the commitment of foreign born players to English cricket. The cricketers' associations condemned the article while Phillip DeFreitas and Devon Malcolm filed defamation suits.
After 202 editions, David Frith gave way to Tim de Lisle after the issue in March 1996, and Stephen Fay took over from de Lisle after he moved to Wisden's online venture. The last issue, in September 2003, coincided with Stephen Fay's 65th birthday and his retirement.