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Started by DugDug on May 4, 2011 4:33:11 PM
Cricket Books

Share and discuss your cricket reading here.

DugDug - 04 May 2011 16:34:12 (#1 of 286)

OK, and I'll kick things off by asking: has anyone read 'Bodyline the novel' by Paul Wheeler. It's been sitting on my shelves for a long time and I'm thinking of starting it.

LordofMisrule - 05 May 2011 23:18:38 (#2 of 286)

Was that the source for the (in)famous 1980s miniseries?

DugDug - 11 May 2011 20:30:01 (#3 of 286)

No, I think there was another book called 'Bodyline' by a Mr Sissons.

Bromio - 11 May 2011 20:41:12 (#4 of 286)

Any novel with "The Novel" included in the title is probably best avoided.

Bromio - 11 May 2011 20:43:04 (#5 of 286)

This, on the other hand, is great entertainment:

invicta - 11 May 2011 20:44:58 (#6 of 286)

I believe "Bodyline Autopsy" is a better book on that subject.

dawesome - 11 May 2011 22:36:14 (#7 of 286)

Penguins stopped play is indeed a good read. Great attitude to cricket.

DugDug - 08 Jun 2011 00:05:46 (#8 of 286)

Just finished W.G's Birthday Party by David Kynaston. One of the very best I've read - a wonderful social history centred around the 1898 Gentlemen V Players match at Lords. (And WG's 50th birthday)

BlankChank - 10 Jun 2011 10:36:29 (#9 of 286)

Finally got round to Netherland and discovered it was a pile of crap despite the fact that Jeremy Paxman likes it.

On the other hand I've recently inherited a collection of biogs/autobiogs of famous Yorkshire cricketers. Good: Arlott on Truman. Moving: The Hedley Verity story. Best parody of 'Ah speak as ah find' no-nonsense Yorkshire Pudding: I Don't Bruise Easily by Brian Close. He doesn't bruise easily, but he whines about decisions taken by Yorkshire committee men half a century ago at the drop of a hat.

dru2107 - 10 Jun 2011 11:18:27 (#10 of 286)

I recently read “500-1: The Miracle of Headingley ‘81” by Rob Steen and Alastair McLellan. It’s pretty good: Steen and McLellan’s style is occasionally a bit overwrought – they could do with trying a bit less hard – but I liked the device of describing the five days of the match as it happened, free of hindsight. Still sends a shiver down the spine.

BlankChank - 10 Jun 2011 11:57:42 (#11 of 286)

'they could do with trying a bit less hard – but I liked the device of describing the five days of the match as it happened, free of hindsight.'

I must read this, if only to see whether it covers the fight on the western terrace (during a rainbreak on day one) between the man in the Lincolnshire Bean Growers baseball cap and the man behind him who shouted 'siddarn, yer bean-growin' bastard!' after our farmer friend had taken the umpteenth opportunity to advise Graham Dilley on line and length.

I still can't believe that that I was at the most historic test ever, and that was my personal highlight (oh, and one of their openers ground out an impossibly dull century).

spirali - 18 Jun 2011 21:00:48 (#12 of 286)

"one of their openers"

John Dyson. His only Test innings of any note, iirc. Getting a hundred on that pitch was quite an achievement though.

"'siddarn, yer bean-growin' bastard!'"

Fantastic- a stone cold classic. Your story deserves to become part of the Headingley '81 mythos.

BlankChank - 20 Jun 2011 07:46:06 (#13 of 286)

I haven't been to Headingley for years and it may have all calmed down a bit now, but it used to get quite lively in the cheap seats.

dawesome - 20 Jun 2011 09:13:28 (#14 of 286)

"'siddarn, yer bean-growin' bastard!'"

Fantastic- a stone cold classic. Your story deserves to become part of the Headingley '81 mythos.

I think there's a whole book to be written on comments from the crowd. One of my favourites was at Old Trafford in a Lancashire vs Kent match. Kent were going rather slowly and then lost a wicket. A certain Chris Tavare strode out, whereupon one of the members near me said "Ee, bloody 'ell, rigor mortis is setin' in now!"

BlankChank - 20 Jun 2011 10:53:56 (#15 of 286)

It is always said that Tavare was a much more swash-buckling player when unshackled from England Test duty. This may be true I suppose, but I've always filed it alongside the claim that Neil Kinnock was a razor-sharp raconteur in a small-group setting.

Tavare looked an awful lot like the keyboard player from Sparks as well.

DugDug - 22 Jun 2011 13:23:43 (#16 of 286)

Tavare was a major weapon for England. He made many an Australian supporter lose the will to live.

BlankChank - 22 Jun 2011 16:31:58 (#17 of 286)

I'm just about old enough to remember that generation of Australian 'grinders' before the Mark Taylor revolution. Dyson, Graeme Wood, Andrew Hilditch, Graeme Yallop. These were not players whose appearance at the crease quickened the blood.

These days, Boycott has assumed a pantomime villain status as a uniquely slow bat, but its important to remember that every side at one point had at least one player whose entire modus operandi was to dribble the ball out to extra-cover with soft hands whilst shouting a magisterial 'No!' to their batting partner, just in case they were stupid enough to attempt an easy single.

bigdave82 - 24 Jun 2011 11:25:12 (#18 of 286)

I read the book of the Guardian OBO coverage of the most recent Ashes. Not bad at all

dru2107 - 26 Jul 2011 14:07:53 (#19 of 286)

Not a book, but this seems as good a place as any …

Some time ago on the old site, somebody (possibly spirali) mentioned a DVD called “Gentleman Cricketer: The Films of Hopper Read”, being excerpts from films of club, county and international cricket in the 1930s shot by Read, an amateur fast bowler for Essex, intercut with an interview with Read done by C M-J. Well, I finally acquired a copy of this (it is available for a fiver in the MCC Museum at Lord’s, nowhere else at all, not in the shops and certainly not on line, no sir, as the man in the museum said to me with evident pride) and can only say that it is utterly mesmerising. There are glimpses of true greats (Hobbs, Hammond, Larwood, Tate) alongside the merely excellent (Voce, Leyland, Farnes, Parker, Goddard), and almost-forgotten county stalwarts. Settings vary from Englefield Green, where Read played club cricket after retiring from the first class game, via Colchester, Southend and Gloucester, to the Oval and the SCG, where Read played as part of a largely amateur MCC side that was sent on a post-Bodyline “goodwill tour” to Australia – first I’d heard of that, I have to say.

The best bit of all is a “DVD Extra” consisting of more than an hour of the Read film archive, uninterrupted, silent, without commentary or captions. A cricket anorak’s paradise.

I thought at first that the batsmen in the films all seemed stiff-legged and awkward, then realised that they were staying still in the crease and playing the ball very late, with little foot movement. No trigger movements back then, it seems. I noticed something a little bit similar in the batting of MS Dhoni the other day. The bowlers tend have a variety of flailing, windmilling, heel-clicking and jerky actions, extraneous effort going in all directions – apart from Larwood, of course, and Read himself, who looks very impressive and for a season or two seems to have been seriously feared on the county circuit.

Brilliant stuff, very highly recommended. The MCC Museum’s other otherwise unobtainable archive DVDs, one of Hutton’s tours to WI and Aus, and one of England in South Africa in the 1950s, remain on my “to watch” shelf.

spirali - 29 Jul 2011 22:57:03 (#20 of 286)

Yes dru, that was me, and you know what, I still haven't watched it- it was a present for the old man, I must borrow it back at some point.

The other DVDs sound fascinating too.

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