Cricket books

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Bareth Garry

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Jan 20, 2014
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There's lots of them out there and for me cricket is the only sport I enjoy reading books about. I think it was Michael Holding who described cricket as a microcosm of life and it's something I think is spot on. It's a game that is extremely demanding on technical correctness and skill and yet that is still secondary to adapting to challenges and mental pressure that comes with it. It's a team sport but every individual has to stand up for themselves or be exposed as not good enough very quickly to the public eye. There is no hiding or carrying passengers. It makes for great sport but also the camaraderie of being in a dressing room during high times and anguish during low times off the field makes for great drama and is something I enjoy reading about. So with that said what are your recommendations for cricket books.

I've just completed this book which I would recommend. It's extremely well researched both on the history of the sport leading up to the war, biographical details of players and teams of the time - some who were big names or who became big names later in life. Many who have been lost in time and the awful tragedy that came with the war and its impact on life and the sport specifically which was never the same again.



Next up I've got the new biography on the legendary Neil Harvey which I am going to start when the Ashes is underway. It was written by Ashley Mallett, one of Australia's great spin bowlers, who sadly passed away last month.

 

Coops93

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Steve Smiths Men was a very good read.

Captured the culture of CA, not just the team, of the time and you're really able to see the creep in behaviour that was pushed and encouraged that lead to sandpaper gate.

Towards the end I felt for the players in the situation really brought about because of CAs culture more than anything.

Doesn't forgive them for doing it but does show you how it got to that point. Something was going to break eventually regardless of whether that incident was caught out or not.
 

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010203

Norm Smith Medallist
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''Bodyline Autopsy'' is splendidly researched and written by David Frith. I'm currently enjoying Greg Chappell's book ''Not Out''. Has anybody read ''Bradman vs Bodyline'' by Roland Perry?
 
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Adelaide Hawk

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I've just moved into a new apartment and trying to put my books, DVDs and CDs in some sort of order ..... I never realised how many cricket books I've accumulated over the years.

Just finished reading a book titled "Bradman v Bodyline" by Roland Perry. At first I thought, "Not another bloody book about Bodyline, it's been done to death", but I bought it anyway and found it rather enjoyable.

Perry looks at Bodyline in a different way by looking at the protagonists in chronological order, Arthur Carr, Douglas Jardine, Harold Larwood and Don Bradman. He doesn't apportion blame, he simply analyzes events of the time and leaves you to make up your own mind.

The one part that interested me was, this was based on many interviews through his access to Bradman, and it was refreshingly honest. We've all read about Bradman adopting an unorthodox method of counteracting Bodyline, but admits to Woodfull being very annoyed by Bradman's approach, pleading with him to bat more responsibly, but Bradman refused.

Very interesting read.
 

Adelaide Hawk

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'Bodyline the Autopsy' is splendidly researched and written by David Frith. I'm currently enjoying Greg Chappell's book 'Not Out'. Has anybody read 'Bradman vs Bodyline' by Roland Perry?
See above :)

And yes, "Bodyline Autopsy" by David Frith is an excellent read.
 

Adelaide Hawk

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Most of Gideon Haighs stuff is well worth a read as well.
I particularly liked his first cricket book, "The Cricket War", which covers the events of the introduction of World Series Cricket, and the other one I like is "The Summer Game" which covers Australian cricket between the years of 1949-1971, a period where very little had been written about previously.
 

Bareth Garry

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Duncan Hamilton's biography on Harold Larwood that came out about a decade ago is a very good book on the other key figure of the Bodyline series. Good insight into a real working class cricketer at a time when the English class system and its prevalence among cricket authorities was very powerful. He was made a scapegoat and never played for England again and in his retirement relocated to live in Australia where he was welcomed and respected a lot more than in his own country.
 

Richard Pryor

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Duncan Hamilton's biography on Harold Larwood that came out about a decade ago is a very good book on the other key figure of the Bodyline series. Good insight into a real working class cricketer at a time when the English class system and its prevalence among cricket authorities was very powerful. He was made a scapegoat and never played for England again and in his retirement relocated to live in Australia where he was welcomed and respected a lot more than in his own country.
It's a crying shame that Larwood started getting hatemail after the heavily dramatized (to the point of dishonesty) Bodyline tv miniseries came out.
 

The Passenger

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Towards the end I felt for the players in the situation really brought about because of CAs culture more than anything.
James Sutherland is responsible for that. He's the head of an environment where making money is the only priority, and whilst that is important in professional sport it's came at the expense of grassroots cricket.

He took over as CEO is in 2001 and the game was in a significantly worse state when he passed on the baton after the sandpaper tour, and not just because of the debacle that tour became - it was long trending in that direction.

It's fair enough to say the performance of the national team couldn't be sustained from that period, but they have drifted between good, very poor and everything in between, with a few highlights often papering over many cracks - 13/14 Ashes, 15 World Cup for instance. The consistency of performance has been nowhere what should be expected in this country.

And if you dig deeper into grassroots cricket it's in a really poor state. Participation rates are right down. I haven't been in Oz for a couple of years now but when I was last back I went to a couple of NSW Premier Cricket games and most of the guys playing first grade would have been no better than decent second graders back around the turn of the century.

Go even deeper into suburban and park cricket and many competitions are basically on life support. For example, The Moore Park and South Eastern Cricket Association in Sydney in 2017/18 had 22 teams in 3 grades after absorbing a handful of teams from Baulkham Hills and Castle Hill (which are about an hours drive away). The same competition in 2005/06 had 6 grades with anywhere between 6 and 10 teams that were entirely local teams (those Baulkham Hills and Castle Hill teams playing in their own competition, which is now defunct). This situation is repeated the country all over.
 

Adelaide Hawk

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It's a crying shame that Larwood started getting hatemail after the heavily dramatized (to the point of dishonesty) Bodyline tv miniseries came out.
There was so much bullshit in that miniseries it was cringeworthy. I don't know what it is about TV people, they have this neurotic compulsion to distort stories almost to the point of fiction. It's all about good TV, not relating facts. To the historically minded viewer, it was excruciating, even the part where they had a Yamaha piano in an Australian restaurant, and Australia didn't trade with Japan until after World War II.

Most of the dismissals were bogus, I don't know why they couldn't just make a little extra effort. Oh, and that comment about "Leave our flies alone" was apparently from the 1928-29 series, not Bodyline. And you are correct, had they told the story properly, Larwood wouldn't have come out the villain as the miniseries suggested.
 

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sdfc

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I pretty much wore out the book of Aussie test cricket when I was a kid. Had a summary of every test played in Australia until about 1980. Unfortunately I lost it somewhere along the way. Have since picked up the sister book of overseas tests.
 

Tugga27

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Does he talk much about his season with East Torrens in 1974-75? Not a great year for him and he returned to WA the following year.
He didn't write the book.
From what I remember it was mostly about his WA and Australian playing says.

He didn't help himself but he was terribly treated Marsh and Lillee after WSC finished.
 

Silly Mid On

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I recently purchased a hardback 'picture' book titled "Remarkable Cricket Grounds" by Brian Levison.

He's scoured the Cricket playing world for some pretty amazing Grounds - from the classic Test Match Grounds to some pretty Remarkable village and country cricket grounds around the world (eg, Village Grounds in England with castles as backdrops, and there is even a cricket 'ground' in Switzerland which is a frozen lake - they only play on it in winter).

The book has some beautiful images and whole page spreads, but also gives a commentary on each ground and some of its quirks.

Highly recommend it as a book for the coffee table
 

Torz

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I recently purchased a hardback 'picture' book titled "Remarkable Cricket Grounds" by Brian Levison.

He's scoured the Cricket playing world for some pretty amazing Grounds - from the classic Test Match Grounds to some pretty Remarkable village and country cricket grounds around the world (eg, Village Grounds in England with castles as backdrops, and there is even a cricket 'ground' in Switzerland which is a frozen lake - they only play on it in winter).

The book has some beautiful images and whole page spreads, but also gives a commentary on each ground and some of its quirks.

Highly recommend it as a book for the coffee table
Love this book.
 

Trojan90

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I’m not much of a reader but keen to read a book called “Hitting Against the Spin”. I saw it promoted during a lunch break in the English summer. Written by a cricket data analyst Nathan Leamon. It’s the story of the data and what it can tell us about how cricket really works.

In fact I’m going to buy it now, will share my thoughts.
 

Plugger35

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The book on Kim Hughes, Golden Boy is an excellent read.
One of the best cricket books I've ever read and I've read a heap of them, quite disgraceful how Kim Hughes was treated by some of the senior players in the Australian team back then, not just Lillee and Marsh but Greg Chappell too who was happy to be captain for the easier home test series while letting Hughes captain the tougher overseas test series. Ian Chappell did him no favours either by bagging him as captain while praising his brother.

Kim has said he doesn't hold any grudges from that time which is a credit to him but I don't think I'd be so gracious if I copped the treatment he did.
 

Richard Pryor

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One of the best cricket books I've ever read and I've read a heap of them, quite disgraceful how Kim Hughes was treated by some of the senior players in the Australian team back then, not just Lillee and Marsh but Greg Chappell too who was happy to be captain for the easier home test series while letting Hughes captain the tougher overseas test series. Ian Chappell did him no favours either by bagging him as captain while praising his brother.

Kim has said he doesn't hold any grudges from that time which is a credit to him but I don't think I'd be so gracious if I copped the treatment he did.
The weirdest thing is that Rod Marsh at least comes across as a villainous d-bag even in his own words. He didn't agree to participate in Golden Boy but in his book "Gloves of Irony" he's absolutely venomous in shitting on Hughes in a way that makes him seem like he has a super personal vendetta without ever really justifying why he hates him so much. There's one part where he talks about Len Pascoe going for Hughes in a match, Hughes playing him easily, and Pascoe then bowling a beamer at him since he was playing the bouncers too well, and Marsh paints the story as though Hughes was somehow in the wrong for no apparent reason. Very weird read, you'd think Hughes had slept with his wife or something.
 

Bareth Garry

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Jan 20, 2014
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I'm guessing there must have been some resentment in that dressing room that Kim was captain. Some of the players of that era still like to play up the tough guy image that they had in the 70s now they are coming up to their 70s. Kim on the other hand has always been known as one of the game's nice guys and with the bat was a kind of strokeplayer who was never on edge.
 

gordo2016

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Aug 13, 2017
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Found Sachin Tendulkars autobiography "Playing it my way" to be quite a uninspiring, boring read. Was really hoping it would give a great insight into his mind but it failed to do it for me. Glossed over controversial incidents like he didn't want to talk about it, which is what I wanted to read about rather than what movies he liked or what food he ate. Also the way it was written, seemed liked he was never wrong once in his life. I love Sachin, but would have liked to have read about times he made some mistakes, rather than just his success.
 
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