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Thread: Cricket Books

  1. #26
    Satchmo Distel's Avatar
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    Two books on Packer: Gideon Haigh (favourable) and Henry Blofeld (1978, largely hostile). Both very well written.

    https://www.amazon.com/Cricket-War-G.../dp/0522854753

    https://www.amazon.com/Packer-Affair...blofeld+packer

    Blofeld was a better writer (at least in 1978) than CMJ or Benaud.

    Scyld Berry Cricket Odyssey on 1987-88 (World Cup followed by Shakoor Rana-Gatting bust-up) is very good indeed, but as it was written by a cricket journalist in the 80s, inevitably has some stereotypes, but not as bad as you'd get from many quarters at the time. Berry makes the excellent point that it was Gatting who falsely claimed the catch in 1982 that caused David Constant to raise his finger, which in turn made the Pakistanis feel that their false appealing was fair game. Chris Broad also gets a deserved slamming for his petulance. Peter Oborne's book obviously gives a less hostile depiction of Pakistani umpiring whilst recognizing that there was a military regime in charge applying pressure for results.

  2. #27
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    I've wanted to read that Gideon Haigh book on Packer for some time, Satch. The price is stopping me. I've read Howzat by Christopher Lee on the same, but found it disappointing tabloid fare.

  3. #28
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  4. #29
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    Birley's book gets sketchy after the 1960s and you have to get past his tutting about modern morals and commercialization, but he still unearths some gems such as an Asif Iqbal piece from 1982 on the hypocrisy of the English authorities towards the former colonies. Birley slams Botham and Gatting for the wrong reasons: essentially their uncouth class origins and loutish manners rather than their right-wing Little Englander politics and hostility towards Pakistan on grounds of cultural prejudice. He also makes errors, such as claiming Bairstow succeeded Boycott as Yorkshire captain when there were actually three in between. Finally, Birley's hostility to modern fast bowling is tiresome.

  5. #30

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    I'm reading the Tuffers' Cricket Tales book, keep thinking of putting it down but there are some decent things in there but 90% of it is juvenile behaviour.

    I would strongly recommend the 'Chasing Shadows-The Life and Death of Peter Roebuck' biography. A fascinating and thoroughly researched book that leaves many unanswered questions.

  6. #31
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    Tufnell's autobiography is an entertaining read, it covers most of his playing career and ends with him wondering if his England time is up when he doesn't get a central contract in the spring of 2000. He probably wishes it had been given how Australia carted him round the Oval the following summer. There is a certain juvenility to this book too, not much by way of self reflection or considered thoughts on the art of spin bowling but his turbulent private life and general ability to get into scrapes on and off the field keep the story moving. One of the general themes is of him growing up into domestic bliss, which is rather undermined when you remember he divorced his second wife pretty soon after the paperback edition was released.

  7. #32
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    I wonder if his fame these days is due to having been on telly rather than his achievements as a player, which were modest (compared to Swann, say).

    The Haigh Packer book truly is awesome. I thought I knew that period inside out but the book holds many surprises. Colored clothing arrived quite late on the scene. Night cricket was far more successful than the day stuff, and surprised Packer as much as anybody. A lot of the stuff we associate with Packer, such as helmets and colored clothing, did not happen until the second season.

    Parallel with today: almost all Test cricket outside England and Australia lost money, which is why WI and Pakistan caved so quickly. The administrators really were a bunch of farts and amateurs who make even our current lot look like geniuses by comparison.

    Lastly, 4 day Tests actually started with Packer but they were 7.5 hour playing days, with 1.30 start, 10pm finish, 30 mins tea, 1 hour dinner. Players understandably got knackered.

    Pitches were abysmal so the stats are a bit dubious, but we can assume that many 50s in those series were as good as 150s in a normal Test.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by longeared View Post
    Second the recommendation for Birley.

    I've recently read Golden Boy; Kim Hughes and the bad old days of Australian cricket by Christian Ryan. Learnt a lot about a player who I essentially knew as the bloke who cried when he resigned as captain. Very enjoyable, unless you're Ian Chappell, Rod Marsh or Dennis Lillee.
    Many thanks for this recommendation. The book is indeed awesome and uses interviews to show the complexity of all the antagonists. Hughes was a victim of Packer, really, which made Rod Marsh an unacceptable captain (for the board), made Greg Chappell too knackered and shell-shocked to take on the 1981 Ashes captaincy and tour, and accelerated the generational switch to Hughes before he was ready. Had there been no Packer, Chappell would probably have averted the two 1981 collapses, so there are some big counterfactuals to ponder.

    Lillee bouncing Hughes in the nets before the 1982-83 Ashes is a shocker; and I've always thought that Lillee bowled poorly to Botham and Dilley in that 1981 Headingley session, clearly his head wasn't right when Hughes was captaining him (but Hughes could not take him off because the Lillee ego was just too big).

    Brearley thinks Marsh should have captained in 1981 but Ryan throws in the big caveat that Marsh lost the one game when he was captain, from a winnable position v WI in 1981-82. However, there's no doubt that Hughes was tactically and motivationally a poor captain and that it affected his batting.
    Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 01-01-2018 at 16:03.

  9. #34
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    Bob Willis, Cricket Revolution, 1981, contains some very unsavoury statements. The "negro" has a natural advantage in developing into a fast bowler; a couple of supposedly anti-white gestures he received in West Indies are morally equivalent to apartheid; he thinks South Africa should be readmitted because they have made a few cosmetic changes to black access to cricket facilities, although he admits that whites have big funding advantages in schools cricket.

    Willis hits a Pakistan batsman on the head and breaks McCosker's jaw, but it is only Lillee, Thommo and the Windies who are guilty of intimidation. Only Windies fast bowlers take too long to bowl their overs.

    BBC's Pat Murphy collaborated on this crap. What the fuck was he thinking?

  10. #35

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    From what I've heard he's Pat Murphy and is full of that kind of shite.

  11. #36
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    Yet oddly, "Murphy was an enthusiastic supporter of the Stop the Tour movement in 1970 which forced the cancellation of South Africa’s tour of England and became a catalyst for change in the republic."

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2003/jan/15/bbc.radio

    But still his put his name to this racist shite from Willis:

    "There is obviously something about the negro body that makes fast bowling an easier job than it is for other races.." (p.19).

    "I have experienced anti-white treatment in places like Guyana and Jamaica that is as strong as anything expressed by a hard-nosed Africaaner. But nobody ever suggests that the West Indies...should be banned from Test cricket!" (p.114)
    Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 06-01-2018 at 13:39.

  12. #37
    It does jar a bit, Murphy has always seemed a bit more modern in his politics than most of the cricket establishment. I don't know whether he was less in a position to say "no" to the work 35 years ago. Or possibly he was moderating what Willis actually wanted to say.

    The attitudes that Willis expresses towards race and South Africa seem to be have been widespread at the time amongst the cricket community, if not quite universal.

  13. #38
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    Yes, even Ian Chappell was pro-readmission for South Africa, although I think he later recanted (and is today commendably anti-racist).

    One slight mitigator (though not much) is that Chappelli and Willis were not being paid their worth by the national boards.

  14. #39
    I'd never have guessed Murphy as having worked on that book. Sounds more like EM Wellings.

  15. #40
    One more from Haigh to read- Mystery Spinner, about Jack Iverson, who popped up in test matches with an unreadable action, ran amok, then quickly faded back into working for his family's business.

  16. #41
    Following a tip from Birley (it wasn't what you could call a recommendation) I read Don Mosey's book on Botham from the mid 80s. Lots of it was interesting, but some laugh out loud bits where, if I understood correctly, Mosey reckoned Botham was responsible for people taking "drugs".

  17. #42
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    Gubby Allen wrote this on aborigines during his 1936-37 tour of Australia:

    “They really are a ghastly sight and the sooner they die out the better.”
    From this excellent book chapter by Rob Steen on the D'Oliveira affair:

    http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/11000/...%20%281%29.pdf

    Another person who was on the MCC Committee in 1968, Arthur Gilligan, had been a fascist:

    https://britishfascisti.blogspot.com...shes-tour.html
    Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 14-01-2018 at 00:28.

  18. #43
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    I remember my school library had a copy of Brian Close's autobiography 'Close to Cricket'. I used to sneak a read of some sections when I was bored (don't know why I thought I had to sneak-read it, though - it was in the school library so it was legitimate reading material), though I'd only heard of Close because of his very late recall in the mid-70s (aged 45?). There was a section in there where he gives an account of confronting a spectator who'd called out some denigratory remark to him - superficially civilised, but bristling with aggression. Can't recall the exact details, but that's the only bit that's stayed with me 40 years later. Anyone else read this properly?

  19. #44
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    I owned I Don't Bruise Easily from a decade later. It is a very bitter book, with a particularly ludicrous chapter about how England "could have beaten West Indies" in 1976.

  20. #45
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    This book is great on Yorkshire generally
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/War-White-R...+cricket+books

    Two books I have not yet read - Duncan Hamilton on Bairstow junior and Stephen Chalke on Geoff Cope, whom I associate with chucking.

  21. #46
    That is a good book. Amazing it took so long for the story to be told objectively.

    Illingworth's book on the subject is quite something. He was really pissed off with Botham.

    Illy probably still thinks Neil Hartley was an appropriate Yorkshire captain.

  22. #47

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    Noticed today that the sex shop next to Southport station has closed. The reason I mention it here is that I believe it was the only establishment of its type to appear in the pages of Wisden. This came about after the shop agreed a sponsorship deal with the local Fleetwood Hesketh cricket club, which was subsequently vetoed by the Liverpool Cricket Competition. The dispute made the pages of a number of national newspapers, and subsequently the press cuttings section of the following years Wisden.

  23. #48
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    Richie Benaud's 'On Reflection' (1985) is another book with a chapter bemoaning South Africa's exclusion - "they've done enough to get back in".

    I thought Australian journalist Mike Coward's books might be good but unfortunately they are really badly written hack jobs. Ashley Mallett's book on Ian Chappell is pretty good, at least in getting some frank quotes.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by imp View Post
    I remember my school library had a copy of Brian Close's autobiography 'Close to Cricket'. I used to sneak a read of some sections when I was bored (don't know why I thought I had to sneak-read it, though - it was in the school library so it was legitimate reading material), though I'd only heard of Close because of his very late recall in the mid-70s (aged 45?). There was a section in there where he gives an account of confronting a spectator who'd called out some denigratory remark to him - superficially civilised, but bristling with aggression. Can't recall the exact details, but that's the only bit that's stayed with me 40 years later. Anyone else read this properly?
    Ian, was it this incident?:

    Close continued to bring England success in 1967, when he captained them to three victories against India, and two out of three (with one match drawn) against Pakistan. The selectors, however, always harboured doubts about Close’s rough ways, and in particular worried about allowing him to take charge of the potentially explosive tour to the West Indies in 1967-68. And if they wanted excuses to dismiss him, Close duly obliged.

    Just before the last Test against Pakistan, he was accused of deliberately adopting time-wasting tactics to enable Yorkshire to draw against Warwickshire. In addition The People charged him with having seized and angrily shaken a spectator in the members’ enclosure at Edgbaston.

    Close denied the shaking, and remained unrepentant about time-wasting. The authorities at Lord’s, however, were unimpressed, and he was severely censured.

    Shortly afterwards it was announced that Close would not be leading England in the West Indies. This was a shattering blow. “I may not bruise easily,” he wrote years later, “but I do bleed. It was all so bloody, horribly unfair.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obit...-obituary.html

  25. #50
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    That was the one, I'm pretty sure. And he described it very differently. More like (if I remember correctly all these decades later), "I just went over for a reasonable chat with the fellow to find out why he'd heckled me." As you do.

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