2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Englishness distilled, 26 Oct. 2012
Good read. Not prone to fits of nationalist pride I found myself feeling decidedly proud to be a twenty first century Briton as I got sucked into the this book's tales of the quiet dramas played out between very different kinds of cricketers every weekend on village greens. Previously only "cricket-curious" I'm now tempted to, if somewhat nervous about, playing a bit, or at least watching the odd test match with someone who knows this stuff better than me. I don't know if there's something particularly alienating about superstar footballers that has increasingly turned me off that game but there's something very touching in reading how much these village cricketers are in touch with test cricket and feel a kind of through line from that one rare beautiful shot they played (or dream about playing) and the trademark shot they see favourite international cricketers playing again and again. The author does a very good job of describing how it feels to face different kinds of bowling and what the shots feel like so you do actually get quite excited reading about each delivery as he describes it. There's definitely a real tension in the psychological battle between the bowler and the batsman which I wasn't aware of before because I didn't know the many options both players had open to them and how the psychological game can really grind either player down. There are lots of anecdotes of famous and infamous Test cricketing episodes and they're related in line with the author's philosophy on the game- be brave, be colourful but always play fair. It's unashamedly stirring stuff.
If you are interested in cricket and want to know a bit more about it, this is a really fun book. About a quarter of it is a glossary which is very useful but also very funny, with a touch of the Douglas Adams about many of the definitions. Instead of just referring to it when I needed to I actually switched back and forth between reading the main book and reading the glossary because the glossary was so funny.
I'm not sure I really want to get into the game as much as the author, who seems to have made his life a lot more complicated than I would like, but it's now definitely a sport I want to take an interest in.