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4.3 out of 5 stars43
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 13 July 2009
I used to be a TV cricket widow until 2005 - I loved every word of this book - the history bits - the funny bits and finished it just in time for the Ashes so I am now giving bits of info to my cricket mad other half - what a way to spend retirement - watching cricket on TV and reading cricket books - but this was certainly the best. His sense of humour is a delight.
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on 10 June 2009
This is an outstanding book, perhaps his best yet - a bit like his bowling ; pacy, incisive, slightly unpredictable and mostly pretty accurate. It's also funny ( a characteristic which Viv Richards might say his bowling also shared). Any cricket-lover is bound to enjoy it - make a good birthday or Christmas present !
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on 8 July 2009
What a gem of a book.For any cricket lovers, a good cricket book is a must- & this one is one of the best that i`ve ever read. Superbly written, very funny in parts, (more than once i was told off by work collegues for laughing out loud,non cricket lovers-heathens!)Was`nt a bad bowler in his day, but a helluva writer,so if you looking for a good, funny read, do yourself a favour & buy this book, you wont be dissapointed
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I eventually enjoyed this book very much. I have a lot of respect for Simon Hughes's knowledge of the game and have enjoyed his previous books. He can write very well, and when he does he is interesting, insightful and amusing - as he is pretty consistently in the latter two thirds of this book

The problem came for me in the first hundred or so pages which are liberally sprinkled (in fact I would say seriously infested) with silliness which isn't nearly as funny as it thinks it is. Here's a random sample of an interesting little nugget, ruined for me by the subsequent "joke" complete with exclamation mark: "C. B. Fry also developed a fascination with the Nazis and once spent an hour chatting to Hitler, trying, and failing, to persuade him to form a cricket team. He spent so long explaining the lbw law it drove Germany into invading Poland. The Second World War was all C. B. Fry's fault!" There's a limit to how much of this I can take, but there was enough good stuff to keep me going - shortly after this, for example, there are several really fine, insightful and flippancy-free paragraphs on Frank Woolley, his possible similarity to David Gower and what it was like bowling to Gower.

Fortunately, the tom-foolery peters out as Hughes begins to talk about things he really knows and cares about (from about the 1920s onward) and the final 200 pages or so are full of insight, analysis and really interesting and amusing anecdotes. His accounts of the Bodyline and D'Oliviera affairs are simply excellent, for example, and he draws brilliant portraits of some of the greats of the game.

Overall, a very good book and well worth reading for anyone interested in cricket - just be prepared to negotiate a wayward opening spell.
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VINE VOICEon 10 August 2009
Personally I don't, think you can give even a potted history of English cricket in around 300 pages but Simon Hughes has had a jolly good go with And God Created Cricket. As the bye line says it's an irreverent history but still it's can awful lot to cram in awful lot of awful cricket in fact.
And if we accept that God did create cricket ( Richard Dawkins won't like it but there you go ) what would he make of his/her ( lets not gender assume here ) creation ? Well Hughes is optimistic about the game itself so we can assume that our deity would share that optimism about the game that has lasted over 400 years and is "incredibly resilient " and will last for some considerable time ...or at least until global warming lays waste to every cricket pitch . But English cricket ....well that's something different entirely . As I write England are sliding to an ignominious defeat in the 4th Ashes test at Headingley and its hard to disagree with Simon Hughes who concludes that the exclusive deal with Sky brokered by those complete chumps at the E.C.B. is "In danger of administering the last rites to the English game ". God created cricket then he created Rupert Murdoch ( or maybe that was the devil ?) to kill it off in the country that brought it to the world.
Hughes is pretty scathing ( though not enough in my opinion ) about the governing body of English cricket in this country and indeed about the I.C.C. and quite right too .The E.C. B . are in a league of their own , (indeed it should stand for extremely crappy bureaucrats ) for ineptitude but the I.C.C ( incompetent crappy bureaucrats ?) run them close. As Hughes constantly points out you cannot run the English cricket team autonomously and effectively if you have 18 other vested interests ( the counties ) working against all that is best for the team. As long as this system prevails , and it seems it always will , English cricket will operate with one hand tied behind it's back and it's pads on backwards.
Anyway putting that aside i may have given the impression that this book is all serious furrowed brow stuff but it's actually , like Hughes other books , funny and entertaining . The first couple of chapters regarding the early inception of the game are a bit tedious but once we get to Dr W.G Grace who "Had no more idea about bronchitis than Dr Who " it gets way more interesting and enjoyable. There are some great stats about players like Sydney Barnes , Frank Tyson, Denis Compton, Jack Hobbs , Wally Hammond and some priceless anecdotes about others Like Fred Trueman( "I'd ave been quicker in colour ") ,Ian Botham Geoff Boycott , Shane Warne, Graham Gooch and Mike Atherton . My own favourites involve the toss up for a test match at Headingley( we got hammered you may hear with no surprise what so ever ) between Viv Richards and Chris Cowdrey and Jimmy Ormond's magnificent riposte to some flint eyed sledging from Steve Waugh .
I don't, think And God Created Cricket is quite up to the standard of Simon Hughes other books . There is lot of information to impart but it's done in a jaunty easy style and once it deal with the games great charcters is hugely pleasurable to read. Comparisons could be made with Kevin Pietersen in fact .Bit scratchy and awkward at first but then once it's eye is in it flows and is just a joy to behold. The self effacing and genial Hughes is never likely to be nicknamed like the egotistical batsman "Fig jam " ( **** I'm good , Just ask me ) though . Hughes is good however , as this latest book testify's more than adequately .
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on 18 October 2012
This is a lovely, very readable book (20 chapters / 302 pages) full of little vignettes related to cricket since the game began, though the majority of the book relates to the last one hundred years. There's also a couple of passages about the betting scandals in the 70's, 80's and 90's - doesn't matter which century - they were almost all applicable !

Hughes makes some very interesting comments, some very funny, some very salient related to how the game is administrated - by amateurs mainly - and how the power of satellite broadcasters over public service broadcasters has had a deleterious effect on the game. Oh, and there are such a lot of personal quotes from many of the cricketers littered throughout; many brutal but, mostly very funny.

Everyone who's anyone in the world of cricket superstars from WG Grace; Gilbert Jessop - 'The Croucher' and the Botham of his day; CB Fry; Bradman; Miller and Lindwall; Trueman and Statham, Compton and Edrich; Lillee and Thomson (or Lilian Thomson as someone called them); Sobers, the 3 'W's - Walcott, Weekes and Worrell - Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards and many fast bowlers such as Andy Roberts, Michael Holding,Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall; Botham; Brearley; Gavaskar; Kapil Dev; Tendulkar; Imran Khan; Richard Hadlee, (who must have been the first cricketer to be knighted while still playing causing a headache for scorers perhaps?); not forgetting Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan, the two bowlers with the greatest number of wickets in history. And profuse apologies to others I have omitted - for brevity!

One quibble with Mr. Hughes is that on three occasions he uses the word 'earnt' instead of 'earned' - I wasn't aware that such a word existed - and so I presume it's either a typographical error or that he has, like the Bard did on many occasions, just invented and patented the word.

Another (more annoying I admit) quibble is in the way he replicates the Yorkshire dialect in print. It's not 'oop north' - it's 'up north' with a flattened vowel sound. 'Oop north' is more representative of an east Lancashire dialect. Having said that, there are some lovely quotes replicating the words of one G. Boycott.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable book written by Hughes highlighting both his love of the game, his frustration with the things wrong with the game but also, his love of the historical and sociological aspects of the game. Having recently read both David 'Bumble' Lloyd (co-written) and Richie Benaud books, Hughes is without doubt the better writer.

Thoroughly recommended.
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on 27 December 2012
Simon Hughes writes well. If you edited out the jokey parts perhaps this would be the most accessible guide to the game of cricket yet written. The game's early years are vividly brought to life. Its golden era is explained well. The death of the sham amateur era precisely retold. The rise of the modern professional celebrated as class war.

I really liked the way that Hughes explained the bodyline series with a focus on the cricketing logic and the battle between two teams. He captures the might of Don Bradman and Vivian Richards well. He is good at describing how great bowlers operate. He writes about some of the pivotal days in Ashes history with love and accuracy. I was there when Flintoff ripped Australia apart at Lords. He captures the way the game turns on bursts of momentum. He is inclusive, capturing the qualities of great cricket from all round the world.

Hughes is a professional cricketer and he points out the weakness of administrators over the centuries and you can understand the attraction of rebel tours to South Africa and the lure of the IPL to underpaid players.

While some of his humorous asides work, I found this narrative device confusing in the early parts of the book and bewildering later on. The story is good enough to tell on its own: the banter on the pitch better for its retelling. Shorter and better edited and this would have been a great book. At its existing length, it is a good read for cricket lovers.
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on 4 July 2013
. . . Which is to be expected, obviously, however the pessimism which pervades hangs like a low cloud over Edgbaston; threatening a washout and only occasionally letting the sun peep through.

An enjoyable, if fairly light read, it's a shame that Simon Hughes analysis is, in my opinion, a little 'off the mark' on this occasion. The fortunes of all cricketing nations have fluctuated over time however, while allowing and accepting this for other nation's, Hughes sees English cricket in perpetual decline (blaming the counties system) and ignores the fact we've actually done pretty well in recent years.

Worth a read but the book is more akin to watching a mid week county match than the IPL.
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on 2 June 2010
Great book by cricket pundit (and former bowler) Simon Hughes. If you like your histories mixed with humor and plenty of British pop culture references, this is the book for you (even if you are Australian).
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on 27 August 2009
There are a lot of fine, and some very funny, books about cricket. If you only buy one, this must be it. Funny, perceptive, and hugely informative.
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