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on 16 May 2013
Marc Dawson's book is one that you can dip into at any time, its 287 pages crammed with a startling array of information. Some you will know, some will genuinely surprise you and a fair proportion will leave you wondering where on earth the author gets his information.

I mean the latter in a good way, as the book is commendable for a number of things, not least of which is the currency of the information. Events from the recent winter months are there in abundance and the chapters are themed so one can dip in and out at will, finding something of interest on every visit.

It is the sort of book that had me saying 'listen to this' a good few times to my family, something that they took with characteristic good humour. The acid test, I suppose, is when your 15-year old daughter is found looking through it when you go into the living room and starts to tell you a story that has tickled her fancy. I can think of few cricket books over the years that might have had that effect; she has never shown any interest (sadly) in Neville Cardus...

In the course of reading this book I have found out many things. Kevin Pietersen's brother is a vicar in Workington; New Zealander Chris Martin once went three years without scoring a Test run in eleven matches, while Colin Cowdrey and Garfield Sobers scored the most Test centuries in different batting positions -each scoring them from six different places in the order. At the other end of the cricketing spectrum, Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman was once banned from cricket for cheering when he took a wicket at the age of 13. Goodness knows what the officials would make of the dancing after wickets in the IPL..even less than Len, I'll wager.

These are just the tip of the iceberg in a wonderfully entertaining book that will amuse and entertain in equal measure. The fantasy elevens of various 'names' are of less value, especially when in some cases the immediate reaction is 'Who?' Some may disagree though and I accept that as a personal preference.

The only error I spotted, somewhat ironically, was in the reference to the stage play and later TV series that bore the same name as the book. As a big fan of the series, that I recently watched again with my family, I can confirm that it was not Paul Eddington who played club skipper Roger Dervish, but the excellent Robert Daws. Eddington played the role in the stage play only.

Yet this is a minor quibble and should not detract from a terrific piece of work. Top marks to the publishers too, for a well-presented book. Pick this up in a book shop and you will take it home. Trust me.

Now...where was I? Alex Hales' grandfather played Rod Laver at Wimbledon. Really..?
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on 28 May 2013
I wonder if the author has heard of Sir Richard Hadlee, the Compton brothers and Chris Balderstone.True cricket fans will know why.One more thing, though it was an MP who got it wrong, but the error is repeated in the book Buzz Aldrin playing golf on the moon. He didn't try Alan Shepard .Actually the book can get boring. Buy Wisden it is much more fun.
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