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This review is from: Bobby Abel: Professional Batsman (Hardcover)
A fascinating account of a very important cricketer. David Kynaston brings out the character and playing style of Abel extremely well, using a vast number of sources. The initial description of his career is pretty much standard for a cricket biography, but the book really comes into its own in the second half. Here Kynaston presents a detailed analysis of contemporary match reports, providing as complete a picture as we'll ever have of what it was like to watch Abel bat. The depiction of Abel is no whitewash either- we are left with no illusion that he was the greatest batsman of his generation, and see a lot of criticism of his slow scoring rate.
As would be expected from the subtitle of the book, we get a good picture of what life was like for Abel as a paid professional cricketer, in a county which was dominated by the (also paid) amateurs.
If I've got a criticism, it's that we don't learn much about the other cricketers who were around at the time. The author assumes a familiarity with late Victorian and Edwardian cricketers that's much less common now than when the book was first published.