On Cricket by Mike Brearley

May 2019, no. 411

The first words I ever read by Mike Brearley were in my first Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, the 1976 edition: they were a tribute to his long-time teammate at Middlesex, wicketkeeper John Murray. The tone was warm, generous, and largely conventional, with a single shaft of ...

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A modern cricket photographer using digital single-lens reflex cameras and high-speed motor drives can take 5,000 photos in a day’s play. With such a surfeit of images, the quality of seeing is diminished. For most of his career from the 1970s to the 2010s, English photographer Patrick Eagar would shoot four or five rolls of film ...

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For more than half a century, Richie Benaud (1930–2015) graced the game of cricket around the world. A dashing batsman and fierce leg-spinner, Benaud was the first ...

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Second ball, day three of the 2014 Boxing Day Test match and Australian wicket-keeper Brad Haddin dives full length in front of first slip Shane Watson to catch Indian number three batsman Cheteshwar Pujara off Ryan Harris single-handed in the webbing of his glove. Virat Kohli replaces Pujara, and in the last over of the day he is still there, with 169 runs. He flas ...

Enterprise and energy are integral to this story. Without the enterprise of James Lillywhite and John Conway there would have been no Australian tour to England in 1878. Nottingham professional Lillywhite, who captained England in the first-ever Test matches at Melbourne in March-April 1877, arranged the English fixture list and former Victorian all-rounder Conway c ...

Emeritus Professor Bob Reece has published widely on Aboriginal history and on New Norcia history in particular. In a brief preface he notes that his paternal grandfather and father were fine cricketers and that he (a poor player) has followed the game from the time of Don Bradman’s Invincibles in the late 1940s. When he learned of the Benedictine Mission’s Abor ...

Song and script

Bernard Whimpress


by Gideon Haigh
$29.95 pb, 285 pp, 9780670076017


In the early 1990s the cricket tour book, like the western movie, seemed dead and buried. The formulas pl ...

Gideon Haigh is turning into something of a one-man industry on cricket in Australia. Following highly successful books on the Packer revolution, Allan Border’s reign, and a recent defence of the Ashes, he has now turned his attention to the crucial years 1949 to 1971 when Australia went from being undisputed world champions to a side being overtaken, not merely by England but for the first time by South Africa, which would shortly be expelled because of its practice of apartheid, with the so-called Third World countries showing that they would not remain beaten for much longer. It opens, in other words, with Donald Bradman about to depart and ends with the ruthless sacking of Bill Lawry and the arrival of Ian Chappell as new captain.

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Greg Chappell by Adrian McGregor,

June 1986, no. 81

Greg Chappell’s cricketing career from the mid-sixties until 1984 coincided with developments affecting players, administrators and audiences which reoriented attitudes and expectations, causing schisms and bitterness. McGregor’s biography stresses three related themes: the growth of professionalism, the effects of commercialism and especially colour television, and the difficulties in a cricketer’s life caused by conflicting allegiances, and personal and family considerations. A fourth theme, the ascendancy of speed bowling, gets due attention, but more incidentally. It is a conscientious book: Chappell’s early life and the arc of his superb career are followed carefully, comprehensively, informatively, but too often a false note of the ‘excitement’ of it all is journalistically struck.

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Despite its faults, this book has the merit of being the first biography on the legendary Australian batsman, Victor Trumper (1877–1915). Young cricket lovers of today may well ask what feats of batsmanship Trumper performed to deserve this handsomely produced volume about him. After all, his test average was only 39.04, not to be spoken of in the same breath as Don Bradman’s 99.96.

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