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 ...

The Commonwealth Games, like the Commonwealth of Nations, often seem irrelevant. I intended to declare my bias in this review when I found author Brian Oliver saying the same thing on the first page of his introduction. But, as the author points out, the Games have survived the political, cultural, and sporting odds for more than eighty years and have a rich sportin ...

In his The Art of Wrist-Spin Bowling (1995), Peter Philpott remarks: ‘If there is one factor in spin bowling which all spinners should accept … it is the concept that the ball should be spun hard. Not rolled, not gently turned, but flicked, ripped, fizzed.’ Richie Benaud agrees: ‘Spin it fiercely. Spin it hard.’ The intensity of the grip that produces ‘fizz’ will also often result in the ball either floating high and free in the air or thumping into the pitch a few yards ahead of the popping crease.

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At last, new Bradman territory to be conquered: the Don 1939–45 or, if we discount the ‘phoney war’ (‘Business as Usual’, as Robert Menzies said of that first phase in World War II), perhaps 1941–45. I imagined a slim volume. Not so! Instead, there is a catch to the subtitle of Bradman’s War: How the 1948 Invincibles Turned the Cricket Pitch ...

Bernard Whimpress


The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe: A History of Aboriginal Involvement with the World Game
by John Maynard
Magabala Books, $24.95 pb, 192 pp, 9781921248399


Communities, extended family connections, and role models have been keys to Aboriginal part ...

Bernard Whimpress


Australia: Story of a Cricket Country
edited by Christian Ryan
Hardie Grant Books, $89.95 hb, 400 pp, 9781740669375


A favourite quiz question for cricket history buffs has been ‘Who is the only Nobel Prize win ...

Cerebral knock

Bernard Whimpress


The Cambridge Companion to Cricket
edited by Anthony Bateman and Jeffrey Hill
Cambridge University Press, $34.95 pb, 308 pp, 9780521167871


A book’s title should indicate its subject and, even better, its approach ...

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 ...

IBy the Balls opens in the 1950s, when young Laszlo Urge and his family were forced to leave Stalinist Hungary and head to Australia. Laszlo was shocked to find his new country to be a ‘dry and colourless’ place where soccer (which he refers to as ‘football’) was unpopular. However, this situation was to change. In the following decades, Laszlo became ‘Les Murray’, a popular television sports commentator who has publicly championed his favourite game.

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Shane Warne is one of the greatest bowlers of all time, if not the greatest. Highly competitive and aggressive, he is one of the main factors in Australia’s prolonged dominance in world cricket. He has been involved in a series of controversies, on and off the field. He has been fined for sledging and over-aggressive appealing; and for providing, along with Mark Waugh, information to a bookie (something they both readily admitted, which the Australian Cricket Board tried to cover up). In 2003 he received a one-year ban for taking a banned substance, diuretic tablets, intended, he claimed (and this is not disputed by Barry), to help him lose weight. Off the field, like many leading sporting personalities, he is a serial womaniser

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