Reviews ReviewsRSS FeedFeeds

Crickileaks

Fake diaries, real good fun

Devour in one go or relish in the bathroom: the new one from Tyers and Beach is compelling either way

Andrew Miller

May 7, 2011

Comments: 1 | Text size: A | A

Cover image of  <i>Crickileaks</i>
Enlarge

The secret to Alan Tyers' remarkable line in cricket satire is plausibility. It is all too easy to mock a sport that lends itself to ridicule like few others, and heaven knows there are enough contemporary players out there who need little assistance, with their endless obsession with "good areas" and the like.

However, the particular type of fun that Tyers pokes at the game is so well targeted it rarely fails to hit the spot. Every scenario he imagines takes credulity to breaking point, but almost never beyond, so that there's always a part of you willing to believe that Fred "The Demon" Spofforth really did sell his soul to the devil in exchange for 14 wickets at The Oval in the Ashes match of 1882, or that Mike Gatting's blood-sugar levels were crashing through the floor when Shane Warne stuffed him at Old Trafford in 1993.

His latest book, Crickileaks, imagines the secret diaries of 40 cricket personalities (or lack thereof, in the case of a select handful), and places the reader in a situation that might well be instantly recognisable to the anorak reader, although often the fun of each 400-word entry is to work out exactly what the punchline might prove to be. Thus we are presented with David Gower and Graham Gooch in a hotel lobby at 4am on January 20, 1991, a date that soon transpires to be the eve of Gower's infamous Tiger Moth flight over the Carrara Oval in Queensland.

For Crickileaks Tyers has collaborated again with the excellent illustrator Beach, whose role is less forthright than it had been in their first book, WG Grace Ate My Pedalo, but every bit as integral. He imagines what the cover of each published diary might be - from Glenn McGrath's Bravo Five Zero to The Unbearable Rightness of Being (by) Geoffrey Boycott. Mind you, The Huffalo by Ricky Ponting is possibly one to avoid reading to your children at bedtime.

It's the sort of book that can easily be devoured in one sitting but lends itself to endless revisiting - on the khazi, inevitably, because it's quite simply that type of read. There's enough in-your-face humour to appeal to all visitors, though the best digs are also the most subtle - the type that most cricket fans would recognise and relish as in-jokes. Thus Mike Brearley's miserable time at the hands of Jeff Thomson in 1977 is redressed as a succession of psychotherapy sessions, while Denis Compton's plug-laden entry makes you realise what a mercy it is that Twitter had not been invented in 1936.

The blurb inside the familiar primrose-yellow dust-jacket declares that this is Tyers and Beach's last book together, though I sincerely hope that is not the case - and so too, one imagines, does their publisher, Wisden, for whom Pedalo and Crickileaks have proved invaluable tools in their drive to attract a new audience.

It's always been a funny old game, but in this company it's hilarious.

Crickileaks
Alan Tyers, Beach
A&C Black, £9.99

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Andrew Miller

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (May 7, 2011, 7:50 GMT)

an excellent read by Messrs Tyers and Beach, look forward to the next effort!

Comments have now been closed for this article

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Andrew MillerClose
Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007

    The cricket tragic who bowled Bradman

Former Australian PM Bob Hawke loved cricket. And he once left the Don speechless with the force of his political convictions

    'The worst thing about being a keeper is stinky hands'

Chris Read talks about how unprepared he was for Tests, and that slower ball from Chris Cairns

    Everybody deserves a second chance?

Switch Hit: Mark Butcher joins our team to discuss the new England coaches, KP, and a potential England XI

    England's Pietersen folly

Martin Crowe: Not getting rid of Kevin Pietersen after the texting saga in 2012 cost them greatly

Fizz, flight and loop

V Ramnarayan: Erapalli Prasanna was a masterful conjurer and perhaps the shrewdest of India's great spin quartet

News | Features Last 7 days

UAE all set to host lavish welcoming party

The controversy surrounding the IPL has done little to deter fans in UAE from flocking the stadiums, as they gear up to watch the Indian stars in action for the first time since 2006

The watch breaker, and Malinga specials

Plays of the day from the IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it

'Sri Lankan fans embrace the team, not just icon players'

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara go over their World T20 win, and feel grateful to have fans whose support remains unwavering in victory and defeat

Crunch time for Sehwag and Gambhir

The former Indian openers haven't been shining lately, but the IPL presents an opportunity for them to show their class

News | Features Last 7 days