March 19, 2012

Good reader of the game

Eleven recommended cricket books
44

On Top Down Under
Ray Robinson's collection of essays about Australia's Test captains has been a favourite of mine ever since it arrived, neatly wrapped, in an exciting package from my Dad in Australia soon after publication in 1975. Each chapter contains enough factoids to keep you going for a week - how dentist Monty Noble, for example, arrived home from one Ashes tour with a German-made machine for shaping readymade false teeth - plus crisp writing, like this description of Ian Craig, during a bad patch in England: "His average was retreating as quickly as his hairline." Robinson's book was updated a few years ago by Gideon Haigh, just about the only modern writer capable of matching him fact for entertaining fact.

The Tests of 1930
Early tour books tended to be more travelogue than Test report - not surprising perhaps when crossing South Africa meant a stagecoach or rickety train - and are sometimes (like the journeys they describe) rather hard going. But Percy Fender, the innovative Surrey captain who never got a chance to lead England, shook up the genre - and not just because he usually chose odd titles, such as The Turn of the Wheel (1928-29 Ashes tour) or Kissing the Rod (1934). My favourite, probably because it covers Don Bradman's triumphant first trip to England, is his more prosaically titled 1930 tour account. Fender's reports were among the first to try to explain what was happening on the field, and why: his books also used innovative statistics - so we discover that, of Bradman's record 974 runs in that series, 238 of them came off 461 balls from Maurice Tate (who did at least get him out three times). Fender had been one of those who had thought the Don would struggle in England, but was forced to admit afterwards that "Bradman as a batsman is a mechanical genius".

It Never Rains ...
Peter Roebuck's sudden death late last year sent me scurrying to the shelves to revisit some of his writings. Probably his best book is an account of Somerset's 1983 county season, an up-and-down affair. During a break he reflects on his fortunes so far: "It has been a surprising season for Roebuck. He has scored most of his runs with shots he decided to cut out in April." He spent much of the season as the warm-up act for Viv Richards and Ian Botham. Often they tried to out-hit each other, but occasionally they both came off together: against Leicestershire "Richards finished with 214 and Botham 154, both making it all appear as if it were an afternoon tea party. I'm sure they edge the ball as often as I do, it's just that with them the slip fielder is at deep long-off." Snippets like that, and a lot more introspection besides, make this arguably the best season's diary of them all.

No Coward Soul
I knew that Yorkshire's Bob Appleyard was a remarkable bowler, even if he did have a brief international career (just nine Tests). But I didn't realise quite how remarkable he was until I read his 2003 biography, written by Stephen Chalke, after Derek Hodgson did the early groundwork. Appleyard was lucky to be alive, let alone playing cricket: he'd lost a lung (and a season and a half of county cricket) after contracting tuberculosis in the 1950s. And if facing the Aussies wasn't bad enough, after finishing with cricket, Appleyard worked for Robert Maxwell. Eventually he fell foul of him and was sacked. With typical Yorkshire grit, Appleyard sued for wrongful dismissal... and won.

The Art of Captaincy
After retiring from playing, the former England captain Mike Brearley produced an absorbing treatise on leadership in 1985, stuffed with enough insights to turn anyone into a better skipper, although whether they'd be game to post a helmet at short midwicket to a left-arm spinner, as Brearley once did (I was there!), is unlikely. It's a great read. But isn't it time Brears presented us with an autobiography of the man Rodney Hogg said "has a degree in people"?

Pageant of Cricket
My first editor David Frith has produced many enviable books, from his biography of the 19th-century England captain Drewy Stoddart to the last word on Bodyline, via several tour books and a much-quoted history of cricketers who committed suicide (foreword, chillingly, by Peter Roebuck). But the biggest project was his weighty 1987 pictorial history, with more than 2000 illustrations - many of them from his own massive collection - in nearly 700 pages. If your coffee table is sturdy enough, try to find a copy.

Cricket Crisis
Talking of Bodyline, if you want to find out what the fuss was all about then the best contemporary account (well, reasonably contemporary: it wasn't published until 1946) came from Jack Fingleton, who was 24 when he opened in that fractious 1932-33 series. He later became an acclaimed journalist, and this book shows why. In the second Test, he wrote, "Larwood bowled a short ball to me. I walked further down than where the ball pitched and ostentatiously patted the wicket. I intended Larwood to infer that if he pitched much shorter he would be in danger of hitting his toes ... I was then very young." Fingo admits that some of his team-mates thought, "with some logic, that Larwood was dangerous enough without being baited". And the payoff? Larwood dismissed him for a pair in the next Test, and Fingleton lost his place for a while.

Mystery Spinner
Jack Iverson, a spinner with a freak grip on the ball (not unlike Ajantha Mendis's today), made a fleeting appearance on the international scene, playing only in the 1950-51 Ashes series ... but doing much to win it for Australia (21 wickets at 15). He couldn't bat, and wasn't much of a fielder: Gideon Haigh suggested, in this 1999 biography, that Iverson might well have been the worst all-round cricketer ever to play a Test match. But he could bowl, and this painstakingly researched story of where "Big Jake" came from - and where he went after that one shooting-star series - makes a surprisingly good read in a book that weighs in at over 350 pages.

A Cricket Odyssey
In 1987-88 England went to the World Cup (where they should have beaten Australia in the final in Calcutta), moved on to Pakistan, where they ran into Javed Miandad and Shakoor Rana (and Abdul Qadir, who took 9 for 56 in the decisive first Test), nipped to Australia for the one-off Bicentennial Test, and ended up with a forgettable series in New Zealand. Luckily for us, Scyld Berry was there throughout to make sense of the travels - and the controversy. He's got a soft spot for the subcontinent, and it shows through with his trips off the beaten track in Pakistan to meet up with Hanif Mohammad (and the ground where he made his 499), Qadir at home in Lahore, and even the cricket-loving spiritual leader the Pir of Pagaro.

Sir Donald Bradman
Among a sagging shelf of books about the Don, Irving Rosenwater's chunky 1978 tome is the biggest - and probably the best, if you want a factual account of the great batsman's life. Re-reading sections still leaves one amazed at Bradman's relentless ability to produce one big score after another. Rosenwater's writing is not flowery, but it does have the occasional flash of humour, as in describing Bradman's three-over century in an up-country game: he was confronted by a bowler who'd "been boasting about it ever since" after dismissing him in a similar match a few years previously. "Two overs later, Bill Black had to plead with his captain to be taken off, nursing an analysis of 2-0-62-0."

Fred Trueman: the Authorised Biography
I thought I'd finish with a current book. There are several volumes by and about Fred Trueman, including John Arlott's excellent Fred (the one the man himself apparently wanted to subtitle "t'greatest fast bowler who ever drew breath"), so the arrival of a new one, by Chris Waters of the Yorkshire Post, did not initially set the pulse racing. But it's an absorbing read, starting with an account of a meeting of Yorkshire minds - Trueman, Boycott, Close and Illingworth - which really should have been filmed and played weekly on TV. Almost every FST story you've ever heard - and several you haven't - is dusted off and put into context. A personal favourite is the time he was hauled before the Yorkshire committee for a supposed misdemeanour in Bristol, only to escape punishment when he pointed out that 20,000 witnesses would testify that he was playing a Test at Lord's at the time. It's captivating stuff, and a suitable tribute to a legendary cricketer.

Which are your favourite cricket books? Tell us in the comments section below

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2012.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 21, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    Danube, I have to agree with you entirely on Manly's West Indies Cricket. Another book I have really enjoyed is Rod Nye's biography of Martin Donnelly. For sheer historical value, however, the 1948 book 'The Game of Cricket' is intriguing. Reading some of the techniques advised in those days was intriguing.

    My Top XI would be:

    1. West Indies Cricket History (Michael Manly) 2. The Game of Cricket [1948] (Numerous Authors) 3. Martin Donnelly (Rod Nye) 4. Innings of a Lifetime (Walter Hadlee) 5. Spinning Round the World (Jim Laker) 6. Art & Science of Cricket (Bob Woolmer) 7. The Basin (Don Neely and Joseph Romanos) 8. Men In White (DO Neely, FK Payne, RP King) 9. All Round Genius (Nick Collins) 10. Lancaster Park (Don Neely and Joseph Romanos) 11. Flying Stumps (Ray Lindwall) And a 12th Man: The Summer Game (Don Neely and Paddiane Neely)

    I have many others I have enjoyed, Clarrie Grimmett's books were great, for example, and Nathan Astle's book was very good.

  • on March 20, 2012, 20:37 GMT

    In a lighter vein - many P G Wodehouse school stories feature Cricket - and make you want to be playing...

  • on March 20, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    @ Meety - Grimmett was a kiwi, thanks very much ;-) Well let the Aussies take some credit though. I'm an avid reader of cricket books, and have read a few on this list (Bradman, Art of Captaincy, Cricket Crisis). Two of my favourites are The Centurions, by Patrick Murphy, and A Last English Summer by Duncan Hamilton. I'm dead keen to track down the rest of the books listed here!

  • on March 20, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    @Nalin Pushpakumara - probably because it wasn't a good book. This is list of what the author thinks are the best books on/about cricket, not the best books on cricket from each country.

  • on March 20, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    I would recommend A Corner of A Foreign Field by Ramachandra Guha as one of the best and most important books on the game to have come out in the last decade.

  • Meety on March 20, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    @roger68 - yep that was a good one! == == == My favourite, (apart from the Chappelli short story series), was Ashley Mallett's "The Bradman of Spin" on Clarrie Grimmett. After reading it, I still think of Grimmett as the best Ozzy leggie of all time! The purpose of the book was that if you went by the assumption that a 5 wicket all equals a century, the rate at which Grimmet picked up 5 wicket hauls was equal to or better than The Don's 100-making ability. Convinced me!

  • pa99 on March 20, 2012, 0:58 GMT

    Good selection Stevo!

    here is my 1st Xi from my personal Library:

    1. Green is the Grass - Dom Moraes - 1951 (the Author was a 12-year old schoolboy when he wrote this)

    2. Between Wickets - Ray Robinson - 1958

    3. Malleson at Melbourne - William Godfrey - 1958 (a great read of a fictional Ashes Series)

    4. Some of it was Cricket - Frank Browne - 1962

    5. The Poetry of Cricket - Leslie Frewin - 1964

    6. Cricket: The Wars of the Roses - A A Thomson - 1967

    7. Beyond a Boundary - C L R James - 1969

    8. Cricket in Three Moods - Henry Blofeld - 1970

    9. Frank Worrell - Ernest Eytle - 1976

    10. Tales From Far Pavilions - Allen Synge & Leo Cooper - 1985

    11. Bodyline Autopsy - David Frith - 2002

    and finally, the 12th man -

    any and all books by Neville Cardus

    Pervez

  • SurlyCynic on March 19, 2012, 22:31 GMT

    What about the Ian Bell autobiography I saw in the discount bin at the airport....

  • roger68 on March 19, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    Lambs To The Slaughter by Graham Yallop. An account of Australia's disastrous 78-79 Ashes campaign. Very honest. Ruffled a few feathers.

  • Danube on March 19, 2012, 22:14 GMT

    "A History of West Indies Cricket" by Michael Manly is a brilliant read. And for sheer laughs, Merv circa 1991 (about Merv Hughes of course) - hilarious.

  • on March 21, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    Danube, I have to agree with you entirely on Manly's West Indies Cricket. Another book I have really enjoyed is Rod Nye's biography of Martin Donnelly. For sheer historical value, however, the 1948 book 'The Game of Cricket' is intriguing. Reading some of the techniques advised in those days was intriguing.

    My Top XI would be:

    1. West Indies Cricket History (Michael Manly) 2. The Game of Cricket [1948] (Numerous Authors) 3. Martin Donnelly (Rod Nye) 4. Innings of a Lifetime (Walter Hadlee) 5. Spinning Round the World (Jim Laker) 6. Art & Science of Cricket (Bob Woolmer) 7. The Basin (Don Neely and Joseph Romanos) 8. Men In White (DO Neely, FK Payne, RP King) 9. All Round Genius (Nick Collins) 10. Lancaster Park (Don Neely and Joseph Romanos) 11. Flying Stumps (Ray Lindwall) And a 12th Man: The Summer Game (Don Neely and Paddiane Neely)

    I have many others I have enjoyed, Clarrie Grimmett's books were great, for example, and Nathan Astle's book was very good.

  • on March 20, 2012, 20:37 GMT

    In a lighter vein - many P G Wodehouse school stories feature Cricket - and make you want to be playing...

  • on March 20, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    @ Meety - Grimmett was a kiwi, thanks very much ;-) Well let the Aussies take some credit though. I'm an avid reader of cricket books, and have read a few on this list (Bradman, Art of Captaincy, Cricket Crisis). Two of my favourites are The Centurions, by Patrick Murphy, and A Last English Summer by Duncan Hamilton. I'm dead keen to track down the rest of the books listed here!

  • on March 20, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    @Nalin Pushpakumara - probably because it wasn't a good book. This is list of what the author thinks are the best books on/about cricket, not the best books on cricket from each country.

  • on March 20, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    I would recommend A Corner of A Foreign Field by Ramachandra Guha as one of the best and most important books on the game to have come out in the last decade.

  • Meety on March 20, 2012, 2:24 GMT

    @roger68 - yep that was a good one! == == == My favourite, (apart from the Chappelli short story series), was Ashley Mallett's "The Bradman of Spin" on Clarrie Grimmett. After reading it, I still think of Grimmett as the best Ozzy leggie of all time! The purpose of the book was that if you went by the assumption that a 5 wicket all equals a century, the rate at which Grimmet picked up 5 wicket hauls was equal to or better than The Don's 100-making ability. Convinced me!

  • pa99 on March 20, 2012, 0:58 GMT

    Good selection Stevo!

    here is my 1st Xi from my personal Library:

    1. Green is the Grass - Dom Moraes - 1951 (the Author was a 12-year old schoolboy when he wrote this)

    2. Between Wickets - Ray Robinson - 1958

    3. Malleson at Melbourne - William Godfrey - 1958 (a great read of a fictional Ashes Series)

    4. Some of it was Cricket - Frank Browne - 1962

    5. The Poetry of Cricket - Leslie Frewin - 1964

    6. Cricket: The Wars of the Roses - A A Thomson - 1967

    7. Beyond a Boundary - C L R James - 1969

    8. Cricket in Three Moods - Henry Blofeld - 1970

    9. Frank Worrell - Ernest Eytle - 1976

    10. Tales From Far Pavilions - Allen Synge & Leo Cooper - 1985

    11. Bodyline Autopsy - David Frith - 2002

    and finally, the 12th man -

    any and all books by Neville Cardus

    Pervez

  • SurlyCynic on March 19, 2012, 22:31 GMT

    What about the Ian Bell autobiography I saw in the discount bin at the airport....

  • roger68 on March 19, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    Lambs To The Slaughter by Graham Yallop. An account of Australia's disastrous 78-79 Ashes campaign. Very honest. Ruffled a few feathers.

  • Danube on March 19, 2012, 22:14 GMT

    "A History of West Indies Cricket" by Michael Manly is a brilliant read. And for sheer laughs, Merv circa 1991 (about Merv Hughes of course) - hilarious.

  • BringBackPeterToohey on March 19, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    can't understand how the Warwick Todd diaries missed the list...

  • AdrianVanDenStael on March 19, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    @christeam: I don't know who these "people" are who know only the "two things" you mention about CLR James, and so apparently do not know about his reading of the significance of cricket to anti-colonialism, or about how it still influences post-colonial scholarship. But these "people" seem not to know very much about this particular subject. Perhaps these are the same people who find James as difficult to read as you suggest

  • on March 19, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    My favourite cricket book growing up was Phoenix from the Ashes by Mike Brearley about the 1981 Ashes series - a great insight into a fantastic series. I would also recommend Golden Boy - Kim Hughes and the bad old days of Australian cricket by Christian Ryan. An excellent biography about a somewhat misunderstood player...

  • bobbybottler on March 19, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Beyond A Boundary is a wonderful read, I'm baffled how anyone could think otherwise.

    I'd like to recommend The Willow Wand by Derek Birley which covers a wide range of cricketing subjects from the late 19th century onwards.

    More recently, Twirlymen by Amol Rajan, is a superb open love letter to spin bowling, and is well worth getting.

  • on March 19, 2012, 16:35 GMT

    What about Farewell to cricket by Don Bradman ? Mr.Steven Lynch. I have heard it is a very good book. Have to read it and do you recommend?

  • bzzd on March 19, 2012, 15:25 GMT

    Exclusion of Beyond a Boundary baffles me - a great book on many levels, even if sometimes difficult reading. My funniest cricket book is "Fatty Batter" by Michael Simkins A wonderful anthology is "Summer Days" edited by Michael Meyer. "The Art of Cricket" by Bradman remains a wonderful guide to how to play the game. And in a strictly literary sense, lets not forget the wonderful "Netherland" byJoseph O'Neill Really pleased to see "No Coward Soul" on the list

  • christeam on March 19, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    @ lanky1: people know two things about clr james: one, that he was secretary to trotsky, and two, that he coined the phrase "what do they know of cricket ..." etc (itself a crib from kipling and, yes, i'll grant you, more pointed as a result). but his book is ponderous, polemic and self-indulgent. that doesn't stop people trotting it out whenever great cricket books are discussed. give me michael manley's history of west indies cricket any day. or, if you're going to recommend a properly readable book that combines politics and cricket, mike marqusee's "anyone but england". and he's an american

  • ras on March 19, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    'The Big Ship' by Gideon Haigh is a good read on Warwick Armstrong and also cricket politics which first led to formation of national boards.

  • fincaplaw on March 19, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    Very disappointed with Steven Lynch and the denizens at Cricinfo that they left the No. 1 best cricket book I have ever read: "Letting Rip" by Simon Wilde. Please take note.

  • on March 19, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    Either of the 2 Simon Hughes books "A lot of long hard Yakka" and "Yakking round the world" were both superb.

  • GilesBee on March 19, 2012, 13:24 GMT

    All England fans should read "Fifty Finest" which ranks, given certain criteria, the 50 best Test Match Innings played by England players, from Hobbs to Pieterson, via Hammond, Gooch & Atherton and plenty more between, with a superbly researched & written article about each innings. I found it absorbing and it was fascinating to read details about innings I have only previously heard about or seen scorecards for.

  • Lanky1 on March 19, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    For anyone who finds 'Beyond a Boundary' unreadable all I can say is 'What do they of cricket know who only cricket know?'. How can you understand West Indies cricket of the 20th Century without understanding its social background. I would have though something from Neville Cardus has to be in there. I know in his old age he had tendency to repeat his eariler writing but that was so good it bears repetition.

  • YorkshirePudding on March 19, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    THe best Cricket books I've read are Bodyline Autopsy by David Frith, and the recent Biography of Harold Larwood by Duncan Hamilton. The bodyline book goes through the whole story with non of the usual rehtoric etc, as well as explain the origins of fast Leg theory. the Latter deals with the after math for Harold Larwood, and the fall out of that tour that lead to him being vilified for doing the job his captain asked him to do, while others who were more culpable got off relitively unscathed (Voce, Jardine etc).

  • christeam on March 19, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    I found Byond a Boundary virtually unreadable as, I suspect, do most people. The first book I ever read about cricket was John Arlott's biography of Jack Hobbs, which made me an instant fan of Surrey, even though I was a 13-year-old living in South Africa. The book that sums up the joy of playing (even badly) and watching and being obsessed by cricket, though, is Marcus Berkmann's Rain Men.

  • on March 19, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    How about 'Warrick Todd goes the Tonk' - very, very funny reading!

  • AdrianVanDenStael on March 19, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    A curious list since it seems entirely to be made up of contributions from or about Australian/English authors/cricketers. Does Mr Lynch think the rest of the cricket world has never contributed anything worh reading? The omission of CLR James' Beyond A Boundary is glaring, and I would also include Ramachandra Guha's A Corner Of A Foreign Field.

  • sankm on March 19, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    I recommend "Any Old Eleven" by Jim Young. It is a good read.

  • karansagar on March 19, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    what about one of the wisdens

  • pgokool on March 19, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    CLR James' Beyond a Boundary.

  • PopePiusX on March 19, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    Peter Tinniswood's 'Tales from a Long Room' is my favourite, excellent stuff and a touch of the Zaltzman about it.

  • kentjones on March 19, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    It is near to impossible to select the eleven recommended books on the game of cricket. Some biases are only natural along the way. I commend those selected. However like contrast_swing CLR James 'Beyond a Boundary' seems a must in my opinion.

  • on March 19, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    I'm still waiting for a definitive Bradman biography, I keep hoping Gideon Haigh will turn his hand to the topic.

    Haigh's The Summer Game is a fascinating account of an era in Australian cricket that gets fairly short shrift overall, 1949-1971. more than a touch of social history there too.

    Which is a combination I love, hence Ramachandra Guha's A Corner of a Foreign Field is at the top of the list. A fascinating history of how cricket became the incredibly important game it is in India. Guha had kept his passions for Indian history and cricket separate only to find that they ran into each other. Superb.

  • RISHI2016 on March 19, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Did you miss Beyond A Boundary by CLR James and Pundits from Pakistan from your very own Rahul Bhattacharya ????

  • CricketPissek on March 19, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew ftw

  • D-Ascendant on March 19, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    Brodribb's Next Man In is a book I can read over and over again. Guha's A Corner Of A Foreign Field, Manley's A History Of West Indies Cricket and CLR James' Beyond A Boundary. David Frith was wonderful in whatever he wrote; still treasure the B&H Cricket Years that he edited. Haigh is absolute genius. And of course, Christian Ryan's Golden Boy, which surely must rank among the very best.

  • on March 19, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    "Bodyline Autopsy" by David Frith is one of the most amazing cricket books ever written.

  • SouthPaw on March 19, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    How about "The art of fast bowling" by D K Lillee?

  • on March 19, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    Easily my favorite is Penguins Stopped Play by Harry Thompson. it deals with cricket in what i believe is the purest form, a bunch of village cricketers with passion for the game far exceeding ability. It is cricket for crickets sake.

  • on March 19, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    My favourite cricket biography is Adam Parore's 'The Wicked Keeper'. He pulls no punches with what he says, but then allows people to have their say in his book as well, even if it shows Parore in a poor light. A thoroughly absorbing read.

    'Penuins Stopped Play', by Harry Thompson, is also a fantastic read, albeit with a gut-wrenching ending.

    Stephen Fleming's 'Balance of Power' was one of the dullest cricket books I've read. It didn't help that it was published in 2004, four years before he retired from international cricket!

  • george204 on March 19, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    If you want to understand why English cricket declined so disastrously during the late 1980s, you have to read "Ten tests for England" by Bill Frindall. As you'd expect the bare statistics are examined in pitiless detail, but the prose is also outstanding and gives you a great feel for the sheer in-over-our-heads incompetence of the TCCB & the England selectors under Peter May. Read this book, shudder to think that this nonsense continued for another decade, and thank your lucky stars we eventually had the Fletcher/Hussain era...

  • daSaj on March 19, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    In The Firing Line by Ed Cowan; an account of the Tasmanian Tigers 2010/11 Domestic Season

  • on March 19, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    Why "Retired Hurt" by Roshan Mahanama isn't there???

  • gzawilliam on March 19, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    I would add The fast Bowlers Bible by Ian Pont. I learn so much from this book as a quick bowler. I keep it handy throughout the season

  • contrast_swing on March 19, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    Nice collection. I am sure has tough time in choosing these above XI. But leaving out 'Beyond the Boundary' by CLR James is a big surprise. By the way would list best cricket biographies as well.

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  • contrast_swing on March 19, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    Nice collection. I am sure has tough time in choosing these above XI. But leaving out 'Beyond the Boundary' by CLR James is a big surprise. By the way would list best cricket biographies as well.

  • gzawilliam on March 19, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    I would add The fast Bowlers Bible by Ian Pont. I learn so much from this book as a quick bowler. I keep it handy throughout the season

  • on March 19, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    Why "Retired Hurt" by Roshan Mahanama isn't there???

  • daSaj on March 19, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    In The Firing Line by Ed Cowan; an account of the Tasmanian Tigers 2010/11 Domestic Season

  • george204 on March 19, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    If you want to understand why English cricket declined so disastrously during the late 1980s, you have to read "Ten tests for England" by Bill Frindall. As you'd expect the bare statistics are examined in pitiless detail, but the prose is also outstanding and gives you a great feel for the sheer in-over-our-heads incompetence of the TCCB & the England selectors under Peter May. Read this book, shudder to think that this nonsense continued for another decade, and thank your lucky stars we eventually had the Fletcher/Hussain era...

  • on March 19, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    My favourite cricket biography is Adam Parore's 'The Wicked Keeper'. He pulls no punches with what he says, but then allows people to have their say in his book as well, even if it shows Parore in a poor light. A thoroughly absorbing read.

    'Penuins Stopped Play', by Harry Thompson, is also a fantastic read, albeit with a gut-wrenching ending.

    Stephen Fleming's 'Balance of Power' was one of the dullest cricket books I've read. It didn't help that it was published in 2004, four years before he retired from international cricket!

  • on March 19, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    Easily my favorite is Penguins Stopped Play by Harry Thompson. it deals with cricket in what i believe is the purest form, a bunch of village cricketers with passion for the game far exceeding ability. It is cricket for crickets sake.

  • SouthPaw on March 19, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    How about "The art of fast bowling" by D K Lillee?

  • on March 19, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    "Bodyline Autopsy" by David Frith is one of the most amazing cricket books ever written.

  • D-Ascendant on March 19, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    Brodribb's Next Man In is a book I can read over and over again. Guha's A Corner Of A Foreign Field, Manley's A History Of West Indies Cricket and CLR James' Beyond A Boundary. David Frith was wonderful in whatever he wrote; still treasure the B&H Cricket Years that he edited. Haigh is absolute genius. And of course, Christian Ryan's Golden Boy, which surely must rank among the very best.