Cricket Books Worth Reading

Hi followers

Here’s are some cricket books that I’ve read that I’d thoroughly recommend you do too. Some books I read before I started this blog but where I’ve already reviewed a book, I’ve provided the link.

Ed Smith Playing Hardball

There’s a great line in this book that explains the fundamental difference between baseball and cricket. It’s one that’s really good to have a handle on to understand the one of the two you’re less familiar with.

Tim Lane and Elliot Cartledge Chasing Shadows: The Life and Death of Peter Roebuck

A book bound to stir discomfort amongst some, this seems a fairly written effort of a delicate subject, a delicate life. I can’t claim to have been overly familiar with Roebuck before reading this book recently. Of course I knew the name but as I wrote in my review… I judged the book and not the man.

Christopher Lee Howzat

An insight into Kerry Packer and how he changed the face of cricket. It’s all very apt given the so many changes occurring on the global cricket horizon right now and in the not too distant past. Traditionalists may despise him but cricket would look a lot different if it weren’t for Packer or certainly wouldn’t have progressed at the same rate.

Peter Obourne Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan

What’s great about this book is that you don’t just learn about the history of cricket in Pakistan but about the history of Pakistan in general. Not surprisingly, it’s an exhaustive read but one that makes me long to discover written histories of other cricket nations.

The following three books are essential reading for fans like me who long for the game to blossom outside of the Test circuit.

Tim Brooks Cricket on the Continent

Tim Wigmore and Peter Miller Second XI: Cricket in its Outposts

Roy Morgan Real International Cricket: A History in One Hundred Scorecards

There are others, some that I’ve enjoyed, others that I haven’t. You can find all my book reviews here…

I’ve currently got a stash of more bat ‘n’ ball themed books waiting to be read so look out for more reviews in 2019!

Six to Watch: T20I Status – Team Special


Following my article regarding players in the men’s game to look out for come T20I status being applied to all associate nations, here’s a Six to Watch Team Special…


The South American side used to benefit from regular visits from touring MCC sides and therefore played First Class fixtures. They’ve appeared in the ICC Trophy but have slipped off the ICC World Cricket League structure so it’ll be interesting to see what route back to cricket recognition they can take.


The inaugural Global T20 Canada kicks off this month, complete with the usual T20 franchise brigade, Chris Gayle, Steven Smith and Shahid Afridi included.

It’s to be hoped that the competition ignites interest amongst the local community in The Land of Maple Leaf. Canada have had their moments in cricket history, most notably when John Davison smacked a record-breaking century at the 2003 World Cup.

They’ve also had some shockers though, including being dismissed for 36 by Sri Lanka in the same tournament. They were also routed for 45 against England in 1979. Canada will be relying on expats for now but hopefully native Canadians will be inspired to take up the game and break into the national side.


Not that long ago Denmark were one of the there or there about nations beyond the Test world. Their place on the cricket scene was somewhat akin to how Netherlands have been in the past couple of decades. Players such as Ole Mortensen and Freddie Klokker appeared on the county circuit with Mortensen averaging just 23.88 with the ball in the First Class game. When Demark defeated Israel by all ten wickets at the 1994 ICC Trophy, Mortensen claimed figures of 7-19! They’ve somewhat fallen away since, though former England Test player Amjad Khan has helped them return to prominence in recent years. Expats are almost vital to developing cricket in the associate nations but it’s great to see some young local talent in the Denmark squad. Danish born Klokker who was on the books of both Warwickshire and Derbyshire tends to don the gloves these days and his county experience complete with First Class hundreds will be vital if the Danes are to be great again!


In bygone years Fiji benefited from their proximity to Australia. They even toured Oz and hosted New Zealand as well as been regulars in the ICC Trophy. In recent years they’ve been well down the ICC World Cricket League spectrum, falling as low as division seven. Their squad is full of indigenous talent including many players still in their teens.

When Fiji defeated Wellington in a First Class fixture in 1948, it was the man with the longest name (IL Bula) in cricket history who led the way with 88 in Fiji’s second innings to set the Pacific islanders up for a heart-pumping one-wicket win…


Rwanda have put a lot of effort into raising the profile of cricket in their country and if for no other reason than their cricket ground is so beautiful then it’s to be hoped that they can join the African forces to be reckoned with.

Captain Eric Dusingizimana famously broke a world record with an epic fifty-one hour net session.

South Korea

South Korea have played at the Asian Games but looked like they’d have made a good ODI side ten years ago. Technically correct they’ll need to adapt their skills to T20I cricket. The talent and hunger is there and it’d be great to see a side from the Far East come to the fore in the cricket world. Maybe some of their players can have great Koreas (Careers!)… sorry!

On the subject of Associate Cricket, Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket: A History in One Hundred Scorecards is well, well worth reading. Tim Brooks’ Cricket On the Continent as well as Second XI: Cricket in it’s Outposts by Tim Wigmore and Peter Miller are also essential reads for the Associate fan.

Openers Only!


This article is about something I hate. It’s about something that I detest seeing when playing village cricket and came to my attention again whilst reading Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket…

This article is about those players that open the batting and the bowling… in the same match!

I find it so rude that a player would accept doing it, particularly at amateur level. You’ve got eleven guys or probably some guys and boys, or gals and girls even, they’ve all paid to play but it’s a one-man show. Players should be presented with opportunity and responsibility, it’s no good hiding them.

Every year we receive a survey from the ECB asking us why participation in our game is declining?

Maybe it’s because the players who are filling in for those that have already abandoned the sport are left to bat at number eleven and not bowl. I play in the Nidderdale League and the Harrogate and District Evening League. The following would be my suggestions for some rule changes:

  1. No player shall open both the batting and the bowling. A player may open the batting and bowl from the third over or alternatively they may bat at three and open the bowling.
  2. Any player scheduled to bat at numbers nine, ten or eleven must bowl at least one over. (Specific leniencies would be put in place for weather affected matches as well as those that don’t go the distance)
  3. In the Nidderdale League we play 45-overs per side with a bowler allowed a maximum of 12 overs. Either play 50 overs with a ten over cap or if playing 45 overs then have a nine over cap. This would initially level the playing field whilst at the same time developing players and making competition stronger in the long term. A necessity to use five not just four bowlers would also help rule 2, i.e; kids not making up the numbers just to field and losing interest in playing cricket altogether.

Of course there are those players that turn up every week under the impression that they have a divine right to bowl 12 overs. These players wouldn’t vote to stop that and neither would their clubs. The club sides want their best players to have as much opportunity as possible to help them win but surely it’d be better to get more players involved and by involved, I mean involved. Otherwise teams will continue to fold, we’ll end up playing seven players per side in a small league with small divisions and be playing against the same teams every few weeks.

I am not a very good cricketer but even if I was the main man at a club, I’d like to think that I’d have enough about me to channel Meat Loaf and say “I would do anything for you skip, but I won’t do that, no I won’t do that”.

Roy Morgan: Real International Cricket Book Review


Warning! This article contains spoilers. It’s not so much a book review but a selection of highlights or/and lowlights from Roy Morgan’s exhaustively detailed and passionately presented Real International Cricket. Remember how at school you were told not to use Wikipedia as a source for your homework, well Morgan says ‘Howzat’ to that as he proudly uses Wiki to pool source information for his tables found in the latter pages of this 280-page epic. To be fair, he’s also scoured the archives of the Lagos Daily News, Saint Helena Telegraph and The Philadelphia Inquirer to name just a few!


Five run outs. Steady on boys, you’ve travelled 345 miles from Toronto to New York for this!


Poor W.L. Fraser of Scotland. Everybody else made double figures against Ireland but you quacked!


Two bowlers, five wickets each, both 34 runs. Damn you Bannerman-Hesse for needing that extra delivery!


Morgan informs us that Danish wicketkeeper Jorgen Holmen popped up once for the national team in 1973. He promptly conceded 13 byes, dropped a catch, made scores of 0 and 0 not out and never played cricket for his country again.

Where are you now Jorgen?


A good indicator of how cricket has spread around the globe and prospered amongst indigenous or local populations, or not as the case may be, is the French line-up from 1997. Jones, Hewitt and Edwards et al, proper French names!


6-1 for Maldives’ Neesham Nasir. A bit expensive conceding that run Neesham!


A 510-run defeat in a 50 over match. New Caledonia’s Boaoutho’s 0-132 from eleven overs was so bad that the umpires even let him bowl an over more than he should have been allowed to!


The priceless Pritchard Pritchard makes an appearance in 2011 and promptly clobbers 28 not out, including three sixes from just ten deliveries for Samoa.

Another warning! Unless you’re a cricket tragic, this book probably isn’t for you. If however you enjoy reading about obscure corners of the world, sympathising with numerous poor sods that voyaged for weeks to bat at eleven and not bowl or have a good old healthy obsession with the world’s number one bat ‘n’ ball game then this book is well worth a peruse.

Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket scores an undefeated…

83 not out

Score Assumptions and Naivety in Sport


Don’t worry, my review of Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket will soon be with you. I’m about half way through it. As previously advised, the font size is about 8 so please be patient, it’ll be with you as soon as I’ve read through all 280 pages.

On Page 114 when detailing a match between Malaya and Commonwealth XI, Morgan writes as follows:

“Marshall mis-hit Gurucharan to the long-off boundary, only for Navaratnam to drop the catch with the team score at 126. Four runs later, Baig mis-read the spin of Delilkan and steered the ball to short fine leg where, again. Navaratnam failed to take the catch. What could have been 130-3 went on to become 175-1”.

I have some issues with this statement but please let me be clear. This is in no way a dig at Roy Morgan. His book is, for a cricket tragic like me, an absurdly detailed piece of work that I’ll dedicate a whole article too, as soon as I’ve completed what is currently a throughly enjoyable read.

Let’s assume that Marshall had been caught by Navaratnam. Then Kanhai would have joined Baig at the crease with the score 126-2. At this point, we can’t assume that four runs later Baig will mis-read the spin of Delilkan. Even if in reality, the drop was to the last delivery of the over then Baig struck a four before being dropped, just the fact that Kanhai would have walked to the crease would have changed the whole flow of the game. Even if Baig did then hit four, it wouldn’t have been the same four as if when Marshall was at the crease and the likelihood of Delilkan bowling exactly the same ball as he actually did is extremely unlikely. Just a few millimetres difference in either line or length would change the trajectory of the ball and the decision making of the batsman. If indeed Marshall had been caught then everybody that followed might have been out first ball and Commonwealth XI would have been all out for 126 but had Kanhai come in at that point then maybe he and Baig would have both made double hundreds in a partnership of four hundred plus!

Forgive me in committing the ultimate sin on a cricket blog but I’m going to refer to football.

The score of a match is 0-0. A team misses three great chances then the other team scores and wins 1-0. The commentator says “It would have been 3-1 if the other team had put away their chances”. That is the sort of thing you’ll here a commentator or reporter say.

But could it have been 3-1?

Possibly, it’s not an overly obscure scoreline but it’s unlikely. Say the team that lost 1-0 had actually scored their first chance. Well then the next passage of play would have been kick-off not a goal kick or just the continuation of open play as actually happened. From that variation the rest of the game would play out completely, yes completely differently. The same passes, the same shots, the same everything would not have happened. It may be that from the kick off the other team equalised then the match goes on to finish 2-2.

Every little thing changes the course of everything. Just like when you got in your car, ummed and ahed about whether to change the CD, did so, missed the green light by half a second then that driver rear-ended you.

Shane Warne dropped Kevin Pietersen in 2005. If he’d held that chance then maybe Australia would have won the Ashes but maybe England just wouldn’t have lost another wicket and won anyway. I could go on forever but what I’m getting at is that a lot of people, including professional observers of sport just don’t understand that after every goal, dropped catch or misfield etc, the whole passage of play from that point onwards is different. Different batsman of different ability under different pressure of different hand, some who glance at the scorecard more than others or run quicker than others come to the crease.

Sport is not simple. Never assume.



Bye: Napoleon Einstein!

Leg Bye: England outcast Ben Duckett is amongst those named in an MCC squad to play the annual county season precursor in Abu Dhabi. The MCC side will take on 2016 County Championship prevailers Middlesex in a match that commences on 26th March. With the North v South fixture also now part of the season, there are plenty of opportunities for fringe England players to put forward a case to the national selectors. Uncapped spin bowlers Mason Crane and Jack Leach are also amongst those in the MCC squad. For the full party please refer to the link below…

… and on the subject of the MCC, if anybody’s looking for a job…

No Ball: A little precursor to our review of Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket (Which won’t be for a while due to the small font size!)…



Poor Fraser, out for a duck when absolutely everybody else made double figures!

Wide: Tune into this YouTube channel from a fellow cricket blogger…