Best sports books 2018
What unites the writers here is that, deep down, they all know the two essential things: that cricket really matters; and that cricket really doesnt matter at all.Days in the Sun by Neville Cardus.Modern cricket writing begins with Cardus, the working-class Mancunian autodidact who in the 1920s found fame reporting cricket matches for the Manchester Guardian.It was he, more than anyone before or, arguably, since, who exploited the possibilities of imaginatively turning the leading cricketers of the day into three-dimensional, almost novelistic characters.He also appreciated how the rhythm and feel of a days play depends as much on the interaction between players and crowd as it does on the events in the middle.Carduss reputation has waned in recent years (too many factual inaccuracies, note the pedants but he remains the foundation stone.
Australia 55 by Alan Ross, cricket tours in the old days were leisurely affairs, starting with the long voyage out, and this account of the epic Ashes-winning tour under the determined if sometimes overly pessimistic captaincy of Len.In his day job a renowned literary editor and accomplished poet, Ross here provides a seductive double narrative: the cricketing dramas and heroics, yes, but also a shrewd, lyrical snapshot of a country still finding its modern identity.Beyond a Boundary by CLR James.What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?Famously asks the West Indian writer and political activist.Regularly placed at or near the top of lists of best cricket books ever, this is a compelling mixture of memoir, history, polemic and technical analysis, all knitted together with a sense of deep personal engagement.
Crickets natural escapist appeal often keeps its literature firmly within the boundary ropes; but even more than Ross and writing on the cusp of the postcolonial moment James is exhilaratingly different.The Art of Captaincy by Mike Brearley.Crickets philosopher-king and arguably Englands most successful captain explains all In the process, his lucid treatise not only guides the reader through the many tricks, traps and pitfalls of being a captain, but reveals just how complex, psychologically as much as tactically, the game.
Ian Botham once described him as having a degree in people, and with characteristic sensitivity Brearley explores how playing cricket can produce at least as many lows as highs a fact that far from every captain, whether on village green or Test arena, understands.Humane John Arlott in the commentary box during his final Test match commentary in 1980.Photograph: Adrian Murrell/Getty Images.Concerning, cricket by John Arlott, arlott was a published poet before, in the postwar years, turning himself into a top-flight cricket writer and legendary, Hampshire-burred radio commentator.