With apologies to the late James W. Best for appropriating his image (from his 1935 Forest Life in India)

Monday, 29 April 2013

Theory and Practice

I’ve read quite a few books by former cricketers over the years, some good, some not so good, but this one from 2003 is far and away the best I've come across:

It’s the intelligent former England captain’s dry and often self-deprecating sense of humour that makes this such a good read. The day before England's group game against Pakistan in Karachi in the 1996 World Cup, self-styled supremo Raymond Illingworth, fretting about the Pakistan spinners, called a team meeting and demanded of the largely jaded gathering, ‘Who can pick Mushie [Mushtaq Ahmed]?’:
Out of the silence a lone hand, belonging to Dermot Reeve, offered itself. Reeve went on to espouse his theories about sweeping and reverse sweeping Mushtaq. The next day Mushtaq bowled Reeve a googly; Reeve advanced down the wicket, aimed a huge drive through extra-cover and was comprehensively bowled through the gate.
[England duly lost]
In fact, now I’ve got it down from the shelf and reminded myself just how good it is, I’m going to have to read it right through once again.