With the Australian Cricket Team on the brink of annihilation, times are tough for cricket lovers. To soften the blow Booktopia’s resident cricket nerd Andrew Cattanach takes a look at some of the best cricketing memoirs around, and finds his love of the pun, as well as anecdotes of the leather and willow, comfortably satisfied.
by Michael Holding
Pun: It’s quite simple, the man’s name is Michael Holding. And there is no holding him back.
The Book: Holding was arguably the finest fast bowler of the West Indies golden age, putting fear into batsmen for over a decade. He has since become one of the most respected voices in the game.
by Graeme Swann
Pun: He is an off spinner, so he bowls off breaks. So, literally, the breaks are off. It’s one of the finest pun titles around.
The Book: Swann is arguably the finest off spinner in the world, and undoubtedly the finest English spinner for a quarter of a century. He’s also a very funny man, and well worth a read.
by Herschelle Gibb
Pun: Herschelle Gibbs fielded in a position called point. Are you sensing a theme here?
The Book: The phrase ‘mad as a cut snake’ has been used more about Herschelle Gibbs than any other modern cricketer. To The Point caused a huge kerfuffle in cricket circles when it was released, a brutally honest look at the curious world of an International cricketer.
by Paul Barry
Pun: Shane Warne bowls spin. His management deals with his indiscretions with spin. Paul Barry puts it all aside. Spun Out.
The Book: Spun Out examines the most iconic Australian cricketer since Don Bradman. It’s a raw and confronting character study of a man millions of people have cheered for, and the cost of such admiration.
by Malcolm Speed
Pun: Even cricket administrators aren’t exempt from a good pun title. A sticky wicket is when a pitch is wet, making it extremely difficult to bat on. Malcolm Speed, once the CEO of the International Cricket Council, obviously feels his 10 years in the position was filled with similar challenges.
The Book: A beauty. A great look at the trials and tribulations of dealing with so many personalities and cultures inside an organisation and trying to unite them, with various degrees of success.
by Matt Prior
Pun: Matt Prior is a wicket-keeper. Wicket-keepers wear gloves. His Gloves Are Off, presumably because it’s difficult typing with them on. Seriously, so punny it hurts.
The Book: A key figure in England’s cricketing resurgence, Prior was blacklisted from international duties before fighting his way back to being on of England’s finest keeper-batsmen of the modern era.
by Paul Nixon
Pun: There is a special place in hell for wicketkeepers who don’t use puns in the title of their memoirs. Paul Nixon, with Keeping Quiet, is going straight to heaven with this cracker.
The Book: Paul Nixon was 37 years-old when he played his first game for England. The little fighter is one of the most-loved cricketers of his generation.
by Matthew Hayden
Pun: Sometimes you might get a dodgy decision from the umpire, and in today’s world of cricket, sometimes you can refer it to the third umpire. This is called Standing Your Ground. Matthew Hayden was dropped numerous times from the Australian Test and One-Day sides before finally finding a regular spot in the line up. Hence, Standing My Ground.
The Book: Matthew Hayden is one of the finest opening batsmen the world has ever seen, and thankfully one of the most articulate.
Time To Declare
by Michael Vaughan
Pun: When a captain wants his team to stop batting and have a bowl, he declares. Rest assured, nearly every cricketer who has ever captained their country will call their memoir Time To Declare, it’s practically the law.
The Book: Michael Vaughan saw it all. He was in an English team that was trounced in Australia, before captaining them to an historic victory in England just 3 years later. A revered figure in British sport.
Honorable Mentions:- Line and Strength by Glenn McGrath, Crossing the Boundary by Kevin Pietersen, Starting Out by Alastair Cook, The Turning Point by Daniel Vettori, Bowled Over by Stuart Broad, 80 not out by Dickie Bird.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
Follow Andrew: Twitter