Saturday, April 21, 2012

Review: And God Created Cricket – Simon Hughes

Former veteran county cricketer now cricket journalist Simon Hughes posits this work as being something of an antithesis to the efforts provided by most cricketing historians. Hughes even goes as far to mention that those works developed by ex-Prime Ministers are too serious. 'And God Created Cricket' is a light hearted romp through centuries of cricket (not to mention debauchery, skulduggery, and downright bad manners).

Hughes has researched others works to provide the flow of events from which he latches onto the more obscure notes of players and matches and embellishes the stories to their full extent. One must credit Hughes for sticking to the historical script well, providing those with less desire for details, a work of ease to get a picture of the history of cricket. But there are flaws.

Firstly, as a tabloid journalist one should not be surprised, Hughes seems incapable of allowing a chapter to pass without finding need to mention or compare cricket to Premiership Football. Really if you had never heard of Hughes the cricketer (and likely given his mediocre career you would not have) you would think that he is a Football journalist trying his hand at something new. Some of the references are just a waste of words. Cricket has a history longer and with far greater depth than any football code, to feel it necessary to attract readership this way is missing the point.

Secondly, there are a number of errors throughout the book, the sort of errors that should never get through good proof reading and editing, but they did. These are not errors of judgement in interpreting history but errors of name. The 1930's Australian batsman was Vic Richardson, not Viv; and the bowler Fleetwood-Smith's Christian name was not Laurie, but Leslie and in fact he was better known as 'Chuck'. Simple things that with some care would have been avoided and may have helped the more educated readership enjoy the book more.

Fair is fair, as a cricketing purist I was unlikely to rate this book above Tennis Balls when I seek so much from cricketing literature, but it does not even make this.  Marbles.

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