Days of our Lives!

July 24, 2012

Book Review: It Takes All Sorts: Celebrating Cricket’s Colourful Characters – Peter Roebuck

Filed under: Books,Sports — Santhosh @ 12:25 AM
Book: It Takes All Sorts: Celebrating Cricket’s Colourful Characters
Author: Peter Roebuck
Genre: Anthology, Sports

I’ve always liked reading Roebuck, who’s been one of that rarest of breeds: the cricketer-turned-mediaman who is actually good at this second inning. His writing always looked at the bigger picture, never was there a hint of parochialism, and was one of the few that held original thought, thoughtful ideas, and incisive opinion. Foremost though, was his writing style and quality. Lyrical prose of Edwardian timbre adorning the back pages of newspapers, a delight any day. Unlike any sports article required or managed to do, you could read his articles purely for the joy of writing, the events and people being described becoming incidental happenstances. Of course, there have been times where I’ve wished he’d just get to the damn point and let ’em rip, but, as with all things, I miss his writing after his tragic passing.

This book is a collection of articles and writing published over a decade (approximately 1994 to 2004) and has some excellent vignettes within: immediate impressions of some of the grandest innings and spells; the first published article about a 17-yr old Ricky Ponting (where his mates call him “Sachin” for the prodigy he was developing into); an impression of Kevin Pietersen playing Sunday grade cricket in Australia during his initial days in the wilderness; the farewells to Merv Hughes and the Waugh Twins; the common-man connection of Allan Border with the Aussie public; the background stories of Klusener and a host of other African, Dutch and Asian players; the moving eulogies for some recent passed cricketers – Ben Hollioake, Malcolm Marshall, Corey Doyle, Don Bradman; impromptu games by a far-retired Lillee, noiseless cricket by the deaf, articles praising the brightest of futures for a developing club/county player(s) (who we now know never made it), etc.

Unlike non-fiction where you have to concentrate and analyze and think, and unlike fiction where it always ends up being a page-turner which you tend to rush through, this is a perfect lazy-Sunday-afternoon book to curl up with as the Sun sets in a hazy blaze of orange and the Bangalore monsoon pitter-patters on the windows.

My Rating: 4/5

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