Cricket Films Worth Watching

Following on (See what I did there?) from my recent post titled ‘Cricket Books Worth Reading’…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2018/11/28/cricket-books-worth-reading/

Here are some cricket films that are well worth watching. As was the case with books, it’s pretty much all non-fiction (Documentaries). Oh, and actually some of them are books as well…

Death of a Gentleman

For cynics of cricket’s top brass, feast on this!

Fire in Babylon

Focusing on West Indian success throughout the 1970s and 80s.

Out of the Ashes

This film charts the rapid rise of the Afghanistan men’s team… including the unceremonious ditching of their coach!

Warriors

I bet that you never thought you’d watch a film about cricket and female genital mutilation did you?

Here’s the link to my original write-up…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2017/01/19/warriors-dvd-review/

Howzat: Kerry Packer’s War

This is actually a two-part television drama and the book that it’s based on featured in my ‘… Worth Reading’ list…

https://sillypointcricket.com/2017/06/29/christopher-lee-howzat-book-review/

In terms of fiction, there are films such as P’tang Yang Kipperbang and Wondrous Oblivion to Watch.

Lookout for my review of Sachin: A Billion Dreams soon. Because somebody’s getting it for Christmas!!!

Cricket Books Worth Reading

Hi followers

Here’s are some cricket books that I’ve read that I’d thoroughly recommend you do too. Some books I read before I started this blog but where I’ve already reviewed a book, I’ve provided the link.

Ed Smith Playing Hardball

There’s a great line in this book that explains the fundamental difference between baseball and cricket. It’s one that’s really good to have a handle on to understand the one of the two you’re less familiar with.

Tim Lane and Elliot Cartledge Chasing Shadows: The Life and Death of Peter Roebuck

A book bound to stir discomfort amongst some, this seems a fairly written effort of a delicate subject, a delicate life. I can’t claim to have been overly familiar with Roebuck before reading this book recently. Of course I knew the name but as I wrote in my review… I judged the book and not the man.

https://sillypointcricket.com/2018/09/22/elliot-cartledge-and-tim-lane-chasing-shadows-the-life-and-death-of-peter-roebuck-book-review/

Christopher Lee Howzat

An insight into Kerry Packer and how he changed the face of cricket. It’s all very apt given the so many changes occurring on the global cricket horizon right now and in the not too distant past. Traditionalists may despise him but cricket would look a lot different if it weren’t for Packer or certainly wouldn’t have progressed at the same rate.

https://sillypointcricket.com/2017/06/29/christopher-lee-howzat-book-review/

Peter Obourne Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan

What’s great about this book is that you don’t just learn about the history of cricket in Pakistan but about the history of Pakistan in general. Not surprisingly, it’s an exhaustive read but one that makes me long to discover written histories of other cricket nations.

The following three books are essential reading for fans like me who long for the game to blossom outside of the Test circuit.

Tim Brooks Cricket on the Continent

https://sillypointcricket.com/2016/11/20/tim-brooks-cricket-on-the-continent-book-review/

Tim Wigmore and Peter Miller Second XI: Cricket in its Outposts

Roy Morgan Real International Cricket: A History in One Hundred Scorecards

https://sillypointcricket.com/2017/03/03/roy-morgan-real-international-cricket-book-review/

There are others, some that I’ve enjoyed, others that I haven’t. You can find all my book reviews here…

https://sillypointcricket.com/category/book-reviews/

I’ve currently got a stash of more bat ‘n’ ball themed books waiting to be read so look out for more reviews in 2019!

Simon Hughes: Who Wants to be a Batsman? Book Review

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of Simon Hughes and this book has done nothing to alter that. The writing is a little too self-indulgent for my liking. In Hughes’ defence, it’s obviously understandable that he should be inking based on his own experiences.

Hughes is clearly obsessed with Mark Ramprakash and of course he’s not alone in being so. The author also seems particularly keen to raise the profile of his daughter, a very talented cricketer according to Hughes’ unbiased opinion!

In amongst the drivel are a couple of really insightful passages, which in a perverse way are what make this book disappointing. By that I mean you must plough through a chapter or two to find interesting content. I’m possibly being a little harsh but Hughes’ onscreen persona has never endeared himself to me. He joins the long list of analysers who confirm that to have played the game doesn’t automatically make you an insightful pundit!

That said, I’ll repeat that there are one or two profound insights amongst the pages and all this adds up to a Silly Point score of…

Stumped on 59!

Upcoming Articles

img_1474

With the recent addition to the blog of audio casts to compliment the written word and with lots of cricket being played at all levels around the world, there’s much to look forward to at Silly Point throughout the rest of 2018.

Topics for future posts may include but not be limited to: The inaugural edition of Global T20 Canada, T20I status provided to all Associate Cricket nations, Telegraph Fantasy Cricket updates, the release of Cricket Captain 18, further Ashes Cricket (PS4) reports, book reviews, the author’s own efforts on the village circuit, first hand accounts of men’s and women’s ODI cricket (Trips to The Grange, Edinburgh and Headingley are booked!) and thoughts on England’s Test side’s continued woeful run of form (For the pessimists!)/renaissance (For the optimists!).

IMG_3661

Next year Silly Point will bring you match reports from the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and there’s sure to be many posts to keep readers and listeners occupied in the meantime.

Graeme Fowler: Absolutely Foxed Book Review

IMG_3990

I never saw Graeme Fowler play cricket. He was just a little before my time but I knew the name and had heard a little about his contributions to the game and his life, so I picked up a copy of his book with my bookshop gift card that I received for Christmas.

The book focuses on three main things, they are Fowler’s playing days, his work with the University based Centres of Excellence and his mental health.

Fowler comes across as a person who backs his own opinion, a man you wouldn’t want to argue with. At the same time he’s brave enough to be incredibly open about his depression. Like any autobiography, you would hope that the protagonist would avoid ironing out the bad and only offering the good. Fowler does that.

The Lancashire native touches upon the suggestion that some have put forward, that he was fortunate to play for England when others were out of the picture for one reason or another. To that, I say “It’s not about how you get your opportunities but about what you do with them”. However fortunate he was to get the opportunity at the highest level, Fowler scored in excess of one thousand Test runs and recorded three centuries in the process. There are a lot of players who have had the chance and not grabbed it to the extent that he did. Yes there are those that have done even better but to average 35.32 in Test cricket is no disgrace.

As with the examples of other former cricketers such as Marcus Trescothick, Michael Yardy and Jonathan Trott, providing exposure to the mental health issues of international sportsmen, Fowler’s contribution can only help further people’s understanding of mental health, whether it be their own or somebody else’s.

I’ve detailed on my blog before how I think that universities could help breed competitive cricket in England, in the same way that college sport provides budding professionals in USA. Fowler has helped develop cricketers for England through the Centres of Excellence and clearly possesed an indisputable passion for his efforts.

I’m providing Graeme Fowler’s ‘Absolutely Foxed’ with an innings of:

82 not out

Christopher Lee: Howzat Book Review

IMG_3491

It happens to be a rather appropriate time to be reviewing Christopher Lee’s take on World Series Cricket (Supertests and all), what with the addition to the cricket calendar of pink ball day/night County Championship matches that were rolled out for the first time this week.

Lee actually wrote the screenplay for the TV drama of this book with the writing of the book coming post TV production. It’s an insightful read with a clear Ozzie vibe. The focus is on WSC’s chief instigator Kerry Packer, his challenging of the establishment and the changes that WSC cricket brought. It’s not all about Packer though. John Cornell, described by Gideon Haigh as ‘a floating creative catalyst’ is among the others that ultimately changed the way we see cricket today, literally given what they did regards camerawork. The establishment boys didn’t like the changes. Some still don’t. Reading about the pink ball county matches this week I came across one journalist trying to convince the reader that it’s not the weather that’s been at fault but that there’s simply no hunger for late night pink ball affairs. Actually there is. Even if the crowds were no better than usual, if the attendees were different people to the norm then that’s great. Cricket is for all. If some fans can attend day games and some night games then let’s have both. Just because something is new and different doesn’t mean that people need be scared by… CHANGE! Let’s not forget that a lot of people won’t have known about the different schedule for this week’s matches but them actually happening will have caught some people’s attention. Obviously it’s still four-day (First Class) cricket so unlike one-day (List A) games or T20 matches, fans won’t necessarily get a result but let’s not throw the idea in the bin yet. Let’s welcome pink ball day/night games to the County Championship next year with open arms.

Forgive me, I digress but the parallels with cricket today (day/night matches, T20 leagues, international restructure, ‘The Big Three’, TV rights etc) with what was occurring in the 1970s are clear for everybody to see.

Crocodile Dundee even gets a few mentions in Lee’s literature and having seen the Howzat TV drama sometime ago, before I was as obsessed with the sport of bat ‘n’ ball as I am now, I’m keen to view it again. From what I can recall the book very precisely follows the same path as the TV production.

Christopher Lee’s Howzat is essential reading for any cricket geek and now is an acutely appropriate time to read it.

Lee’s Howzat finishes undefeated on…

91 not out

Roy Morgan: Real International Cricket Book Review

img_2689

Warning! This article contains spoilers. It’s not so much a book review but a selection of highlights or/and lowlights from Roy Morgan’s exhaustively detailed and passionately presented Real International Cricket. Remember how at school you were told not to use Wikipedia as a source for your homework, well Morgan says ‘Howzat’ to that as he proudly uses Wiki to pool source information for his tables found in the latter pages of this 280-page epic. To be fair, he’s also scoured the archives of the Lagos Daily News, Saint Helena Telegraph and The Philadelphia Inquirer to name just a few!

img_2811

Five run outs. Steady on boys, you’ve travelled 345 miles from Toronto to New York for this!

img_2812

Poor W.L. Fraser of Scotland. Everybody else made double figures against Ireland but you quacked!

img_2813

Two bowlers, five wickets each, both 34 runs. Damn you Bannerman-Hesse for needing that extra delivery!

img_2818

Morgan informs us that Danish wicketkeeper Jorgen Holmen popped up once for the national team in 1973. He promptly conceded 13 byes, dropped a catch, made scores of 0 and 0 not out and never played cricket for his country again.

Where are you now Jorgen?

img_2819

A good indicator of how cricket has spread around the globe and prospered amongst indigenous or local populations, or not as the case may be, is the French line-up from 1997. Jones, Hewitt and Edwards et al, proper French names!

img_2820

6-1 for Maldives’ Neesham Nasir. A bit expensive conceding that run Neesham!

img_2821

A 510-run defeat in a 50 over match. New Caledonia’s Boaoutho’s 0-132 from eleven overs was so bad that the umpires even let him bowl an over more than he should have been allowed to!

img_2822

The priceless Pritchard Pritchard makes an appearance in 2011 and promptly clobbers 28 not out, including three sixes from just ten deliveries for Samoa.

Another warning! Unless you’re a cricket tragic, this book probably isn’t for you. If however you enjoy reading about obscure corners of the world, sympathising with numerous poor sods that voyaged for weeks to bat at eleven and not bowl or have a good old healthy obsession with the world’s number one bat ‘n’ ball game then this book is well worth a peruse.

Roy Morgan’s Real International Cricket scores an undefeated…

83 not out