RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
The Magic of Spin - Australia's Greatest Spin Bowlers - Ashley Mallett
The Magic of Spin - Australia's Greatest Spin Bowlers - Ashley Mallett

Published in 2019 by
Hardie Grant Books
An imprint of Hardie Grant Publishing
Building 1, 658 Church Street,
Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia

ISBN 978 1 74379 578 1

Pages: 275
Price: Aus. $29.99

Australia have produced some of the greatest spin bowlers the World has seen over the years.

In his outstanding publication, The Magic of Spin, the legendary cricketer, Ashley Mallett uses his immense knowledge of the game to explore the evolution and mysteries of spin bowling through the lives of Australia's Masters.

In his Foreword, former Australian captain, Ian Chappell remarked: "Of the many positive traits that Mallett possessed as a spin bowler, there was one that stood out: the better the batsman, the better he bowled."

"Since retiring Mallett has been a prolific writer, employing his knowledge of the game and the characters who played it and spicing his work with his quirky sense of humour. Having enjoyed many years playing and touring alongside Mallett, I'm now pleased to read his observations on the difficult art of spin bowling. No one is better qualified to write about the magic of spin through the decades than Ashley Mallett".

Ashley introduces us to more than 40 of Australia's greatest spin bowlers, including Bill O'Reilly, who Sir Donald Bradman had called the greatest bowler he had ever seen; Clarrie Grimmett, arguably the 'father' of spin bowling in Australia; and the greatest spinner of the modern era, Shane Warne.

There is no substitute for bowling for hours at the nets, according to Mallett. "The young spinner must develop a nice easy repeatable action. It should be simple. Move in rhythmically, drive up and over the braced front leg at delivery and rotate the shoulders like a wheel. When we talk about working hard at the nets, we mean bowling as if you were bowling in a match. Work the batsman over, change pace and break the batsman's rhythm. It is important to bowl from different points of the crease so that the ball is arriving from slightly different angles. That messes with the batsman's mind - and it means he can't just keep playing the same shot."

The book has been divided into seven main chapters, namely, before the great war, between the wars, after the war, the Benaud era, the interregnum, the Shane Warne era and the World after Warne.

Warne has been paid a rich tribute by Mallett. "Warne had the unerring accuracy of a medium pacer, the ferocity of an express bowler and everything that most other spinners don't have: the ability to control the game and to control the batsman, and then dismiss him. He had the leg break, the top-spinner, the wrong'un - and the flipper, unsighted it seemed for a generation and more, passed to him in an unbroken chain from its creator, Clarrie Grimmett. Warner also had the zooter and the slider, which most people had never heard of. He changed the language of the game. He had drama. He had guile. He had psychology."

The Magic of Spin will kindle the memories of the old and fire the enthusiasm of the young, proving that spin bowling is a kind of magic. It is an art form that will continue to hold its own fascination, even mystery, for generations of cricket-lovers to come.

This superb publication from Hardie Grant Books is a quality production, which is a welcome addition to the library of any true cricket lover interested in the Australian spinners.