RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Cricket's Great Entertainers

Cricket's Great Entertainers
Henry Blofelded

First published in Great Britain by Hodder and Stoughton
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Henry Blofeld has been a cricket writer for forty-two years. He is leading commentator for the BBC's 'Test Match Special' and writes for the Independent and the Independent on Sunday. He was awarded the OBE in January 2003.

As a cricket writer and historian with an encyclopaedic knowledge and a unique brand of wickedly sharp humour, Henry Blofeld is the ideal man to select the great players (not to mention a few notable commentators) who have livened up the sport over the years.

The book has been divided into six parts - 1830 to 1914, 1919 to 1939, 1946 to 1966, 1967 to 1987, 1988 to 2003 and a watching brief.

Barry Richards has been paid a rich tribute by Henry Blofeld. "In all the years I have spent watching cricket I have never seen anyone making the art of batting look simpler than Barry Richards. I was lucky enough to see the four Test matches he played for South Africa against Australia in 1969-70 when Australia were demolished 4-0. Richards scored 508 runs in that series for an average of 72.57 with two hundreds. He contributed handsomely to one of the great sessions in the history of Test cricket."

Comparing the two fielding legends, Blofeld remarked: In South Africa the argument will rage forever as to whether Colin Bland or Jonty Rhodes was the better fielder. What is beyond argument is that fielding at the level to which these two have taken it is as entrancing as any other aspect of the game played at its best. For me, the palm goes by a whisker to Bland. He was more clinical, less
obviously ebullient than Rhodes, the killer instinct seemed sharper, and there was perhaps a greater precision with Bland."

Ian Botham, according to Blofeld, has never done anything by halves and this is one of his great attractions for it makes him so compelling and irresistible. When he was at his prime in the late seventies and early eighties, he was almost as well known a figure as David Beckham is today. The only other cricketer the country has taken to its heart in the same way was Denis Compton in the immediate post-war years when that famous advertisement for Brylcream beamed down from so many huge advertising boards.

Blofeld believes Vivian Richards was the most exciting batsman he has ever seen. When he was in the mood to destroy it did not matter where you bowled to him. His lightning reflexes enabled him to find an attacking stroke for every ball, provided it was within his reach. One wonders if any other batsman in the history of the game has had the same ability to obliterate an attack.

As regards Sachin Tendulkar, Blofeld says: "It is not easy to live with the title of the Best Batsman in the World'. It is part of Sachin Tendulkar's charm that you would never guess that he does have to live with it. His charming demure smile and his slightly shy manner suggest a man who would have trouble in persuading himself of the need to crush a beetle, let alone dismiss the most dangerous bowlers in the world to all points of the compass. There is never even a hint of brutality in his batting."

The book deserves to be bought, read and pondered. Beautifully produced and lavishly illustrated, the publication is a must for collectors of cricket literature.