RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
NOT IN MY DAY, SIR - Cricket Letters to The Daily Telegraph

Cricket Letters to The Daily Telegraph

Edited by Martin Smith

Published by:
Aurum Press Limited,
7 Greenland Street,
London NW1 OND
website: www.aurumpress.co.uk

Liz Somers (Publicity Manager Aurum Press)

Pages :

Price :
Sterling Pounds 14.99

A truly remarkable effort by Martin Smith to put together a collection of the very best cricket letters to The Daily Telegraph. All the major controversies down the years are covered from Bodyline to the Basil D'Oliveira and Packer affairs to match-fixing.

It is an excellent collection, chronologically presented since 1928, when the Telegraph first introduced a daily letters section. Over the years, the contributors finding space in the Letters page include Percy G.H. Fender and C.B.Fry, the finest cricket correspondents like E.W.Swanton and Neville Cardus, and Presidents past and present of MCC. Through The Daily Telegraph's pages, present and former cricketers expressed their views, justifying themselves.

Martin Smith believed at times cricket was elevated to such a matter of national importance that it led the letters section. "Nowhere was that better illustrated than during the controversy over Bodyline (or Fast Leg Theory, if you prefer) during England's 1932-33 tour to Australia, when a number of bouncers and beamers found their way into the letters column. The d'Oliveira and Packer affairs of 1968 and 1977-78 also raised hackles and the arguments of both sides make interesting reading. Slightly lesser squabbles, such as those centring on Ken Barrington's six-hour century for
England against Pakistan, and that over the dirt in Michael
Atherton's pocket, also produced lively debate.

In between, there were regular comparisons with the past, great fets, great players, funny turns. Often the writers would drift into an easy-going set of reminiscences, putting each other right, about, say, E.M.Grace, C.B.Fry or Sir Donald Bradman; whether the correct terminology is 'the wicket' or 'the pitch'; and the conundrum of 'why it is that wickets are pitched to start the day's play but stumps are drawn to end it'.

One of the letters included in the book mentions: "Sir - When I got married in 1955 my husband told me he was going to give me the greatest thrill a girl could have on her honeymoon; he took me to Lord's."

Martin Smith's book has excellent binding, jacket and lay-out, which all enhance the fascinating material.