Omair Alavi|Sports|January 26, 2020
Contrary to popular belief, cricket began way before there was Test cricket and this book takes you back in time when there were no balls (sometimes they used cats as balls), no middle-stump and no helmets
Cricket is a funny game but if you go through The Random History of Cricket – Silly Mid-offs & Baffling Wrong ‘Uns by Justyn Barnes and Aubrey Day, you will find it funnier than any other sport.
The book does stay true to its word and discusses the random history of cricket but in a way that no other person would have done. Add Tony Husband’s quirky illustrations and you have a book that not only chronicles major funny incidents but also gives you the comic effect through illustrations.
Contrary to popular belief, cricket began way before there was Test cricket and this book takes you back in time when there were no balls (sometimes they used cats as balls), no middle-stump and no helmets. All there was were cricket bats, lots of free time and discrimination that kept the Gentlemen and the Players apart.
This book is full of hilarious details about such things as use of cats instead of balls, the invention of the first-ever bowling machine and a match that was fixed so badly that neither team wanted to win.
The way each incident is discussed makes it fun to read because the writers use cricket lingo in the best way possible, making it easier on the eyes. They mention the colour blind third umpire, the under-arm bowling incident, the first incident of a team scoring over 1000 runs as well as playing the sport on a ship as if they were not historical incidents but something that just happened.
Cricket’s most infamous names also make it to the book, including Pakistani umpire Shakoor Rana, habitual lawbreaker Shane Warne, Aussie Umpire Ross Emerson, and South Africa’s match-fixing captain Hansie Cronje.
While going through the book, you will know who was the game’s first streaker (and how he was treated), who used an aluminum bat (and was reprimanded for that), the school-boy who took on seniors (and became a legend) and Sunil Gavaskar’s useless World Cup knock (that helped the other side). These incidents are detailed in such a way that you will not keep yourself from smiling.
On the whole, this book gives you an insight into the game’s history and even though you might believe that you know it all, you don’t.
Half of the incidents mentioned in this book were new to me so get your hands on it and brag about the game’s history in front of your friends. Not many of them would know how the creator of the Wrong ‘Un was treated when it was revealed, why England lost their first Test abroad and the true story behind Sir Garry Sobers’ six sixes off Malcolm Nash. Make sure you know of these incidents before you go ahead and impress your friends.