My Favourite Cricketer (The Wisden Cricketer) Review: ***** Five Stars
This slim hardback edition comprises a selection of mini- biographies that were, at one time, all previously published within The Wisden Cricketer magazine.
It benefits from a broad and eclectic range of contributors; ranging from established sports journalists like John Inverdale to people such as the actor Stephen Tomkinson. The cricketers profiled in this book reflect an equally idiosyncratic selection. There are some very well known international players such as Mike Atherton and Allan Lamb, but this volume also greatly benefits from exploring the lives and careers of some of the more obscure, but equally fascinating players.
The entries are sometimes hilarious and sometimes deeply moving and poignant. They often reflect as much on the childhood cricketing memories of the author as they do on their sporting subjects. For instance, the late Hugh Massingberd’s piece on Ally Brown was written shortly before he died from cancer and he observes that he has relied on ‘this marvellous modern master to cheer me up’.
This is a very accessible book, packed full of excellent colour photographs of the exploits of its cricketing subjects in action on the field. You can easily dip ‘in and out’ of it as the mood takes you. Each entry also bears up to being read more than once and, if you are fortunate enough, as I was a couple of years ago, to meet one of the great cricketers who are discussed in this book you can add an autograph or two to its pages (I managed to do this when I met the wonderful Garry Sobers, who came to give a talk at the school where I teach).
This book is a real treat both for long time enthusiasts of the game and for those just interested in the human stories that lie within its pages. I would definitely highly recommend it.