Favourite Cricket Writers


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Favourite Cricket Writers

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Nov. 4, 2006, 5:42am

Just wondering who people's favourite writers on cricket were? In my case I think it's the incomparable Neville Cardus and everbody's favourite Hampshire man John Arlott. Both pretty much ancient writers though. Anyone have more modern recommendations?


Feb. 3, 2009, 1:28am

I grew up watching cricket, but have not been able to watch regularly since I moved to US in the mid 90s. I am told that sometime Indian test cricketer Aakash Chopra, who writes regularly for cricinfo.com, is an excellent cricket writer. His new book, about domestic cricket in India is out and I am hoping to get it soon. I certainly enjoyed Cardus and Arlott. On a slightly different not, I really enjoyed watching "Ashes Fever", a BBC documentary on 2005 Ashes.

Feb. 3, 2009, 3:35am

#2, naastik: I second Aakash Chopra as a fine writer, and Rahul Dravid has also written some good columns on Cricinfo, but I think the prince of modern (online) cricket writers is Kumar Sangakkara - the quality of his writing is outstanding. I hope that he takes up cricket writing full time when his playing career ends.

Ramachandra Guha's A Corner of a Foreign Field is the best cricket book I've read for a long time, and I plan to read it again before India tours New Zealand.

I think it's hard to go past John Arlott among the "ancients".

Feb. 13, 2009, 2:17am

Not a fan of Cardus. Makes up too much of his stuff. Don't like reading an anecdote or quote knowing that it is probably a deliberate lie :-)

No clear favourites but Fingleton, Frith and Arlott would come near the top.

Feb. 13, 2009, 10:03pm

PeterCat, this is the first time I am hearing about Cardus's fabrications. Do you have any pointers to specific stuff he made up in this cricket or music writing?

Feb. 14, 2009, 6:45am

Well, naastik, I think the best prosecution witness that we can call is probably Cardus himself. In his second autobiography, “Full Score” (London: Cassell, 1970), he tells us how he wrote his report on the third day of the England v South Africa Test at Leeds in 1929. South Africa had finished the second day on 116 for 7 in the third innings of the match, only 24 ahead of England. In Cardus's own words:

“I decided to depart from Leeds on the evening of the second day of this now obviously completed Test match … I decided to go to London and spend a day in the country with Milady … We arrived back in London round about 6 o' clock. To my horror I saw an evening paper poster in Whitehall: 'SOUTH AFRICA'S GREAT RECOVERY'. … What could I do? The Manchester Guardian would be waiting for my from-the-spot hot report. … I rushed to my club and consulted the tape messages reporting the bare details … From these useful details and statistics I composed a column of 'eye-witness' descriptive writing. I then consulted the Bradshaw railway guide and saw that a train from Leeds arrived in London at nine o'clock, so I timed myself dramatically to rush into the office of the Manchester Guardian with my report. … A fortnight later, during the Test match at Manchester, the South African captain … came to me to congratulate me on the account I had written … 'You must have had the field-glasses on Owen-Smith the whole time,' he said. The field-glasses of imagination! The point of this virtuoso report, written 200 miles from the spot, is that I knew how Owen-Smith batted; I had watched him carefully many times before he had played his superb 129 at Leeds in my absence.”

Like PeterCat, I would not like to place too much reliance on Cardus as a factual reporter. However, judging him purely as a writer, I would rate his cricket and music writings very highly, though his style is sometimes a bit too flowery and his enthusiasms a bit too violent for my taste.