“Never judge a book by its cover,” my Dad (and probably most others in the world) used to say. Maybe due to the rebel in me, or youthful naivety, I thought he was speaking in tongues again. Yes yes, the contents are what’s most important, but I’ve always maintained that if the cover is good, the insides must be even better. That’s right: I am that stupid. Pillock though I am, my methods haven’t yet let me down.
This book isn’t one of them, but it might as well be. I’ve seen it lying on my boss’s desk and it’s only a matter of time before I wade through it. And Patrick’s reviewed it for the paper, in which he says:
THERE IS SOMETHING almost autistic about cricket lovers. Not those who can actually play. Nor the Barmy Army types, whose main purpose at a match, it appears, is to tell fellow spectators in a beer-soaked caterwaul that everywhere they go, people want to know who they are and so on.
The most touching scenes are of Simkins the child, playing cricket in his fatherâ€™s sweet-shop in Brighton, spending his holidays at the county ground in Hove trying to get autographs or constructing an entire seasonâ€™s county championship under his bed with a dice game. It brought back memories of another rather sad child who devised a complicated set of rules based on my calculatorâ€™s random number generator so that I could play cricket during maths lessons.
Ah, Howzat. Every cricket fan has been there, though I found history the best lesson in which to steal the strike. What amazed me was how devastating Wacar Yewniss (for that is how my dyslexic friend spelled his name) was. Even in fantasy land, he sent down toe-crushers. I think my worst was 2 all out. And did anyone else play table football with a 10p piece? (also available in rugby and hockey editions, depending on your inventiveness in creating goalposts with your hands). Halcyon days.