Best Cricket Books: The most written about sport is cricket. You’re not the only cricket fan who enjoys reading about it as much as watching it. As expected, novels contain some of the best cricket writing. Newspaper sports sections also include good writing. Match reports, previous player articles, analysis, and features are there. Since Indian newspapers first dispatched reporters to cover this beautiful and intriguing sport, there has been a lot of outstanding writing about it.
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Cricket fans used to read newspaper match reports in the morning before TV. Multisensory. Sports writers’ lyrical prose made fans imagine their favorite athletes dancing. Scribes met deadlines and sent news items to the office swiftly without the Internet or cell phones so readers could read about the night before.
Here are some of the Best Cricket Books a cricket enthusiast should read to get a deeper understanding of the game:
Beyond a Boundary – CLR James:
The second part differs greatly. After thorough portraits of Constantine and George Headley, the book covers back-foot play, Trinidad’s history, 1960s county cricket, and Grace. That’s its charm, although there are other spots. “A famous liberal historian can write the social history of England in the 19th century, and two famous socialists can write what they declare to be the history of the common people in England, and together they never once mention the most famous Englishman of his time,” the chapter on WG Grace begins. He eloquently contextualizes Grace in his day. He claims that sports, including cricket, are culturally significant and have been throughout history.
Old Trinidadian cricketer Wilton St. Hill was one of the first black Caribbean batsmen to play for the West Indies. St. Hill’s duel with Steinbeck’s quick bowler George John is described in an astounding paragraph. St. Hill was “perfectly positioned, just behind the bowler’s arm” outside his bedroom window.
A Social History of English Cricket – Derek Birley:
Birley’s main point is that using cricket as a metaphor and a mirror to look at the social history of England is enough to show readers what has happened in the last 300 years. This is a well-researched history of England told through the lens of cricket. It has a lot of funny parts, which is one reason why it’s a great piece. It shows how much cheating and lying went on, which is a big part of what the Victorians brought to cricket in particular. The myth that cricket is England’s reflection is being blown up and popped at the same time.
Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the bad old days of Australian cricket – Christian Ryan
People think this is one of the best cricket books because it makes people feel very sad. It talks about how bad it might be if cricket was seen as both a team sport and a solo activity. Hughes’s batting skills are described in a way that makes it clear that he will never fit into either of these two golden eras of Australian cricket. Even the title of the book, “Golden Boy,” makes a painfully satirical joke about this. Lillee and Marsh only want to win, but Hughes says he plays to have fun and make people happy.
Australia 55 – Alan Ross:
In the past and even now, cricket tours started with a long trip abroad. This book is a classic in the tour-book genre. It tells the story of the historic Ashes-winning tour led by Len Hutton, who was determined but sometimes too pessimistic. Ross is a well-known literary editor and a great poet. In this work, he gives us a fascinating dual story: the tragedies and heroes of cricket, of course, but also a sly, lyrical picture of a nation still trying to find its modern identity.
The Art of Captaincy – Mike Brearley:
In doing so, his clear dissertation not only walks the reader through the different traps, strategies, and dangers of being a cricket captain, but also shows how hard the game is both mentally and strategically. He is the philosopher-king of cricket and may be England’s most successful captain. Brearley talks about how playing cricket can have as many lows as highs, which is something that not every captain, whether on the village green or in a Test match, realizes. Ian Botham was known for saying that he had “a degree in people.” Brearley does this with the kind of care that is his trademark.
Beyond Bat and Ball – David Foot:
Foot, who lives in the West Country and writes about cricket for the Guardian, is a great source of gentle wisdom. As shown here, his specialty is getting below the surface and showing sensitively how hard and even tortured people’s lives can be. Most of the people he paints become martyrs, to a greater or lesser extent, to a game that can take a terrible toll. The last of the 11 profiles is about Tom Richardson, who played cricket for Surrey and England in the 1890s. He had more heart and determination than anyone else, but, like so many professional athletes, he struggled with retirement and died in France in 1912 under mysterious and ominous circumstances.
The Cricket War – Gideon Haigh:
In the last 50 years, one thing stands out more than any other: Kerry Packer’s daring business move in 1977, which shook up the cricketing world and led directly to the game being shown on TV, along with other changes like lights, white balls, and colored clothes. Almost everything that has happened since then has been affected by that controversial demarche, including the English government’s “100 Balls” announcement. Mr. Haigh, a well-known cricket historian and a very popular author, tells the story in a way that can’t be argued with. This is not therapy literature for cricketers, but sometimes it’s best to avoid a hard truth.
The Unquiet Ones – Osman Samiuddin:
It persuasively argues that cricket should be used to view this nation cut from British India. Pakistan’s cricket history is also its history. One of the best cricket books. Pakistan is building a cricket stadium in the middle of nowhere, like many others. Thus, Pakistani history includes the process by which the Pakistan cricket team travels to England and wins its first Test match there, the Indo-Pakistan relationship, the conflict between the elite who have received British education and those who do not speak English, and the effects of Islam in later years.
Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India – Ronojoy Sen:
Ronojoy Sen mixes a fresh history of India’s sports with a thorough assessment of the country’s cultural and political growth under monarchy, colonialism, and independence from the dawn of time. Some Indian-born sports, like cricket, have become indigenous to India, while others have declined. Sen’s creative work reframes sport as an educational exercise reflecting a specific game with power, morality, aesthetics, identity, and money rather than a simple expression of human competitiveness. Sen shows how colonialism, nationalism, and free market liberalization transformed athletics from a royal pastime to a common obsession.
He emphasizes on the prevalence of cricket in Indian culture and the difficulties of a billion-person nation to compete in international athletic events like the Olympics. Sen cleverly uses popular media and other unexpected sources to show the political side of sport in India as well as the patronage, clientage, and institutionalization patterns that have brought this diverse nation together for millennia.
The Commonwealth of Cricket – Ramachandra Guha:
In the early 1960s, Ramachandra Guha started watching cricket. India had never won a Test match abroad. India became the cricket superpower 50 years later when he joined the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The Commonwealth of Cricket describes this astonishing transformation in first-person. From school to college to club to state to national, the book covers India’s cricket history. It vividly depicts regional icons, international stars, and local heroes.
The author’s philosophical background informs The Commonwealth of Cricket. Social and historical change frames the narrative and sketches. The best cricket novels blend memoir, narrative, reportage, and political commentary to paint a complete, insightful, and engaging portrait of the nation’s most popular sport.
There are some others Best Cricket Books mention here:
1. Days in the Sun by Neville Cardus
In the 1920s, Cardus, a working-class Manchester autodidact, found fame reporting cricket matches for the Manchester Guardian.
2. Australia 55 by Alan Ross
In the old days, cricket tours were leisurely affairs, starting with the long journey, and this account of Len Hutton’s epic Ashes-winning tour is a classic of tour books.
3. Beyond a Boundary by CLR James
“What do they know about cricket?” famously asked the West Indian writer. This is a compelling blend of memoir, history, polemic, and technical analysis, all tied together with a sense of deep personal commitment.
4. The Art of Captaincy by Mike Brearley
Probably England’s best captain – and the philosopher-king of cricket – explains everything… In the process, his lucid treatise not only guides the reader through the many tricks, traps and pitfalls of being a captain, but also reveals just how complex the game is, both mentally and tactically.
5. Concerning Cricket by John Arlott
Originally a poet, Arlott became a top-flight cricket writer and legendary radio commentator in the postwar years.
6. Beyond Bat and Ball by David Foot
Foot is one of the Guardian’s most cherishable cricket writers, based in the West Country.
7. The Cricket War by Gideon Haigh
Kerry Packer’s bold entrepreneurial coup in 1977 split the cricket world and led to the game’s capture by television, which included innovations like floodlights, white balls, and colored clothes.
8. One More Run by Stephen Chalke
This is one of the few cricket books that focuses on a single match. Chalke lovingly recreates Gloucestershire’s three-day encounter with Yorkshire at Cheltenham in 1957, using mostly the memories of “Bomber” Wells, off-spinner and raconteur.
9. A Corner of a Foreign Field by Ramachandra Guha
For so long, India was the Cinderella of world cricket: Don Bradman never played there, nor many leading English players. Today, the IPL formula (exuberant crowds, huge TV audiences, mega-bucks, brash and noisy spectacle, sixes all the way) continues to hold sway.
10. Cricket: The Game of Life by Scyld Berry
If more rigorously edited, this would have been a modern classic. In spite of this, it’s still an enjoyable and insightful potpourri of cricket’s eras and locations.