Search for your sports books:

MoneyMap

Read Review
<back to archive

Arlott, Swanton and the Soul of English Cricket By Stephen Fay and David Kynaston

Release date: 18th April, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury Sport

List Price: 20.00
Our Price: 14.41
You Save: 5.59 (27%)
Buy Now

Readers intrigued by the second part of this engaging book’s title may wonder whether master communicators Arlott and Swanton once shed any light on its whereabouts. Arlott died in 1991 and Swanton in 2000, aged 93, but it appears that, frustratingly, neither man ever revealed where the game’s soul was buried.

If the ‘where’ is a difficult question to answer, the ‘how’ and ‘why’ are considerably more straight forward.

It could be argued that following the advent of the one-day game (the Gillette Cup in 1963 and the John Player League six years later), English domestic cricket began its slow, inexorable journey towards the sporting shadows. Today’s cricket is all about internationals, be they money-spinning Test series, overlong ODI series, World Cups, or the IPL, events and tournaments that have made a handful of cricketers moderately rich while the domestic county game has withered on the vine.

Messrs Arlott and Swanton were never bosom buddies; instead they tolerated each other, but each man saw the writing on the wall, understanding that one-day matches could save cricket and attract a new cohort of younger supporters, though neither envisaged a time when one-day contests would effectively supersede the county game.

The pair disliked the steady creep of bad behaviour on the field of play and neither man was a fan of intimidatory bowling. Swanton felt the only way to outlaw a constant diet of bouncers was to legislate against them; Arlott was more circumspect, preferring the introduction of protective clothing and headgear.

This is a wonderful read for those of us who recall cricket as it once was and remember how Arlott’s Hampshire burr and Swanton’s mellifluous tones captured fans’ attention as the pair chronicled the sport’s high point in print and on the wireless.

Arlott’s description of the glorious summer of 1947 could, at a stretch, be applied to the state of domestic cricket between the end of World War II to the early 1970s: “We had seen cricketing feats of such happy gallantry that we had, at times, been glutted with richness…This, we thought, is something we shall never forget. We were right.”

No longer; who knows where the soul of cricket now resides?


<back to archive


MoneyMapp


SBOTM Current Top 10

Get It On: How the ?70s Rocked Football By Jon Spurling
Biteback
Read Review Buy Now
Time on Rock By Anna Fleming
Canongate
Read Review Buy Now
41-Love: A Memoir By Scarlett Thomas
Counterpoint
Read Review Buy Now
Anatomy of a Football Scout by Jon Cotterill
Camara Brasileira
Read Review Buy Now
Sweat: A History of Physical Exercise By Bill Hayes
Bloomsbury Sport
Read Review Buy Now
52 Ways to Walk By Annabel Streets
Bloomsbury Sport
Read Review Buy Now
Fit And Proper People By Martin Calladine & James Cave
Pitch Publishing
Read Review Buy Now
God is Dead The Rise & Fall of Frank Vandenbrouke By Andy McGrath
Bantam Books
Read Review Buy Now
Butler to the World How Britain Became the Servant of Oligarchs, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals By Oliver Bullough
Profile Books
Read Review Buy Now
A Delicate Game Brain Injury, Sport and Sacrifice By Hana Walker-Brown
Hodder
Read Review Buy Now

© 2004-2022 Sharks Media Limited.