CC – The Colin McDonald StoryArchie Mac |
Author: McDonald, Colin
Rating: 2.5 stars
This book is a good advertisement for not letting former cricketers release anything but ghosted autobiographies. The last two decent autobiographies by Test cricketers were those by Mike Atherton and C.B. Fry. The latter – A life Worth Living* – was penned in 1939.
Perhaps the reason why A Life Worth Living was of such interest was the complete lack of humility by Fry. Not only did he not have any modesty but he was prone to exaggerating, which still had cricket historians writing spurious stories about him 50 years after his book was published. If not historically accurate, Fry’s book was always entertaining.
This is perhaps the main problem with Colin McDonald’s book, his modesty. Modesty is a good characteristic and could be practiced by more modern sportsman during interviews. However it does not work quite so well in a life story and the author’s obvious awkwardness when conveying his achievements shines through.
When writing about the team’s experiences, McDonald is more comfortable and talks candidly about the Australian cricket teams first tours of both Pakistan and India. It seems the tours only happened after the direct intervention by the cricket loving Australian prime minister of the time, Sir Robert Menzies.
It is always of great interest to read about the early tours to the subcontinent. The conditions of the hotels and the amount of players struck down by illness, would, no doubt have modern teams on the first flight back to Australia.
McDonald does cover all of the controversies that arose during his career including the wickets that were prepared for Jim Laker in England in 1956, and where McDonald played what is considered to be the best innings of his Test career, when he scored 89 (next best 38) before becoming one of Laker?s ten wickets in the innings.
He also talks about the Australian captain, Ian Johnson, asking Keith Miller outside to sort out their differences with their fists during a tour of South Africa.
As with many cricketers of his generation McDonald retired young, simply because there was less money in the game during his time. Following the ending of his cricket career he eventually became involved in tennis and was instrumental in the construction of Rod Laver arena, the home of the Australian Open.
His explanation about the difficulties of securing a site and finding the construction funds for the arena, although not about cricket, is interesting. The last couple of chapters of the book are, however, unfortunately rather boring, being about his time in local politics in Melbourne and religion respectively and simply seem to have been written as page fillers.
Not the worst book, being well written and generally entertaining but in the end give me the biography written by a talented cricket writer or even the collaborated autobiography. And please no modesty.
*interestingly Fry called his book this in reference to the former English captain, Andrew Stoddart’s last words before committing suicide ‘life’s not worth living’.