Cricket As I See It

Published: 2014
Pages: 299
Author: Border, Allan
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Rating: 3.5 stars

Cricket As I See It

Abolitionist, Harriet Beecher Stowe, wrote that “common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be”.

In his latest book, Allan Border tackles almost every aspect of cricket, especially from an Australian view point, and provides common sense solutions to a number of pressing issues. For example Border believes that CA made a mistake in employing Mickey Arthur and recommends that in the future only an Australian coach the Aussie cricket team.

Border also looks at the current Australian batting order. He believes Michael Clarke will surpass Ricky Ponting as the highest Test scorer and thinks Phil Hughes* and Usman Khawaja still have lot to offer the Australian team and will make it back into the Test side.

While Border provides plenty of insights into the current game, it is perhaps his reminiscences of the players and events of his playing career that lift this book above the average. Border expounds on controversies from his days in the baggy green cap, from the underarm incident to the miracle at Headingley. The latter saw Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh have the team bus driver bet on the 500/1 odds against an English win. While not justifying the punters’ actions, they at least bought the bus driver a new set of golf clubs and an air ticket to Australia out of the GBP7000 they won.

The pain of Headingley 1981 is still palpable in the writing of Border as is his failure to defeat the West Indies during his playing career which he credits, not surprisingly, to the Windies pace attack. Border, while acknowledging the skill of a number of their speed men, gives the nod as the best to Malcolm Marshall.

With the West Indies dominant during his era it was no shock that Border nominated his 98*, after he came in at 5-85, at Trinidad in 1984 as his best Test innings. He managed 100* in the second innings for good measure. While he thought the 98* was his best, for stroke play he considered his 196 at Lords in 1985 the most technically correct.

Border also allows himself a little self indulgence picking three teams, which he confines to his playing career; an Australian, World and Fun team. I also had a little self indulgence and attempted to guess the players Border chose. Much to my annoyance I missed three players in each team.

The only criticism of Cricket as I See It, is the structure of the book, as unfortunately it does not flow. It is instead a number thoughts and suppositions, sometimes with tenuous connections. This however, is the only reason the book received 3.5 and not four stars.

All in all a good read full of common sense and written in a way that will be enjoyed by all; but let us hope that the powers that be in Australian cricket listen to A.B. it can only improve the national cricket team.

*This review was written before last week’s tragic events

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