Cricket Back In Time

Published: 2006
Pages: 368
Author: Collis, Ian
Publisher: New Holland
Rating: 1.5 stars

Cricket Back In Time

Cricket Back In Time gives one the impression of being produced under the tightest of deadlines.

With typos galore and repetitious captions, this book turned into a huge disappointment.

Typos can be forgiven, but some of the fact checking also leaves a lot to be desired. For example, we are informed that Ian Meckiff was not only called for ‘chucking’ in the Australia versus South Africa series of 1963-64 but also during the English tour of 1958-59.

I would imagine this is news to Ian Meckiff, who states in his own book Thrown Out (1961) “since I first started playing for Australia in 1957 I have never been no-balled for throwing”.

As for the illustrations themselves; it states in the blurb that ” many of the images have never been published before”. If many translates to a dozen, then this statement must be correct.

To make matters worse, a number of the photos are repeated with different captions, happening on the same page on one occasion. Thus we have a picture of the 1938 Australian team in England, and below the picture we find the names of the 1930 Australian tourists.

My personal favourite was a picture of Ian Meckiff and a caption which reads: “Sonny Ramadhin jokes with his West Indies team-mates… Rohan Kanhai and Garfield Sobers seem to be instigating the player’s amusing response”.

Ian Collis is better known as a Rugby League statistician and knowledgeable writer. An obvious cricket lover, it is a shame that his first foray into cricket book publishing has been beset by so many errors.

This book could have been so much more but in the end the results are rather melancholy, as Australian cricket has been starved of a pictorial history with the last being The Pictorial History of Australian Cricket by Jack Pollard way back in 1986.

It has taken 20 years for another, but the quality of Cricket Back In Time is so poor, you may well be advised to scour the second hand book stores for a copy of the Pollard offering.

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