McGilvray The Game Is Not The Same?

Published: 1985
Pages: 188
Author: Tasker, Norman
Publisher: ABC
Rating: 4 stars

McGilvray The Game Is Not The Same?

Alan McGilvray was for many Australians the voice of cricket. The Aussie answer to John Arlott, but for some reason not mentioned in the same reverence. Both had a distinctive voice, neither was interested in which No. bus was travelling past Lord’s or the type of pigeon that was strutting the outfield. Instead they spoke of the strokes, the tactics, the cricket.

Perhaps it is the lack of the written word that has caused McGilvray to be less well remembered. For unlike Arlott, McGilvray was not a writer, and as such he has not left a legacy of quality writing as the Englishman has.

Despite being a radio commentator on cricket from the 1920s when he was still playing first class cricket for NSW, Alan McGilvray did not release a book until The Game is not The Same in 1985. It was an instant success requiring a number of editions.

The title reflected the belief of McGilvray that there had been great changes, in his opinion not always for the best, in the game since he started playing but particularly in recent times from the commencement of World Series Cricket in the seventies, ODI, helmets and rising issues of player dissent. He particularly draws mention to some of the poor displays from Dennis Lillee, being especially disappointed with the Javed Miandad kicking incident.

He also talks about the Kim Hughes controversy and the lack of support that the young captain was given. McGilvray famously said on a current affair show when asked for his opinion the day after Hughes had resigned ‘He’s a little boy who hasn’t yet grown up’. Although in the book he stated he regretted the comment.

McGilvray also wanted to do away with two innings First Class Cricket, limiting it to one innings each of 100 overs per team, and only leaving Test cricket to feature two innings matches.

McGilvray deals with all the major cricketing moments of his life, from the greats of 48 to the first tied Test, which he famously missed the last day of as he thought the match was heading for a draw, and so took the opportunity to leave Brisbane and take the early flight to Sydney.

An interesting fact; the man with a beautifully modulated voice had a bad stutter as a youngster which he believed his mother cured by having him read to her regularly.

In interview on television just after the release of the book, McGilvray spoke about the enormous effort it required. The gathering of the information, the recording (tape player), before handing it all over to Norman Tasker. He stated he had great respect for authors after this time consuming process, and by his demeanor, gave the impression of not wanting to go through it again.

However after the success of The Game is Not The Same McGilvray released new books on a regular basis in the following few years. They were all ‘as told to Norman Tasker’ and are all interesting reads, but the first effort remains the best.

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