Roy on the RiseArchie Mac |
Author: Andrew Symonds with Stephen Gray
Rating: 3.5 stars
I have never had the pleasure of talking to Andrew Symonds, but I imagine a conversation with him would be very similar to reading Roy on the Rise.
There is no need to reach for a dictionary while ‘chatting’ with ‘Roy’ but as he writes ‘a tiger doesn’t change his spots’.
The book is surprisingly funny with Symonds displaying a sophisticated sense of humour. This is the first book since probably Many a Slip (The Vincibles) by Gideon Haigh, that I have lol, not once but several times. On one occasion I burst into laughter while I was at my seven year olds Milo Cricket, and received a few questioning looks.
Before I am criticised for not watching the young fellow, I did look up long enough to see him clean bowl someone with a nice ‘Bosie’, the story of which I heard several times on the commute home.
The biggest controversy in the book is Symonds descriptions of his clashes with Harbhajan Singh, in both India and Australia. You find yourself believing Symonds version, but in the SCG incident his reason for approaching and abusing Harbahjan after the Indian playfully patted Brett Lee on the bum with his bat – according to Adam Gilchrist, Lee turned around and smiled at Harbhajan – is somewhat mystifying, as is the authors claim ‘what happens on the field, should stay on the field’.
Maybe they should add a clause to the above maxim; ‘as long as they do not go (the opposition) too far in the opinion of the Australian cricket team’. Although racist remarks should never be tolerated.
Andrew Symonds also writes that he tried to avoid the controversy of the monkey chants emanating from a small section of the Indian crowds, and he admits to being upset after comments from former player Mark Waugh who suggested he ‘was being a bit precious about the whole thing’.
It was quite surprising just how many incidents Symonds was involved in during the last twelve months; the monkey affair, the shoulder charging of a streaker on the pitch, his announcement that he would not tour Pakistan, his huge IPL contract, and at the end of the book he briefly refers to his latest infraction, but writes that this book is not the place to refer to that incident.
Symonds also gives some examples of where he rejects opportunities to cash in on his fame, including an offer from Bollywood and a chance to exploit his shoulder charging ability on streakers in an add with Solo which was to be titled ‘Slam it Down Fast’. He also stopped contributing to a newspaper column after some of the Australian players suggested it was a little too controversial.
Three chapters are dedicated the IPL, and the insights to both the players involved and the pressure that they felt to win during the tournament was most interesting. VVS Laxman comes across has a very thorough and inspiring captain of the team that Symonds was contracted to.
One of the real concerns of the international sports stars are the attacks known as ‘trapparazzi’, in which people start a physical fracas with the sporting stars, while someone either films or takes photos of the incident and then sells the material to the media. Symonds seems to be a target for these lowlifes, and he covers a couple of close calls in the book.
It was also comforting to read the reverence that Symonds holds the great Sir Vivian Richards, being initially too shy to ask the great man for an autograph, even when the ‘master blaster’ was in the Australian dressing room for a round table chat.
I really enjoyed this book, it does not overstay its welcome, but still delivers a comprehensive account of the Australian teams year in international cricket. An ideal Christmas present.