Legends of The Baggy Green
Author: Alexander Buzo
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Rating: 2 stars
By Archie Mac
29 Nov 2006
A self confessed 'Cricket Tragic' who does not know that Test as in Test cricket, is spelt with a capital 'T', Alexander Buzo has produced a cricket book of 'liquorice all sorts'.
Part autobiographical, part social commentary, part fiction, the book lurches from quality writing to the mediocre, which is a shame because Buzo is obviously a talented writer, it simply appears he did not have enough material for a consistent quality read.
The book starts off with some cringing sledges, including the McGrath-Sarwan-wife disgrace, and moves on to Salim Malik and his relationship with the Australian team. Unfortunately these instances have been done to death and the author sheds no new light or research on any of these events.
Other all too familiar controversies are covered, with varying degrees of wit, one example should suffice:
Jeff Thomson on his dismissal in the 1982/83 Ashes Test in Melbourne, where he and Border failed by just three runs to win the match. 'I wouldn't have minded so much,' Thommo told an interviewer, 'except it was a shit ball and I was caught by two sheilas'.
By far the most interesting part of the book, were the descriptions of the authors time playing social cricket in Sydney, and his time attending school in Switzerland, where he organised a team and played for Switzerland against the British Armed Forces.
Buzo captures the social side of cricket admirably; the opposition never up-holding LBW appeals, the different skill levels, and the strange attire of some of the participants.
It may well have been that a book dedicated to his own amateur experiences would have made for a more satisfying quality read; oh well maybe next time. Although published in 2004 this book is still widely available, and is 'an easy read', you could certainly do worse then Legends of The Baggy Green