Ken Eastwood: A Life in Cricket
Author: David Jenkins
Rating: 3 stars
By Archie Mac
19 May 2008
Ken Eastwood is a great trivia question: "Which fellow Victorian replaced the sacked Bill Lawry in the Australian side for the 7th Test in 1971?"
Not many remember his name, and at 35 this proved to be his one and only Test, unfortunately for the opening batsman he managed scores of only 5 & 0, but he did have the satisfaction of claiming a wicket with his part time gentle spin.
Eastwood was having a good summer in 1970/71 scoring a couple of big hundreds during the season in the Sheffield Shield, but was unable to make the Australian side for the 1972 tour of England (Lawry was also overlooked), in the Tests that followed in England Australia struggled in the opening position. It was surprising the author did not comment on Eastwood's chances and why he thought he was overlooked.
The author David Jenkins has performed a fine job in capturing his subject, but in the end the sheer briefness of this book leaves the reader with many unanswered questions. The 1972 tour being just one; what of his impressions of some of the great cricketers he played with, what of a comparison between Lawry (who captained Eastwood for Victoria) and the young Ian Chappell.
Things were done quite differently in the 70s when it came to selection protocol, with poor old Lawry learning of his sacking via the radio and Eastwood of his selection via a reporter.
The Test that Eastwood played in was one of great controversy; with Terry Jenner being felled by a John Snow bouncer, and after an inebriated fan had grabbed Snow over the boundary fence, the English team left the field, only returning when the umpires threatened to award the match to Australia.
Unfortunately the author quickly dealt with this great Test in only a couple of pages. I am not sure why the book was so short? Cost?
Ken Eastwood comes across as a lovely fellow, and it is good to finally see a publication about his life. Despite the shortness of the book I still learnt quite a bit about this member of the "One Test Club".
A LTD edition of just 150 copies, this is quite a good read and well worth the effort of tracking down a copy. As always copies can be procured from our friend Roger Page of Melbourne Australia 0394356332.