Five titles bidding to bowl over judges to be Cricket Book of the Year


1 - Fred Trueman: The Authorised Biography

Author: Chris Waters
Published by: Aurum Press

The first full biography of one of England’s greatest cricketers, this balanced yet unflinching portrait of Fred Trueman draws on dozens of new interviews with his fellow players, broadcasters, family and friends.  Cricket journalist Chris Waters delves into the bleak upbringing the Yorkshire fast bowler left behind, separates myth from reality and explores the factors that influenced the character of a man who presented himself as a bluff, confrontational, almost stereotypical Yorkshireman yet who concealed a much more vulnerable and insecure side that few knew.

2 - Ian Botham: The Power and the Glory

Author: Simon Wilde
Published by: Simon & Schuster

Sir Ian Botham in a way has become the modern Fred Trueman, the curmudgeon of the Sky Sports cricket crew, occupying the niche that Trueman made his in the Test Match Special team.  Younger viewers recognise his iconic status but perhaps need reminding how he earned it. Cricket writer Simon Wilde's exhaustively researched, sensitively written and deliberately non-judgmental biography does the job, giving Botham full credit for his brilliance as a player, particularly in the early years of exuberance and joyful cricket, before the distractions of celebrity took their toll.

3 - Jack Hobbs: England's Greatest Cricketer

Author: Leo McKinstry
Published by:  Yellow Jersey

Cricket's appreciation of history tends to preserve the memory and reputation of its greats and yet time has done an injustice to Jack Hobbs, who remains the most prolific runscorer of all time even 78 years after he retired but somehow tends to be recalled less readily than Hammond, Hutton, Bradman and Grace, even though he was the first professional cricketer to be knighted.  McKinstry, a heavyweight among biographers with acclaimed works on Sir Alf Ramsey, Geoff Boycott and the Charlton brothers on his CV, seeks to put this right in a sweeping study that captures the spirit of a decent man from humble origins and of the times in which he lived.

4 - The Breaks are Off - My Autobiography

Author: Graeme Swann
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton

Somewhere behind the cheeky grin, the wisecracks and the witty Tweets that are their online companions lies a deeper, more profound and probably even a vulnerable Graeme Swann. But it isn't showing itself yet and why should it? Swann is a terrific off-spinner but he likes to have a laugh, likes to have fun and as such is a throwback to the days when every cricket dressing room was home to several of that disposition, before the technicians and the analysts and the nutritionists took over.  So he tells his story in those terms, charting the ups and downs and the enjoyable diversions he has encountered along the way with an engaging honesty and an agreeable sense of humour.

5 - Tony Greig: A Reappraisal of English Cricket's Most Controversial Captain

Author:  David Tossell
Published by: Pitch Publishing

At his peak, Tony Greig enjoyed no little popularity as a cricketer, not least because he was a fearsome competitor and a winner who restored England's pride as Test captain, yet as a South African with an unashamedly aggressive approach, in word and deed, he was never wholly accepted by the game's traditionalists.  So when, in 1977, it emerged that he was recruiting for Kerry Packer's breakaway World Series Cricket it was hardly a surprise that he fell from grace. David Tossell's reappraisal asks thought-provoking questions over whether Greig's worth as a cricketer will ever be fully appreciated.

Further reading: Two prestige awards already for Chris Waters and Fred Trueman: The Authorised Biography

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Coming soon:  The Sports Bookshelf's guide to the nominated titles in the Football Book of the Year category.


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