A few months ago, I bought Mike Brearley's "The Art of Captaincy"
. I've so far got to around one-fourth of the book. It isn't exactly thrilling reading. But it is quite riveting, especially when he writes about the role of the coach, captain etc. Most of it, so far, has a county season as the context. I am sure there'll be insights from him in the context of international cricket soon. Brearley obviously is best known for getting Ian Botham to perform as he did in that 1981 summer
. I haven't seen too many games from that period to conclude anything about his captaincy. Perhaps it is worth remembering that Brearley's captaincy coincided with World Series Cricket and he never captained against the West Indies
, obviously the best side at that point in time.
Last week, in another shopping binge, admittedly thanks to a gift voucher, I bought Steve Waugh's new autobiography "Out of My Comfort Zone"
. Yes the same one
he injured his arm writing
. I haven't made too much progress there, probably a dozen or so pages. The forewords are written by Rahul Dravid and Tim May. While Dravid is all praise for Waugh's grit, defence and shot selection, May dwells on how Waugh transformed from being an introvert to being more outgoing sometime during Australia's tour of Pakistan in 1988.
The other book I bought was David Mortimer's "Classic Cricket Clangers"
. He rewinds all the way back to the early years of test cricket (and county cricket in many instances) and documents goofups by individuals, teams etc. I have probably crawled to the point where WG Grace's brother, Fred Grace
was out for a pair in his only test and died of pneumonia a few days later. I think I saw Ajit Agarkar's series of ducks and Nasser Hussain's decision to insert Australia in at Brisbane in 2003 featured towards the end of the book. I am fairly sure Gatting's reverse sweep and Allan Donald dropping his bat in that 1999 World Cup semi-final are also described with a tinge of sarcasm. It has been enjoyable reading so far.