Get Christmas sorted for cricket-loving bookworms. We’ve read and reviewed all of this year’s best cricket books – from biographies and cricket history books, to more light-hearted tomes – and here we’re picking out the dozen best we’ve read
Our list of 2022's best cricket books will help you get Christmas presents sorted for the cricket-loving bookworm in your life.
We've read and reviewed all of this year's best cricket books – from biographies and cricket history books, to more light-hearted tomes – and here we’re picking out the dozen best we've read.
Surely no other sport boasts the quality of the written word that cricket can muster? It's perhaps a consequence of those long, hazy summer days of yore that attracts the finest minds to produce cricket books at a rate quicker than Jonny Bairstow accumulates runs. So whether you're buying for your own entertainment or on the hunt for a perfect cricket gift, you'll find the pick of this year's best cricket books right here.
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One of the most trusted and best loved voices in cricket journalism (and regular contributor to The Cricketer), Scyld Berry was a fixture on England tours since 1977 until finally hanging up his suitcase in 2022. This book covers Berry's visits to all nine of England's major Test-playing opponents; a 'rich, eclectic tapestry' about his love affair with Australia, considered critiques of life in India, and plenty of affection for Zimbabwe and their stars of yesteryear.
What The Cricketer said: "Cricket, travel, history and Scyld Berry…these are a few of my favourite things. He is probably my favourite cricket writer, and he excels on all three topics in this rich new book." – 4.5 stars
Talking of tours, David Woodhouse's captivating account of England's turbulent tour to the West Indies in the early fifties has everything a storyteller could want: from spending Christmas in Bermuda to snatching a draw at the death. Plus, memories of some of the game's greatest players, including Garry Sobers, Everton Weekes, Frank Worrell for the hosts, and Len Hutton, Denis Compton and Jim Laker for the tourists. Winner of the Cricket Book of the Year at this year's Sports Book Awards.
What The Cricketer said: "It is one of the most well-researched and entertaining cricket books read by this reviewer and who was nothing less than fascinated by each anecdote that made it a genuine page turner." – 4.5 stars
Philip Brown has developed a reputation as one of cricket's greatest photographic documentarians and this book is effectively a greatest hits package of his photographs from a career that began more than 30 years ago. Needless to say, it showcases Brown's significant talent with a formidable body of work that takes in Stokes to Ponting, St Lucia to the Long Room, Ashes to the sub-continent, and everything in-between.
What The Cricketer said: "Philip is as close to being a genius as anyone with whom I have worked… he has a vision which others do not. His ability to capture light and movement and emotion is remarkable. His understanding of the game, his enthusiasm and his relationships with the protagonists, seem to allow him a perspective denied to others." – 4.5 stars
An Island's Eleven: The Story of Sri Lankan Cricket is the definitive account of the island nation's rise to prominence in the sport; from its roots in British colonialism, inevitably through to their incredible World Cup final win in 1996. An absorbing read, it's only the slightly niche topic that stops us having this higher in our countdown.
What The Cricketer said: "A sizeable hole has been fi lled in cricket literature with the publication of this exceptional history of Sri Lankan cricket. Authoritative, painstakingly researched and abounding with wonderful anecdotes and first-hand accounts, it brings to life one of cricket’s most colourful stories." – 5 stars
A so-called 'first and second hand account of 108 caps', this book is the product of lockdown. While consigned to his four walls, Sir Geoffrey began to type out memories from each of his 108 Tests in, what his eventual co-author Jon Hotten describes, as 'a retrospective diary'. The result is a match-by-match account with Boycott's initial recollections of innings, games and players expanded and very slightly honed.
What The Cricketer said: "They work like a right-hand/left-hand combination: a straight, fact-heavy, first-person tone at one end complemented by Hotten's breezy present-tense at the other. Boycott, naturally, takes slightly more of the strike; less naturally, he also plays more shots." – 4 stars
A regular contributor to both this website and our print magazine, Paul Edwards needs no introduction to readers of The Cricketer. This anthology of stories from his experiences watching English cricket over the last few summers is packed full of the kind of details that only a true lover of the game would notice, and with beautiful turns of phrase to do them justice.
What The Cricketer said: "Buy the book now, save it for winter, ration your reading and by the time you've finished the swifts will be swooping here again." – 4 stars
This little gem of a book is a love letter to nature and how it interacts with the game of cricket. It is an appreciation of a game whose indulgence is time – something that gives players and spectators the chance to appreciate their natural surroundings – and an homage to what has gone before as the age of grass banks and susurrating poplars continues to be reserved only for our collective nostalgia.
What The Cricketer said: "Coster is endearingly vague about the technicals and that broad-brush approach works well – you don't have to (or want to) know all the science behind different kinds of grass growing to appreciate it." – 4.5 stars
Sometimes the most captivating stories about sport are those that hardly touch on the game itself, and that certainly applies to Patrick Foster's memoir recalling his secret life as a gambling addict. A promising cricketer in his youth, this is an unflinching record of how crippling betting losses derailed the first part of his life and very nearly lead to suicide.
What The Cricketer said: "It is a remarkable piece of work for its sheer detail: Foster recounts bets placed on Hungarian handball, American horseracing, Ecuadorian junior football, Pakistani cricket, Australian rugby league, Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds and virtual horseracing among many more." – 4 stars
Reflecting on the way cricket has threaded through his life, Felix White describes being a child as his mother fights a forlorn battle against multiple sclerosis, then his growing interest in music to the point of becoming an award-winning recording artist. Amidst a rock star's existence and high-profile romances, White wonders how he can give more commitment to cricket than a real person with the former offering a refuge and a constant.
What The Cricketer said: "Sometimes funny, often profound, White avoids self-pity and doesn't mask emotion with flippant quips. But what most lifts the book is the extra mile he has gone to better understand whether the highs and lows of cricketers mirror his own." – 4 stars
Subtitled George Hirst, Schofield Haigh, Wilfred Rhodes and the Gentle Heart of Yorkshire Cricket, Harry Pearson's book is aimed squarely at that vast Venn diagram of people interested in cricket history and those obsessed by Yorkshire County Cricket Club. It's a study of a triumvirate that played nearly 2,500 first-class matches, not far short of 90,000 runs and 9,000 wickets, knitting together their careers to give a fresh perspective on their legacy.
What The Cricketer said: "Twice winner of the MCC/Cricket Society prize for the Cricket Book of the Year, Pearson has a proven light touch and there is much evidence of it here." – 4 stars
This is John Broom's seventh book on the two World Wars of the 20th century and follows hot on the heels of his account last year of the sport during the Second World War. Focusing on cricket and cricketers, this work covers in fine detail the involvement of players from Test and lesser levels = many were killed or carried wounds and nervous afflictions, traumatised for life.
What The Cricketer said: "The book is smoothly written and well-illustrated, and it would not surprise if the research and general effort left the author somewhat exhausted. Many stories stand out." – 4 stars
Although Michael Holding's exploration on how black people have come to be so persecuted that they must take the knee was originally published in 2021, we've used our editorial prerogative to include it here, as: a) it was garlanded with the top prize at 2022's Sports Book of the Year Award; b) it was released in paperback this year; and c) it's such an impressive piece of work that, if you haven’t already read it, then we whole-heartedly recommend that you pick up a copy now.
What The Cricketer said: "Michael Holding's Why We Kneel, How We Rise is the most important book by a sportsperson you may ever read. But calling it a sports book would not remotely do it justice." – 5 stars
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