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Top 10 Best Cricket Books Ever | Dive into the World of Cricket

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Cricket is frequently cited as having the most extensive body of literature on any sport. Perhaps exaggerated—baseball has strong claims, too. It’s quite likely that you are not the only cricket enthusiast who finds reading about the game to be just as enjoyable as watching it. It should come as no surprise that some of the best cricket writing has been published in books. However, you can also find excellent prose on a newspaper’s sports pages where you can find match reports, former player pieces, analyses, and features. There has been a ton of excellent writing on Indian cricket since Indian newspapers first sent reporters to cover this most beautiful and fascinating of all sports.

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For those who lived and breathed cricket in the pre-television era, reading match reports early the following day in the newspaper was a multi-sensory experience. Readers saw images of their favorite athletes dancing in front of them as they read about their exploits in the lyrical prose of sports writers. Even without the Internet and cell phones, scribes adhered to strict deadlines and quickly sent news reports to the office so that readers could relive the event the following morning.

Here are some of the greatest books a cricket enthusiast must read and dive into the cricketing world much deeper. 

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Top 10 Best Cricket Books of All Time

S.N Cricket books Author
1 Beyond a Boundary CLR James
2 A Social History of English Cricket Derek Birley
3 Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the bad old days of Australian cricket Christian Ryan
4 Australia 55 Alan Ross
5 The Art of Captaincy Mike Brearley
6 Beyond Bat and Ball David Foot
7 The Cricket War Gideon Haigh
8 The Unquiet Ones Osman Samiuddin
9 Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India  Ronojoy Sen
10 The Commonwealth of Cricket Ramachandra Guha

Beyond a Boundary – CLR James

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The second half is considerably different from the first. These detailed individual portrayals of Constantine and George Headley are followed by a discussion of the back-foot play, a brief history of Trinidad, a look at county cricket in the 1960s, and finally a chapter on Grace. While in some ways, that is its appeal, there are also spotty areas.

In the introduction to the chapter on WG Grace: “A famous liberal historian can write the social history of England in the 19th century, and two famous socialists can write what they declare to be the history of the common people in England, and together they never once mention the most famous Englishman of his time.” As he continues, he beautifully contextualizes Grace within the context of his day. He is arguing that sports in general, including cricket, have tremendous cultural value, which has led to their importance throughout history.

One of the first black Caribbean batsmen to play for the West Indies was an old Trinidadian cricketer named Wilton St. Hill. In an amazing passage, the author describes St. Hill’s match with fast bowler George John, whose name immediately conjures up Steinbeck. The action takes place right outside St. Hill’s bedroom window, where he was “perfectly positioned, just behind the bowler’s arm.”

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A Social History of English Cricket – Derek Birley

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Birley’s main argument is that using cricket as a metaphor and a mirror to examine English social history is adequate to provide readers insight into the last 300 years of the parabola. This is an expert history of a location, England, as seen through the lens of cricket. It’s frequently very humorous, which is one of the reasons why it’s a great piece. It reveals the level of duplicity and deceit that highlights a lot of the contributions that the Victorians made to cricket in particular. The mythical image of cricket as England’s mirror is being inflated while simultaneously being punctured.

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Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the bad old days of Australian cricket – Christian Ryan

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A book that makes the readers very sad and is considered one of the best cricket books. It discusses how terrible it may be for cricket to be perceived as both a team sport and an individual activity. The wonderful evocation of Hughes’ batting prowess also highlights the fact that he will never fit into any of these two Australian cricketing dynasties’ golden eras. That is even referenced in the title, “Golden Boy,” in a painfully satirical way. While Lillee and Marsh only want to win, Hughes claims that he wants to play for fun and to make people happy.

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Australia 55 – Alan Ross

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Cricket tours in the past or even today begin with a lengthy trip abroad. This chronicle of the historic Ashes-winning tour led by Len Hutton, who was tenacious but occasionally unduly pessimistic, is regarded as a classic in the tour-book genre. Ross, a well-known literary editor and an excellent poet, offers a fascinating dual narrative in this work: the cricketing tragedies and heroics, certainly, but also a sly, lyrical image of a nation still searching for its modern identity.

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Also Read | 10 Best Sports Autobiographies you should grab today!

The Art of Captaincy – Mike Brearley

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In the process, his lucid dissertation not only walks the reader through the various traps, tactics, and perils of being a cricket captain but also demonstrates how difficult the game is mentally as well as strategically. He is perhaps England’s most successful captain and the philosopher-king of cricket. Brearley discusses how playing cricket can bring at least as many lows as highs, a truth that not every captain, whether on the village green or Test arena, understands. Ian Botham famously referred to him as having “a degree in people.” Brearley does this with his trademark sensitivity.

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Beyond Bat and Ball – David Foot

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Foot, who writes about cricket for the Guardian and is based in the West Country, is a fountain of gentle wisdom. His specialty, as shown here, is penetrating the surface and sensitively showing challenging, even tormented lives, with the majority of his subjects becoming martyrs, to a greater or lesser extent, to a game that can exact a terrible toll. The last of the 11 profiles is Tom Richardson, who played cricket in the 1890s for Surrey and England and was unmatched in heart and tenacity but struggled with retirement, as so many professional athletes do, and passed away in France in 1912 under mysterious, ominous circumstances.

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The Cricket War – Gideon Haigh

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In the past 50 years, one particular event stands out above all others: Kerry Packer’s audacious business move in 1977, which upended the cricketing world and directly contributed to the game’s capture by television, along with other developments like lights, white balls, and colored clothing. Almost everything that has happened afterward, including the English government’s contentious “100 Balls” announcement, has been influenced by that hotly contested demarche. The indisputable narrative is provided by Mr. Haigh, a renowned cricket historian, and a widely popular author. Although this is not therapy literature for cricketers, sometimes a hard reality must be avoided.

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The Unquiet Ones – Osman Samiuddin

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It beautifully argues the need to use cricket as a lens through which to view this nation that was carved out of the flesh of British India. It is not simply a history of Pakistan cricket; it is a history of Pakistan. It is considered one of the best cricket books. There are numerous instances of how cricket stadiums were built in the middle of nowhere, and in essence, that is what Pakistan is doing. Therefore, the process by which the Pakistan cricket team travels to England and triumphs in its first Test match there, the dynamic of the Indo-Pakistan relationship, the conflict between the elite who have received British education and those who do not speak English, and the effects of Islam in later years are all significant elements of Pakistani history. 

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Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India – Ronojoy Sen

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Ronojoy Sen combines a novel history of India’s involvement in sports with a thorough examination of the country’s cultural and political evolution under the monarchy, colonialism, and as an independent country, going back to the dawn of time. While some Indian-born sports have lost popularity, others, like cricket, have been embraced and become entirely indigenous to India. Sen’s creative effort reframes sport as an educational activity reflecting a special game with power, morality, aesthetics, identity, and money rather than as a straightforward manifestation of human rivalry. Sen tracks how athletics changed from a privileged, regal pleasure to a popular passion linked to colonialism, nationalism, and free market liberalization.

He focuses particularly on two contemporary phenomena: the dominance of cricket in Indian culture and the persistent inability of a country with a population of a billion to compete successfully in international athletic events like the Olympics. Sen depicts not only the political dimension of sport in India but also illustrates the patronage, clientage, and institutionalization patterns that have brought this varied nation together for centuries by creatively combining instances from popular media and other unexpected sources.

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The Commonwealth of Cricket – Ramachandra Guha

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India had not yet won a Test match abroad when Ramachandra Guha started watching cricket in the early 1960s. Fifty years later, when he joined the Board of Control for Cricket in India, India emerged as the superpower in the world of cricket. This remarkable metamorphosis is detailed in the first-person narrative of The Commonwealth of Cricket. The complete history of cricket in India is covered in the book, from school to college to club to state to national levels. It offers vivid depictions of regional icons, international stars, and local heroes.

The Commonwealth of Cricket is a literary work that draws heavily from the author’s intellectual background. The stories and sketches are set against a larger backdrop of social and historical change. The book combines memoir, anecdote, reportage, and political commentary to give a thorough, perceptive, and engrossing picture of this greatest of sports as played in the nation and is considered one of the best cricket books.

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