Mostly, there’s too much Cricket in Cricket books – if we wanted to read a match report, we’d dial up CricInfo, you know. JRod skillfully runs through each test session by session, but throws in just enough jokes, offensive language and base innuendo to make it compelling reading.
On the NPower promotional girls: “Guys trying to pick up promotional girls is about the saddest thing you can see, like Hotel Rwanda followed by a news report on buring puppies.”
On ‘Random’ Rudi Koertzen: “Sometimes I think he gives himself extra time by raising his finger slowly just so he can surprise himself.”
For me, the book’s peak is around the Lord’s test, from the scene from the press box, to almost killing Richie Benaud using Swine Flu, to a hilarious conversation between Rudi Koertzen and Billy Bowden (Are you sure, or do we need to go upstairs, Billy? There are no stairs here, Rudi.), to the most sublime writing about mass vomit since Stand By Me.
It’s also the story of HIS Ashes, his first in England as a writer; what the series means to him, his impending wedding and going to the Oval with his family – this backstory makes the book richer, without getting all Nick Hornby about it.
It’s well documented that JRod’s mission to turn himself into a Proper Cricket Writer from a standing start impresses the fuck out of me – WFBJ is a big step up from his first book. Buy a copy now, so you can bore your kids about him when he’s editing Wisden or sticking his keys in a pitch on the telly. Highly recommended.