Book Review – Cricket’s Greatest Scandals
by Ken Piesse
This was a very interesting book, and one that would be loved by anyone who follows sports, and a lot of the stories will also fascinate those who don’t follow cricket. Unless you have been in space the last 100 years, names such as Don Bradman, , Hansie Cronje, Dennis Lillie, Ian Botham, Mikle Gatting, and Shane Warne will be instantly recognisable, and each of these, plus more all appear in their own chapter on being ‘bad boys’. And just for good measure, there is a chapter denoted to Stephen Fleming, Dion Nash and Matt Hart from NZ for the ‘popt smoking’ incident. But more than the people themselves, there are the incidents; Bodyline, The Underarm, World Series Cricket, and match fixing. Even for those, like me who consider themselves pretty knowledgeable on the sport, this book will open some new revelations for you.
It is sectioned into a “First XI” and “Second XI”, the assumption the top-tier is more scandalous than the following, however I couldn’t help but feel that some of the stories in the second half were most befitting of being promoted up the order. And for good measure, there are a couple of appendices; the first a “Timeline of Trouble” and then “Big Bets” which chronicles betting in cricket and match fixes.
This is well written by a sports journalist, although I was wary after the first couple of chapters believing he may have been very-pro Aussie, but it very much levels out and shows the unbiased reporting that should be present amongst scribes. Good photos that bring back memories such as Lillie vs. Miandad, Walsh vs. Waugh, and Michael Holding kicking down the stumps (everyone remember that series?).