The best cricket literature books to read if the match is rain affected

Mark Pirie Author Of Slips: Cricket Poems
By Mark Pirie

Who am I?

I’m a New Zealand writer, publisher, and editor, who has followed cricket since I was a boy. I've published poetry on many sports, including cricket, football, rugby, tennis, surfing, and netball, and edited/published anthologies of New Zealand cricket and football poems, "A Tingling Catch" and "Boots". My reading on the subject of cricket literature led me to seek out many different books and writers on a subject I didn’t think had an extensive history. I've played club cricket and schoolboy cricket and have a wide knowledge of the game from reading about its history and have visited cricket grounds such as Lord’s in London. I have been dubbed the “Poet-in-Residence” at The Cricket Society.


I wrote...

Slips: Cricket Poems

By Mark Pirie,

Book cover of Slips: Cricket Poems

What is my book about?

Slips collects together for the first time the full range of Mark Pirie’s cricket poetry which started life as a 24-page booklet in 2008. Pirie’s poems have been regularly published in The Cricket Society News Bulletin over the past decade. Here are poems on many facets of the beautiful game, ranging from tributes to players past and present, poetry notes on matches and tests, comments on the more social aspects of the game, imaginary fictions such as Outer Space cricket and more. 

The books I picked & why

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Six and Out

By Jack Pollard,

Book cover of Six and Out

Why this book?

Found at a book fair, Six and Out is a classic of Australasian cricket literature and the first book I came across that focused on New Zealand and Australian cricket writing. It is an anthology divided into groupings: cricket tales, cricket heroes, general cricket, cricket mayhem, cricket verse, and cricket cartoons. It has a something for everyone feel about it. Perfect for those rain affected matches. It was considered the best Australian cricket book ever published at the time. It was a ground-breaking grouping of cricket writings and first appeared in 1964. Jack Pollard followed cricket ever since he was a boy in minor grades and he was influenced by readers of the first edition on what to include as thousands wrote to him making suggestions. 

Six and Out

By Jack Pollard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Six and Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Poetry of Cricket

By Leslie Frewin,

Book cover of The Poetry of Cricket

Why this book?

A book I found second-hand so it may not be widely available online. It is the quintessential anthology on the poetry of cricket dating back over 200 years and was described as a history in verse of the British national summer pastime. This was the book that first led to my interest in cricket literature and gives a meticulous history of cricket in poetry. All forms of cricket (club, village, schools, test, and international) are mentioned just as all forms of verse are used from doggerel, couplets, and single quatrains to longer narrative heroic poems on olden day cricket. The anthology shows Frewin’s great love of cricket and is a labour of love making it a masterpiece at the time it appeared in the 1960s.

The Poetry of Cricket

By Leslie Frewin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Poetry of Cricket as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Poetry of Cricket An Anthology


The Cricketers Companion

By Alan Ross (editor),

Book cover of The Cricketers Companion

Why this book?

The Cricketer’s Companion, edited by Alan Ross, is an indispensable compilation of cricket stories/prose, accounts of great players and the poetry of cricket. Ross was the literary editor of renowned London Magazine and a sports enthusiast. This anthology has something for everyone and is eminently worth dipping into. A rich and wide ranging choice by Ross, he was quoted as saying that “I aimed at two things – the creating of a book that contained the most essential and enjoyable writing on cricket, and one that gave as inclusive a view as possible of the great landmarks.” It was aimed for those shipwrecked on an island perhaps as it includes everything you would need to know about cricket to survive if you couldn’t get to a match.

The Cricketers Companion

By Alan Ross (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cricketers Companion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Keith rated it 4 of 5 stars: A delightful book that I have dipped into on many occasions over the years. It is that sort of book -- you can pass a few minutes or spend half a day reading selections. Edited by Alan Ross, it contains cricket stories, tales of great matches, essays on great players and men and moments, plus some lovely poetry about the summer game. And some of the finest writers on cricket are here: R.C. Robertson-Glasgow, Neville Cardus, Ray Robinson, A.A. Thomson, Jack Fingleton, etc. A treasury and a treasure!


Bonaventure and the Flashing Blade

By Gary Sobers,

Book cover of Bonaventure and the Flashing Blade

Why this book?

Bonaventure and the Flashing Blade may not be available online as it’s another one I found second-hand. It’s written by one of the great West Indian cricket players Gary Sobers. Published in the 1960s it reads like a James Bond-Ian Fleming-type spy novel covering a youngster Clyde St Joseph Bonaventure at a computer company called Star Computers which has a cricket team that he plays for. Bonaventure makes headline news for inventing a way of playing cricket using a computer programme to smash over 200 runs and take 6 wickets for less than a hundred runs. Bonaventure finishes his training by completing his new programme for computers. Bonaventure is offered bribes by foreign competitors but refuses and is kidnapped by a “foreign power” but escapes.

Bonaventure and the Flashing Blade

By Gary Sobers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bonaventure and the Flashing Blade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bonaventure and the Flashing Blade Sobers, Gary


Bodyline: The Novel

By Paul Wheeler,

Book cover of Bodyline: The Novel

Why this book?

Bodyline is a classic cricket novel based on a famous “Ashes” series in Australia during the Don Bradman era. The Ashes series (England v Australia) became legendary because of the bowling which became known as leg trap theory. Bowlers would bowl quick and fast and target the batsmen with short-pitched bowling. Australian batsmen were battered and bruised. The novel gives a blow-by-blow account of the series in Australia and the publicity and fallout generated from leg trap theory. Famously Australian batsman Bill Woodfull stated “There are two teams out there. One is trying to play cricket. The other is not.” It was a delight to find a literary novel on the subject. A must-read for understanding the evolution of the contemporary fast bowler in cricket. 

Bodyline: The Novel

By Paul Wheeler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bodyline as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of Paul Wheeler


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