Books to read at the cricket? Herding Cats: The Art of Amateur Cricket Captaincy by Charlie Campbell

Wormsley Cricket Ground, ‘Words and Wickets’, Actors v. Authors, 2014
The steward in hi-viz races towards me in disbelief as I stroll towards the pavilion in vest, shorts and flip-flops. His disapproving roar has blown over the deckchairs reserved for bums clad in mustard cords.

Edwardian writes

Charlie Campbell is the captain of the Author’s XI. I’ve seen these roosters a couple of times at the Wormsley ‘Words and Wickets’ festival.  In 2014 there was a tent displaying the latest Jaguar cars and the food was provided by Jamie Oliver. I marvelled at the burgers which were about half the size of a cricket ball. We brought our lunch with us.

Campbell’s book is an entertaining foray into the joys and headaches of captaining an amateur side.  I thought about an in-depth review then thought better of it.  While leaning on Brearley’s book, there are many funny anecdotes involving the Authors.  Campbell side-steps names until the end of the book but his XI have featured Sebastian Faulkes (you know the chap, he writes in French for the hell of it then transcribes it all back into English and apparently has time for cricket), Ed Smith, Tom Holland and other scribblers.

Maximilian Hilderbrand favourably reviewed Herding Cats in Literary Review but mentioned from his own experience a batsman who scored a ‘sumptuous half-century’ while high on magic mushrooms. I’d like to hear more from Max. The review in The Cricketer was a bit more guarded.

I enjoyed the book a lot.  It’s a great insight into managing the Authors.  However, I have to say that a part of me wondered whether the book would have been published at all if Campbell wasn’t a literary agent and connected to all the right people. Despite Campbell’s occasional protestations at how difficult it all is, the acknowledgements could be summed up by John Le Mesurier, “It’s all been rather lovely.”

Herding Cats on Amazon.

Have you tried to read summat while at a cricket match? Let us know how it went at king@kingcricket.co.uk

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7 Appeals

  1. Wormsley ‘Words and Wickets’ sounds like some sort of hybrid game. Cricket-cum-hangman anyone?

  2. The book sounds rather lovely, as you say, Edwardian.

    But I think we King Cricket readers deserve a little more information about the hi-viz v sartorial Edwardian clash described in the photo caption. That adventure sounds like a whole match report in itself to me.

    Also, you keep us in suspenders by saying that you brought your own lunch but not telling us what that lunch was. Standards, Edwardian, standards.

  3. With the absence of Stokesian aggression perhaps we need Terence Stamp to put fear into Aussie expections:

    (Contains strong language)

    https://youtu.be/D9UzH7Odt20

    On another matter there was a Q and A session with Tim Bresnan in The Telegraph on Saturday:

    What’s your biggest luxury?

    “We don’t have many. We’ve had a few nice holidays and we got married in the Maldives – I squeezed it in after a tour of Sri Lanka.”

    Too much information?

  4. On the subject of Stokesian aggression, I notice Ben has been limbering up on Twitter with a well-directed epistolary missive concerning our old friend Mr Hayden. Classic scenes here in Brisbane.

  5. “U-19 Asia Cup, Final, Kuala Lumpur, 19 Nov 2017

    Afghanistan 248 for 7 (Faizi 107*)
    Pakistan 63 (Mujeeb 5-13)

    Afghanistan win by 185 runs.

    Hopefully in 20 years’ time the Barmy Army will be watching a cracking Second Test in Kabul after a close-run First Test in Herat. We will see (if we live long enough).

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