With the first Test between Pakistan and England in full swing, international cricket is back after the PSLs and IPLs. Afghanistan will make their debut in Test Cricket next month while all the ICC members have been granted the T20 International status which is huge for a game that was played among a dozen teams not so long ago. However, this is also the best time to grab a Cricket book that tells you all there is to know about the game, just like a Periodic Table when it comes to Chemical elements. If you want to know what the elements of the gentleman’s game are and who the players are that you must know about, read John Stern’s The Periodic Table Of Cricket.
The Periodic Table Of Cricket is like no other book on Cricket — it is neither an autobiography nor a biography and doesn’t bore you with intricate details regarding the game that has a history of more than a century. Instead, John Stern’s book collects the names of Cricket’s Best players and categorises them as Defenders and Pragmatists, Stylists and Entertainers, Mavericks and Rebels, and Innovators and Pioneers. Players falling in any of these categories can be found in the appropriate ones and no one can challenge the author’s decision because it is the most logical one.
The elements are named after Cricket legends and players who had served their country or even county with distinction; for H, we have Hobbs, B is for Bradman and Jy means Jayasuriya. Understood? Good for you because that will make things easy for you as you go around searching for your favourite players from any team in the world.
You may have questions regarding the selection of many players but that’s where the author’s narrative comes in place. He tries to explain his choice and most of them are convincing enough for you to move ahead to the next player; the ones where he fails to satisfy you are far and few between. So if you didn’t know the name of the player who once shot a cop thinking he was an intruder, or the player who was knighted during his playing career, or the one who was dropped for being too slow, think no further.
This book tells you all there is to know about interesting facts and anecdotes regarding the game such as the fact that Hanif Mohammad was scared of his brother Wazir during his classic 499-run knock as he thought that he might declare the innings; that Steve Waugh was not considered the best All-rounder in his own family; that the bulk of Graham Gooch’s Test runs were scored after his 35th birthday! Interesting, isn’t it?
The book gives information about all the major Cricket-playing teams in the world which shows that the game is expanding all over the world. It also tells you that there were crazy individuals to don the Cricket kit as one English player went on self-exile and missed 30 matches; one Pakistani genius loved to score double century and century in the same game and one triple centurion played the rest of his career being a little shorter after an injury.
Go ahead and practise your Cricket knowledge with this treasure trove of a book that talks about Cricketers as old as Sir Don Bradman and Victor Trumper and also features modern-day sensations like Sachin Tendulkar and Shahid Afridi. Then there were eccentric players like Mike Brearley who placed a helmet deliberately on the ground to entice the batsman to hit it and Gordon Greenidge who scored a century whenever he limped as it made him concentrate more. You will find a lot of similar stuff about the geniuses who donned the whites!