How did Fred “The Demon” Spofforth get to be, well, demonic? How does Charles Colville bring Bob Willis to such a pitch of indignation night after night on The Verdict? And what exactly happened that morning when DI Gower decided to take a Tiger Moth up for a spin? These, and plenty of other questions, are not answered in Cricileaks. Instead we get something much more fun – Alan Tyers’ wry imaginings of what those thoughts would have been if confided to an Adrian Moleish secret diary.
The formula has been around for a while (I recall reading Mrs Wilson’s Diary in Private Eye back in the 70s and I have to confess to writing The Strauss Tapes at this very site) but its no less amusing for its familiarity. Each diarist (from WG Grace to Gemma Broad) has a voice grounded in what we know of them – fairly or unfairly – and the humour is mainly affectionate, though Henry Blofeld may beg to differ. As with the author’s previous offering, WG Grace ate my Pedalo, the text is supported by Beach’s lithographic illustrations, and the book is bound in the handsome yellow signature dust jacket of its publisher, John Wisden.
Here’s an extract from my favourite “diarist” (who happens to be my favourite writer in the real world of cricket).
Michael Brearley – Notes on the subject Thomson J.
First Test, Lord’s, June 16th 1977
(J.M. Brearley c Robinson b Thomson 9)
I have a new patient: Jeff, a troubled young Australian man with behavioural difficulties. I asked him to come and see me at clinic in St John’s Wood. He immediately sought to assert dominance with a threatening look and a volley of expletives. (Anger management issues? Possible Tourette’s? Hangover?) I quickly deduced that it was important to establish his trust, which I did by edging one to slip and getting back to my study in the pavilion, better to explore some theories about the patient.
Of course, Brearley would never have written such a thing… would he?
Crickileaks – The Secret Ashes Diaries is available now.