It takes all sorts

June 23, 2009

I just completed Peter Roebuck’s “It takes all sorts”. It is a collection of various articles that he has published over the years and it makes for a great read. I have always been a huge fan of his writing and reading this collection has only reinforced my desire to read all his published works. There is something very direct and forthright about Roebuck which gives the reader the comfort that he is reading the truth and nothing but the truth. His felicity in exploring the mind of cricketers is remarkable and to the best of my limited opinion, unparalleled, with the possible exception of Gideon Haigh. At the end of the book I almost felt elevated for being a Cricket fan. Giving the great cricketers their due without eulogising them and thereby reiterating the fact that no single player is bigger than the sport itself is something that Roebuck has honed into a fine art.

A few of the articles are about the lesser know purveyors of the craft and these bring out the harsh cruelities and vicissitudes of the game, which could very well reflect life itself. These are aspects of the game which every follower of the game realises over a period of time. But to read the same being articulated by Roebuck is inspirational, to say the least. Especially wonderful is the section on the cricketers from the Carribean. The part which covers aspects of cricket in Southern Africa is poignant and highlights the odds that aspirants need to overcome to pursue their dreams. After reading the pieces about Mike Atherton, Robin Smith, Ben Hollioake and David Gower I was repenting the fact that I did not spend even more time in front of the telly, sharing the torment with these wonderful men, more human that we can ever let them be. For a columnist who appears downright opinionated, Roebuck does not in the least come out as wanting to swing the reader’s opinions to his side. This book, or rather Peter Roebuck, should be in the must read category of any keen student of the exalted game.


2 Responses to “It takes all sorts”

  1. shankar Says:

    If you are really keen to pursue reading cricket articles or books on cricket, the starting point is Ray Robinson. I have great respect for Peter Roebuck’s skills as an analyst (oral and written), though at times, I find it a tad cynical and bitter. It almost seems like his disappointment of not playing cricket at the highest level manifests itslef in the bitterness of his writing.

    Let us also not forget that English comes natural to Brits and hence whether spoken or written, it is always pleasant (in part because of the simplicity and choice of words as opposed to Americans who probably swallow dictionaries for breakfast.)

    You should also read Ian Chappel’s art of captaincy.

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