Tales from the Boundary
Text Book Stuff
I had yet another Amazon delivery recently: the "MCC Cricket Coaching Book".
As mentioned in a previous piece "When Does a Fan Become a Nut" (No. 12 in this list of TFTB's: I hope I'm not boring too many of you), I did possess this book in my youth. I think I gave it to some keen youngster when I was just out of my teenage years.
The book is smaller and slimmer than I remembered. but maybe I have got taller (and wider) and my hands are bigger. It's a bit like when Ted Dexter revisited his prep. school and noticed that the trees he used to hit sixes over were not as big as he remembered.
Incidentally, I heard a story recently about when Don Bradman was playing golf with Dean Jones. "See that tree 200 yards away", said The Don, "When I was young I used to clear that tree, no problem” (or maybe, no worries). Dean tried the shot but hit the tree. "Course", said The Don, "When I was younger that tree was only ten foot high."
Anyway, my 'new' book was first published in April 1952 and reprinted in June 1952. As I was born in May 1952 I'm slightly older than the book but not the trees that were used for it. The price for this tome in 1952 was 12s 6d net. (£18.12p today - Ed.). My 'new' one cost £10, inclusive of VAT and P&P. I first checked for any inscriptions. Ideally it would be signed by Alec Bedser, a photo of whom, entitled "Alec Bedser: a perfect follow through" precedes even the title page.
The next photo features "H. A. Pawson: catching a flier". Henry Anthony "Tony" Pawson is a fascinating fella https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Pawson_(cricketer) son of a colonial administrator, father of a leading scientist, played for Winchester, Oxford and Worcestershire. He only played 69 first class matches, averaged 37.32, captained Oxford in the win over Cambridge in 1948, was a major in WW2, became world fly fishing champion in 1984 and played football for Charlton Athletic. I don't know what he did in his spare time.
Other photos show Hutton, Compton, Edrich, Bradman, Larwood, Lindwall, Tate, Mailey, Ames, Ranjitsinjhi, Trumper, Grimmett, Verity, Richardson, Goddard and W. G. Grace. There are also a host of sketches showing batting, bowling and fielding techniques and the text is concise, precise and informative.
It really is worthy of a reprint but not a revision with modern players. It wouldn't be the same.