Blowers is back! It’s Just Not Cricket unfolds the drama of the 1998-99 cricket year in the inimitable style of the voice of Test Match Special. It offers the usual Blofeld ingredients of a leisurely, politically incorrect, globetrotting overview of the cricketing year,liberally sprinkled with Blofeld’s friends and acquaintances. Yet It’s Just Not Cricket almost failed to reach chapter 8, as Blofeld dramatically explains in his first chapter, which deals with his near-fatal heart surgery, which also coincided with the sacrilegious poaching of Test Match Special by Talk Radio.

Despite these seismic shifts in the otherwise serene world of Blowers, the book follows its usual agreeable course through the cricket year. We follow England’s gallant but inevitable failure to recapture the Ashes down under, “about as likely as bumping into Bill Clinton in a monastery”, despite the heroic victory in Melbourne and Darren Gough’s sensational hat-trick. Blowers fulminates on the controversy of alleged match-fixing among the Pakistani test team, admires Brian Lara’s remarkable resurrection in the drawn series between Australia and the West Indies and laments England’s ignominious exit from the World Cup and defeat at the hands of New Zealand.

Blofeld is as opinionated as ever, be it admiring Alec Stewart’s “Colonel Bogey” approach to captainship or lampooning the litigious affairs of his great fall-guy, Geoffrey Boycott, the Greatest Living Yorkshireman (GLY).Blowers is still going strong and still keeping up with the times; if anyone doubts it, they should check out his own personal Web site! –Jerry Brotton

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