“No one likes him,” friends would taunt me, “they don’t even have a nickname for him in the dressing room.” –Simon Hattenstone, from Me and Hicky

Cricket, the new rock’n'roll? Well, not quite, but Unlimited Overs, the third volume of new cricket writing in The New Ball series, certainly captures the resurgent interest and dynamism that has invigorated the game in recent years.

There’s no denying that multi-coloured pyjamas, limited overs, and the dominance of the mercurial South Africans and remorseless Australians, have given the game a tremendous boost of late–or as this collection might have it–”an almighty kick up the arse”.

With contributions from well-known writers like Colin Shindler, author of the best-selling Manchester United Ruined my Life and former Wisden editor Graeme Wright, it plays a pretty solid straight bat. But it’s the flashing stroke play of relatively new faces like the Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone, on his strange passion for Graeme Hick, and Radio 5 Live’s Mark Steel, on the view from the beer tent, that lifts this series above the ordinary.

Those who think coverage of the sport reached its zenith with Brian Johnston spotting buses “trundling down the Walworth Road”, may find some of the writing a trifle vulgar, but there is a vibrancy and freshness to the voices in this collection–backed up by some shrewd, witty analysis–that brings the sport to life.

Recommended reading for those who can appreciate a leg glance, but prefer to see a short one thumped away through the covers. –Alex Hankin

Get the The New Ball: Best New Cricket Writing: England V Australia v. 1 now!




  1. While newspapers continually revive the same old themes when discussing the state of English Cricket, this wonderful volume contains far better discussions about what is wrong, and why.

    All this plus a super review of the World Cup.

    If you are serious about cricket, purchase it immediately!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. The New Ball succeeds in its aim to give fresh, modern voices a forum for their comments on cricket. And although a couple of the contributions here re-hash old stories and older sentiments, there’s a lot to like here for the thoughtful fan looking for much, much more than dressing room revelations.
    Rating: 4 / 5

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