Gareth Stevens reviews what started as a blog and resulted in a book - thanks largely to a complementary relationship between quick giggles and genuine insight.
Banter and sledging is an art form unto its own - and this book offers a look into the world of cricket banter that, until now, has only been explored by players of the gentlemen's game. The focus of the content is to deliver a good laugh through the use of many humorous stories and events that cricket and its many characters facilitate.
Cricket Banter: Chat, Sledging and Laughs from the Middle Stump started as a blog. It quickly developed cult-like status, as big names in cricket became fans and shared their own experiences. As a result, the blog gained the necessary clout for its material to be crafted into a book - and perhaps genuine insight for those who bet on cricket.
Authors Dan Whiting and Liam Kenna are seasoned club cricketers, who understand the added value banter brings to the sport. Their work contains numerous interviews, articles and evaluations of each county in a fun and interesting fashion.
An educational aspect is added in the form of an amusing and informative glossary. It provides explanations and definitions of phrases, assisting greater understanding and appreciation of sledging.
The writers ave ensured their brainchild is not merely a giggle, as it does contain some substance. An insider's view of players and coaches personalities is a real eye-opener, while young talent coming through the county system is also evaluated.
Whiting and Kenna had a clear motive when condensing the content of their blog into book format. It is their belief that cricket is a sport filled with weird and wonderful characters, who are some of the funniest people around. In this day and age of professionalism, even in club and school cricket, the culture of having a few drinks at the pavilion and getting acquainted with cricketing heroes has sadly been lost. Cricket Banter: Chat, Sledging and Laughs from the Middle Stump attempts to share these characters and, in a small way, introduce them to the public.
The authors' vision is not only based on a great concept, but that they have done an admirable job in attempting to achieve their goal.
It has often been debated, sometimes on Paddy Power whether sledging belongs in the gentlemen's game. This book offers some answers by illustrating that sledging and banter have been a light-heated (for the most part) part of cricket since its inception.
Due to its layout, it is easy to read an isolated extract from any part of the book. It is a collection of short stories, where each can be appreciated without knowledge of the others. As a result, it is the perfect addition to a home's coffee table or the clubhouse bookshelf.