In an age when people often claim that sport is becoming sanitised and becoming devoid of characters, the stories of Luke Fletcher and his contemporaries in this book show that there is at least one character left in the game – and that character is Luke Fletcher!
If you’re looking for a light hearted insight into the life and playing career of one of the game’s truly good guys, then this is the book for you. It’s a breezy jaunt through the tales that Fletcher has accumulated through his career, both on and off the field, backed up by comment and confirmation from the others.
If you are looking for deep psychological musings, or development of key principals when it comes to cricket, then this is maybe not the book for you.
The book is full of short, sharp punchy chapters, each one a different story or experience from Fletcher’s life and career in cricket.
He says in the introduction that not all the stories in the book will paint him in a good light, but I beg to differ. All the way through the book Fletcher’s personality, humility and passion for the game shine through. This collection of tales and anecdotes show Fletcher in a brilliant light, as someone who cares deeply about the game, his team mates and opponents.
Fletcher’s love of the game is evident throughout, never more so when he speaks about the times he met some of the game’s true greats: striking up conversation with Ricky Ponting (and getting abused for his troubles), being star struck by Kumar Sangakkara and joking with Marcus Trescothick (which got him headbutted). In fact it is only as you read Fletcher’s stories that you realise how many greats of the game he has played with and against in his career, and what impact he has had on them.
And it is not just Fletcher that we hear from. We hear from his good friends Alex Hales, Stuart Broad and Steven Mullaney, amongst others, and then coaches and players he has worked with and played against.
The warmth and affection that all speak of Fletcher with is enjoyable to read and, as I read the comments from others about him, I found myself smiling at their thoughts and stories. It is clear he is well liked and a popular player on the county circuit, and especially in his own dressing room – a true team man.
This is evident particularly in the aftermath of the terrible injury he received at Edgbaston when, in his follow through, he was unable to get his hands in the way of a Sam Hain drive and bore the brunt flush on his head. There was a lot of blood and Fletcher was left concussed and out for the season. As he sat bloodied in the changing room, his only concern was his team mates – not wanting them to worry. The pictures of him sat giving them the thumbs up, trying to put their minds at rest, is a testament to Fletcher and the respect he has for his team.
When I said earlier there wasn’t any deep development of key principals of cricket in this book, maybe I was wrong. One of the key elements of any cricket match, team or player is the friendships made; camaraderie between team mates and opponents and; the stories and memories made along the way. This book and crammed full of such elements and the clear impact they have had on Fletcher, his side and the people he has met along the way.
I loved reading every one of them and I am sure you will, too, and with a smile on your face as you do.