This is not your standard cricket book, yes it is a book about a life in cricket but not a player, not a commentator or journalist but a supporter like you or me. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it so much, looking at the game though a pair of eyes like ours, maybe it was because as I read it, I could imagine hopefully in many many years’ time my own children writing a similar book about me in the same way the author Matthew Appleby has written about his father Edgar Appleby. Looking at the experiences he had, the statistics he compiled and the memorabilia he collected.
Each chapter of the book focuses on one cricketing artefact from the life of Matthew’s dad, how he acquired it, how much it cost, how much he told his wife it cost, (another parallel I know well) and the stories behind them. The signed WG grace book purchased at an auction, due a deal with another collector to not bid on that lot if Appleby agreed to not bid on other lots, the signed Donald Bradman autobiography that every cricket fan would love to won, especially if like Appleby you had been there to see his final innings or like any cricket supporter “The Autograph Album”, this isn’t an album like you or I may have, but a serious endeavour stretching back to the touring Australian side of 1912.
As the book progresses it becomes more focused on the Author, Matthew Appleby and his exploits, his writing and love of the game, but also his desire to know more about his dad within the game, the conversations with former teammates and colleagues, digging down into truly what made his dad tick and what made him an ultimate cricket fan. Without spoiling too much, what shines through is the absolute and unconditional love for the game that Edgar Appleby had, and along with that the love that Matthew clearly has for his dad, the experiences he gave him in cricket and how he passed those on to him.
If you are looking for a book to take you on a journey through a cricketing life that will make you smile, relate to, and maybe shine a light onto all those things which we do as a cricket fan, then look no further than “How to be a cricket fan” by Matthew Appleby.
How to be a cricket fan by Matthew Appleby is published by Pitch Publishing and is available from Amazon and all good book retailers