Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review of "How's That! A Layman's Guide to Cricket"

Thought I would try to add a little variety as one goal of this blog is to cover a wide variety of sports and the books written on them.   Here is a review of a book that introduces the reader to cricket.


“How’s That! A Layman’s Guide to Cricket” by Tony Whelpton.


Cricket, instruction, introduction, non-fiction


December 21, 2012 (second edition).  Originally published 1998


71 pages


2 ½ of 5 stars (okay)


Written for those who have little or no knowledge of the game of cricket, “How’s That!” introduces the reader to the terminology, field layout, basic roles for players and an explanation of the scoring in the game.   Cricket is not a game that can be easily explained to the person who has never seen it before, and the author makes an admirable effort to do so here.  

The biggest problem I had reading the book was the complexity of the game itself.  By trying to keep it as simple as possible, there was a lot of information that felt incomplete.  Trying to explain how a team scores its runs was an example.   While reading the concept of the runs, and introducing the second batter into the explanation, I found myself reading certain sections over and over just to be sure I understood the author’s explanation of the game.  Admittedly, I still had some troubles understanding some of the lingo, such as breaking the wicket, even after rereading the appropriate passages. 

As an American, I can appreciate the attempt by the author to do this.  I have similar issues when trying to explain the similar game of baseball to someone who has never seen the game before.  That can be met with frustration on both the part of the person learning the game and the one teaching the game.  I got that same feeling while reading this book.  I know the author was doing his best to keep it simple, but after I finished the book, I don’t believe I understand the game much more than I did before.   The terminology and glossary of the game was covered well and I did learn a lot there.   I was hoping to learn more about the game than I did, and for that, I felt the book fell short of that goal.  

Did I skim?


Did I learn something new?

Yes.  Many things, mainly the basic rules and terminology for cricket.   I didn’t get a good feel for the game having not watched it or played it while reading this.  

Pace of the book: 

Good for the most part.  I found that I needed to go back and refer to other terms that were already mentioned because now in the new context, I had to go back and reread that passage.


The book is written in simple language, easy to understand and does not delve too deeply into the nuances of the game.  For a beginner or non-fan, this is a good format.


There were numerous typing and grammatical errors throughout the book, even allowing for a “language” barrier with the author British and the reviewer American.   The diagrams of the field, the wickets and the position of the bowler, batter, and fielders were far too small in the ebook edition to be helpful while reading. 

Do I recommend? 

Only for those who just need to gain a basic understanding of the object and terms used in cricket.  If a more detailed book on the strategy and intricacies of the game is wanted, this is not the book to buy.

Book Format Read:
Ebook (Kindle)

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