Jack Hobbs: England’s Greatest Cricketer by Leo McKinstry; Twirlymen: The Unlikely History of Cricket’s Greatest Spin Bowlers by Amol Rajan - review by Robert Chesshyre

Robert Chesshyre

The Whole 22 Yards

Jack Hobbs: England’s Greatest Cricketer

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Yellow Jersey Press 401pp £20 order from our bookshop

Twirlymen: The Unlikely History of Cricket’s Greatest Spin Bowlers

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Yellow Jersey Press 379pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

It is almost impossible for a modern cricket follower to comprehend the impact that cricket and its star players had in England between the wars. The sport was an obsession, the one game that bound all classes together, and was played ubiquitously with the enthusiasm found now only in the subcontinent. As men and boys bat and bowl on every scrap of open ground from Sri Lanka to the Himalayas, so, then, English children chalked stumps on city lampposts and men rushed from work to read the county scores in their evening papers. 

John Berry ‘Jack’ Hobbs was a colossus of this era. Modest in person, elegant in action and prolific in achievement, he was one of the best-known and most admired Englishmen of his age. His was a long innings: he played at the highest level from well before the

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