Published in hardback by Bloomsbury, £16.99

The Authors XI, by The Authors Cricket Club

 

It could all have gone terribly wrong.

The idea of reviving the Authors Cricket Club, who first played in 1905 (opening batsmen: PG Wodehouse and Arthur Conan Doyle) before packing it in seven years later, and then having the players write a book about their season, ran the risk of becoming an exercise in sugar-coated whimsy, a sepia-tinged nod to the so-called “Golden Age” of cricket before the First World War spoiled everything.

Happily, nothing could be farther from the truth; by a felicitous choice of both fixtures and authors, each contributing a chapter based one of the matches, The Authors XI is by turns funny, feisty and affectionate.

The ever-excellent Jon Hotten ruminates on the changing nature of commentary as they face the BBC’s Bushmen; the historian Holland brothers, James and Tom, respectively explore the joy of creating a village ground and why age need not wither you; while The Independent’s own Amol Rajan has some typically spiky views on the Establishment and cricketer/politicians as the side take on the Lords and Commons CC.

In his account of the game against a Publishers XI, Sam Carter quotes Neville Cardus’s bon mot that it is wise not to be rude about cricket autobiographies, as “you never know who has written them”, but here the equation is triumphantly reversed; the team may be mixed ability on the field, but they sure can write.

Four of the Authors XI – Hotten, Rajan and the Holland Bros - also appear in a new Wisden quarterly magazine, The Nightwatchman (Wisden, £9).

Its premise is that in the mainstream media there is “a dearth of long-form writing on cricket”, which they seek to rectify.

Certainly the first issue justifies their ambitions, with essays  exploring topics as diverse as Wally Hammond’s Bradman complex, the perverse joy of England batting collapses, the illogicality of the nightwatchman’s role and Surrey’s least successful captain.

It also has a strong international flavour, so often lacking in Britain’s sports pages. The second issue is just out; on this evidence, I’ll be buying it.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea