You Are The Umpire, by Paul Trevillion and John Holder

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The Independent Culture

The ball passes very close to the stumps, at the same time as a strong gust of wind. One of the bails flies off. The fielding side appeal but the batsman claims the wind, not the ball, removed the bail.

Out or not out? This is one of the many umpiring dilemmas posed in what modestly claims to be "the ultimate illustrated guide to the laws of cricket" and explains why one of the more traditional sights at a village match is players trying to avoid doing a stint in the white coat.

Written by Test umpire John Holder and stylishly drawn by Paul Trevillion, it also contains plenty of history, which brings a quibble or two: it's generally accepted that Jack Hobbs scored 197 centuries, not 199, and point must have wandered off when they compiled the fielding positions page. The answer to that question, by the way, is "not out"; the batsman gets the benefit of the doubt unless the umpire is absolutely sure that the ball, bat, or some part of his person broke the wicket.

No doubts, though, about this being an innovative, entertaining read.

Published in large-format hardback by Observer Books, £12.99

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