Book Review: Bumper time on quantity streak

BOOK REVIEW CRICKET WORLD CUP GUIDES

NO SPORTING tourney today can possibly be conducted without more guides than there are in a Himalayan search-and-rescue unit. The 1999 Cricket World Cup is therefore merely following the established pattern. It has attracted a plethora of accompanying volumes, the sum total of the information in which should almost defy anybody to suggest that they have no idea what is going off out there.

Many are official, a valuable designation (or otherwise, depending on whether you think the game's administrators are capable of organising a contest between bat and ball on a cricket ground). It is, by any standards, a bumper bundle, though it is not quite a complete bundle. The entire canon suffers from the necessary evil of publishers' lead times and the need to be on the shelves before the competition - in both senses.

To take first what might be called the authorised versions. Not everything has run smoothly for the England and Wales Cricket Board in their planning for this World Cup but they have got this part of it right. It is not a perfect mixture but it is a package (all Boxtree Books) determined correctly to cater for a wide audience.

The centrepiece is the Official Companion to the 1999 Cricket World Cup, by Rob Steen (pounds 9.99), a jaunty enough trawl through past tournaments, this year's teams and the venues. It picks (surprise, surprise, being official) England to win but, then, it suggests that Philo Wallace and Craig Wright will be the aces in the hole, for West Indies and Scotland respectively, when neither is playing. Dashed by deadlines, there.

So, to an extent, is World Cup Essential Stats and Facts by Steve Pearce and Bill Day (pounds 4.99) which, with the need to guess squads long before they were named, lists virtually an inexhaustible number of cricketers for each country and still manages omissions. It is actually shorter on stats than you might suppose but neat pen profiles are its great strength.

The jewels in this crown, however, are those largely to be enjoyed by the young follower of the game. The World Cup Fun Book (pounds 6.99), again by Pearce, is a model of its kind, as entertaining, passionate, informative and glossy as the one-day game itself.

The World Cup Pack (pounds 9.99) consists of an abbreviated version of the official guide and a scorebook with pages for every match. Another triumph is the series of mini-books on each competing team (pounds 3.99), a mine of natty nuggets unearthed by Jonathan Rice.

None of these volumes is especially good at explaining how the World Cup will work. Some contain the draw and fixtures but none delves too deeply into the regulations, which is odd considering their status. The NatWest Playfair Cricket World Cup 1999 (Headline, pounds 4.99) reveals all simply by printing the playing conditions. Although it is also behind the times, it has the most detailed intelligence on players and scorecards from every World Cup match played since the whole jamboree started in 1975. Cricket World Cup 1999 - called, for some reason, a pocket annual (HarperCollins, pounds 4.99) - tries hard in its pen portraits but still suffers by comparison.

World Cup Cricket's Clash of the Titans (Andre Deutsch, pounds 16.99), by Peter Baxter, looks back fondly at previous tournaments. The narrative is faithful and is heightened both by the memories of players and extracts from the radio commentaries at the time. All we crave now is some cricket this summer.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
People walk through Autumn leaves in St James's Park yesterday
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits