BOWLER'S NAME? by Tom Hicks

by Tom Hicks

Published by Pitch Publishing
A2 Yeoman Gate, Yeoman Way,
Worthing, Sussex BN13 3QZ


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Pages: 350

MRP: £16.99


There are many who have played cricket professionally, and many more who have played it at a less high level for clubs yet turned out well into their advanced years in many cases. The professionals will likely have rubbed shoulders with the good and great of that era, and some more modest players at club cricket may also, if lucky, have had their moments of glory in meeting, knowing or even playing the odd game with renowned players. Memories which last a lifetime. Tom Hicks appears to be a lucky man and is someone in between these two extremes: an Oxford captain - indeed, the last one to lead a side out at Lord's - and thereby First-class cricketer; a Minor County captain of Dorset and someone who has enjoyed many wonderful moments playing with and meeting many household names during his playing days. There are, I am sure, many will read his book and feel a little envious.

Written with a sense of humour but in a self-deprecating manner in the main, Bowler's Name? is a joyful account of Tom's playing days at schools, clubs, Oxford University and Dorset and his experiences will doubtless strike a chord with those of us who have captained and managed sides (and the headaches which can be associated with these lofty positions). Cricket has that ability to throw up names and I see that I knew one of Tom's Oxford cricket colleagues and a person who went on to a non-cricketing career. Tom was undoubtedly a decent cricketer and, even after his retirement in 2015, has now returned to playing in Hong Kong where he and his family live. In between the pranks on and off the field, to me some of his comments as age creeps in perfectly illustrate mindsets which many of us have faced. Cricket can be a long game.

Tom recalls what can happen on cricket tours and has been lucky to play in cricketing outposts with the M.C.C. We will undoubtedly recognise what happens in changing rooms and some of the types of character with whom Tom has played with over the years. In short, a book which both club cricketers and professionals can enjoy. In a book of 350 pages, it can be seen that Tom has had a lifetime of enjoyment playing with and against the likes of Graeme Swann, Robin Smith, Marcus Trescothick as well as being a school friend of Jonny Wilkinson.

There are more serious elements explored such as mental health, and Tom seems to hold firm opinions on certain subjects. That said, the book is predominantly one about enjoyable capers and readers who have played club cricket will recognise some of the insights which Tom mentions. His is a pleasing book and he will doubtless have many cherished memories to take into cricketing retirement (after his latest return to the game). Tom obviously loves cricket and Bowler's Name? resonates with this enthusiasm.