My Song Shall be Cricket

by Franklyn Stephenson

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


Pages: 285

MRP: £19.99

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It is easy to forget that Franklyn Stephenson has now turned 60. It does not seem all that long ago that he was turning out for Gloucestershire and, more pertinently, Nottinghamshire and Sussex but the extensive statistical section in Franklyn's autobiography, My Song Shall be Cricket, reminds us that over a quarter of a century has passed since he last graced England's county playing fields.

Test cricket was not a format afforded to him after rebel tours to South Africa in the 1980s. Indeed, appearances for his native Barbados were negligible after bans for going to South Africa and his book covers these events in detail as can be imagined. He also played further First-Class cricket in South Africa with Orange Free State.

His book covers his cricketing - and, more latterly, golf - life in good detail from his early beginnings to now running the Franklyn Stephenson Academy in Barbados.

My Song Shall be Cricket is packed full of memories on the field and he enjoys an enduring friendship with Sir Garfield Sobers, who contributed the book's foreword. One can sense the admiration of some cricketers with whom he played for or against although there may also be a feeling that others might not quite fall in the same category.

Quick-fire cricket these days relies heavily on a variety of different-paced deliveries but Stephenson was accepted as one of the most formidable in the art of slower deliveries. The delivery which dismissed Essex's Brian Hardie in the epic Benson & Hedges final of 1989 appears in the book and can be found on YouTube.

Stephenson is the last player to achieve the double in 1988. A fine fast bowler and rollicking batsman, Franklyn made two centuries in the last match of the season against Yorkshire to reach the target. Thirty-one years on, it seems with the ever-changing county schedule and reliance on cricket which can be fitted into a small part of one day means that Franklyn Stephenson could remain the last player to achieve the coveted double.

Franklyn's coverage of the leagues in which he regularly appeared is interesting and nice to see. It is easy to concentrate on the more major games and teams for which cricketers have appeared but his autobiography gives decent coverage of all areas of his life.

The statistical section is extensive but maybe an index might have been useful although I accept that that might give a tendency to flit through the book and thereby miss some of the landmarks of this fascinating cricketer's story.