Playing the game? by Mark Peel

By Mark Peel

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


Pages: 288

MRP: £ 18.99p


Mark Peel's latest book is engrossing yet, by its nature, a somewhat sad read for all those who hold decorous play at heart. Playing the Game? delves into the somewhat sordid world which plenty of players, it seems, will go to gain an advantage over opposition players.

Not, though, that this is a comparatively recent blight on the game. Way back to the nineteenth century, W.G.Grace was one of the best-known exponents. Those who hold fair play close to their hearts may, at best, be disappointed by some of the sledging - or some such similar phrase which essentially boils down to the same thing - and undoubtedly much of it is now unpleasant. There were times when some of it was quite amusing but it seems now that times have changed for the worse.

Pressurising umpires by not walking and frenetic appealing has added to the, at times, unappetising spectacle but one imagines that players of different ages knew or know what to expect. Times have changed and how many remember occasions of opposition fielders and bowlers congratulating a batsman on scoring a hundred?

Mark Peel investigates these and other issues and how the governing bodies have dealt with them or not. There have been occasions of teams fining their players only for their employers to impose a higher sanction or fine. It seems that very few countries come out with much credit.

Tardy over-rates are another perennial problem which does not seem to be improving. Go back 90 years and play started later and sides bowled at times 130 overs. There have been instances of players being penalised for apparent slowing down of the game and few facets of the modern or historical game escape Mark's beady eye.

Playing the game? It is fairly certain that, should a match reach its ending with ten to make and one wicket left, that there would not be a breathless hush on or off the field.