This is Cricket: In the Spirit of the Game (Hardcover)
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Winner of the 2021 WISDEN BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD, this book is a celebration of the elegance and timeless beauty of cricket--its greatest and most stylish players, from past heroes to today's stars, along with its idyllic and hallowed grounds.
Cricket has been played for over three hundred years and in some ways remains largely unchanged. It is this timelessness, and the style and spirit in which the game is conducted, which is celebrated in This Is Cricket.
The book brings together such idyllic settings as Sir Paul Getty's Ground in Buckinghamshire, U.K., surrounded by rolling countryside, with the Otago cricket ground in New Zealand set against a backdrop of mountains, as well as the sport's most hallowed pitches, including Lord's (opened by Thomas Lord in 1814) and Melbourne Cricket Ground, which hosted the first-ever International "Test" match in 1877.
Readers will venture on a journey to the Caribbean, where the fast bowling attack of the West Indies reigned in the 1970s, and to India, where cricket soared to new heights in the 1980s. From Shane Warne's hat-trick at the MCG in 1994 to Ben Stokes's heroics at Lord's and Headingley in 2019, This Is Cricket captures many of the game's most extraordinary events and players. The striking images of on-field action as well as candid dressing-room moments, some published here for the first time, are taken by some of the most respected photographers in sport.
Featuring bucolic village greens, charming pavilions, endearing team portraits, extraordinary catches, devastating bowling, heroic batting, stylish sweaters, and silly fancy dress, this book illustrates why cricket is the second most popular sport in the world and why it is truly loved by so many.
About the Author
Daniel Melamud is a writer, editor, photographer, and lifelong cricket enthusiast who captained his primary-school cricket team to a comprehensive defeat at Lord's. David Gower played in 117 Test matches for England between 1978 and 1992, and captained them to a memorable victory in the 1985 Ashes series. He was celebrated throughout the cricket world for the grace and elegance of his batting. Since retiring from playing Gower has been a much-loved commentator.
“I couldn’t tear myself away. I have seen plenty of collections of cricket photography before. This is Cricket: In the Spirit of the Game was the first that pricked my eyes with tears…this glorious 368-page compendium, its spreads the size of a modest paving slab, was almost too rich, a feast of images that threatened to overwhelm the senses. To list what I saw does not do the experience any justice: Clive Lloyd in the nets in his salmon-pink World Series gear; Kapil Dev and Mohinder Amarnath laughing on the Lord’s balcony; Jan Brittin smashing a square cut to the boundary. Some are famous pictures you’ve ached to have a copy of – Botham with his cigar, Buttler running out Guptill. Many capture moments you’ll recognise, in ways you don’t; and plenty more are simply photographs from the cricketing landscape that you’ve never seen. All come screaming off the page. After months of isolation, they transported me to unfamiliar times and places, made me weep with pleasure over games played before I was born. The book is irresistible – a tactile treat I keep coming back to, carefully turning its luxuriant pages for a glimpse of whites, a whiff of grass. I notice, with delight, how magnificent the book’s many women look; how, under the lens, their power and art achieve parity with their male peers. I find myself drawn to the crowd scenes, appreciating, for the first time, the marvel of the mass spectator experience, from Antigua to Pune to the MCG. Several times I gasped – at a broken-armed Paul Terry trying to dig out a Joel Garner yorker, for instance – or laughed out loud. And dammit, it felt good…Test and county grounds, village greens, the Oval Maidan, and more, bleed their green and pleasant land to the very edges of the page. And as I gaze at them, I am awash with gratitude. Not just to the photographers who took these pictures, or author Daniel Melamud for curating them in a way that can give me so many feels. But to the sport I love, simply for existing. The Wisden Book of the Year is This is Cricket. And nostalgics are going to love it.”
—Emma John, Wisden
“A gorgeous new release from Rizzoli containing photographs of the game in panorama, from village greens in England to the Nehru Stadium in India and much besides. Make room for this one next to your Wisdens.”
—The New Criterion
“This Is Cricket: In the Spirit of the Game by Daniel Melamud is a cricket/art book published in New York and one that requires quite a big coffee table to accommodate it. Inside are hundreds of photographs, some well-known classics, others fresh and unfamiliar. All delightfully portray a cricketing landscape that has temporarily gone missing.” —Vic Marks, The Guardian
“Jon Hotten, Wisden Cricket Monthly’s reviews editor picks out his favourite books of the year: Daniel Melamud’s This Is Cricket (Rizzoli) is a coffee-table collection of beautifully reproduced photographs of cricket and cricketers from across the world, just what you need for those deep midwinter nights.”—Wisden Cricket Monthly
“Cricket style will help you break your sweatpants habit.”—Wall Street Journal
"…the appeal of this distant cousin to American baseball—white outfits, green lawns, team camaraderie—endures, as evidenced by the picturesque, action-filled photographs in Daniel Melamud’s new book, This Is Cricket. Shots include several from Patrick Eagar—'a master if not the master of the lens and a genius at catching the moment,' writes former England captain David Gower in the foreword to the book—and chronicle all aspects of the sport: 'A sponsor’s tent, a fabulous cold buffet, potent glasses of Pimm’s and the afternoon took care of itself,' Gower recalls of a day spent on and (mostly) off the field due to intermittent rain. He adds, 'If these many gorgeous images don’t bring a smile to your face, I’m afraid you’re probably not human.'"
"Featuring over 300 jaw dropping images, expertly written text, and a foreword from the iconic English cricket commentator David Gower, This Is Cricket pays homage to the eternal elegance of cricket…it’s also the perfect entry for anyone who is just starting to take a shine to this classic sport."
—Scott Frederick, DeFY New York
"Rizzoli’s new hardcover book This Is Cricket celebrates the timeless game, from the best and most stylish players to the hallowed grounds on which it’s played. Why we want it: maybe this is how we finally learn the rules of cricket."