Book Reviews: Good Lord, Johnners Bowled a Googlie!

Article excerpt

Byline: LINDESAY IRVINE

Johnners - The Life of Brian by Barry Johnson, published by Hodder and Stoughon pounds 20

WHAT is cricket about? It has in common with all sport the fact that it is a cure for boredom - usually male boredom, but not always - which does not invariably resort to actual violence, but turns into something else, something else which can be the occasion for the most astonishing feats of physical grace.

Written into the game of cricket, with its weird arcana, its elaborate rules, it's cake, it's teas and it's sandwiches is also the history of the British Empire.

The crack of willow against leather can be heard still in Australia, in India (and Pakistan), in Sri Lanka, in South Africa, in the West Indies and on Sky. They say it's still played in England, wherever that is. It's fighting a losing battle with football everywhere, one fears, but that's global capitalism for you.

Poor Brian lived to see the rot set in. …