Does any sport have as much great reading material as cricket? Whether your favourite cricket books are autobiographies to read on your next trip, tips about playing the game, or those quirky books that the gentleman’s sport seems to give us year after year.
A lot of the books on this list have been released in the last year or two, so you may not have got round to reading them yet. Let’s dive into our list of the best cricket books for 2023.
Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2022
Are you one of those people who has to get the Almanack every single year? It is packed with all the facts and figures from the cricketing world, which means it is heavier than some house bricks, but it also has some stunning and enthralling guest writing from the likes of Stephen Fry, Henry Blofeld, and Mike Atherton in the 2022 edition.
Test Match Special: Tall Tales – The Good The Bad and The Hilarious from the Commentary Box
TMS has that beautiful ability to make you feel like you’re at the cricket even when you’re thousands of miles away. Whether it’s the humour among the iconic voices in the commentary box, the stats, or the mishaps and hilarity that always seems to ensue, Test Match Special is always a good listen.
This book is written by Aggers and Phil Tufnell and promises plenty of funny stories from the box and beyond, and has contributions from the likes of Isa Guha, Ebony Rainford Brent, Carlos Brathwaite and Aatif Nawaz.
This promises to be some light and breezy reading, perfect for this year’s summer escape.
It’s Always Summer Somewhere: A Matter of Life and Cricket
This book is a love letter to cricket from Felix White, who you may know for all sorts of reasons. His work with The Maccabees, or with the hit podcast Tailenders, or his sports and music writing.
Perhaps the most stunning example of his writing is in this Sunday Times Bestseller which has been lauded by the likes of Stephen Fry, and features “drop-in” cameos from the likes of Nasser Hussain and Phil Tufnell.
Felix manages to use his relationship and love of cricket to tell a fascinating life story, which covers all sorts of issues including his experiences with grief. Don’t be surprised to be wiping a tear from your eye when reading this book.
All-in-all, it is just a cricket fan pouring his heart out, and even giving some coverage to the World Cup Final of 2019, which is a drama that every Englishman will happily relive.
Bowl. Sleep. Repeat.: Inside the World of England’s Greatest-Ever Bowler
Felix White is with us again for this journey into the career of a true modern great. Jimmy Anderson is one of those cricketers who remains an enigma, and his incredible career has seen some real ups and downs.
This doesn’t have the feel of one of those autobiographies that is just published for the sake of it at the end of a career. The fact that it is written in collaboration with White gives it the feel of an old friend chatting to you about their fascinating life so far.
This book may actually change some perceptions of Jimmy, too. Some people see him as the grumpy northerner or the shy and retiring type, but this puts pay to some of those theories as Anderson takes us through some rip-roaring anecdotes from his career as a world-leading bowler.
Hitting Against the Spin: How Cricket Really Works
This book promises to answer some of the questions that a lifelong cricket fan will inevitably have, and it comes with some impressive testimonials already!
‘Fascinating and insightful . . . lifts the curtain to reveal the inner workings of international cricket. A must-read for any cricketer, coach or fan’ – Eoin Morgan
‘This path-breaking book should be compulsory reading for commentators and captains – and all cricket fans’ – Mervyn King
The book has been compared to cricket’s answer to “A Brief History of Time”, as the authors take an analytical look at some facts and figures from the history of cricket, as well as setting out to answer some of those questions for the ages, such as “does it really matter to win the toss?” and “what is the science behind swinging a ball?”
It promises to be a must-read for the superfan.
The Book of Fred
You can always rely on Freddie Flintoff. With the ball, the bat, the chip fryer, in the boxing ring, and driving the latest car…
To say he has had a varied career would be an understatement, and though this isn’t his first foray into writing, Freddie’s latest book still has some cracking stories and provides us with plenty of fun and anecdotes, including the time he accidentally upset national treasure Bruce Forsyth.
The book is generally a humorous memoir, but it has some serious moments too, and even some of the traits Freddie attributes his continued success to. Once again, this is another autobiographical book that just might make the list of poolside reading when you go on your holiday this year.
Ten to Win… And the Last Man In: My Pick of Test Match Cliffhangers
Henry Blofeld is a cricket icon and fans of a certain vintage continue to adore his writing now that he’s called it a day on his broadcasting career. Blofeld writes with a passion for the game and the same charm and wit we all know him for in this, a book dedicated to the cliffhangers we’ve seen over the years of test cricket, and there have been plenty to choose from.
Blofeld indulges England fans with that incredible Ben Stokes innings from 2019, too. Some of the matches discussed go as far back as 1902, though, and Henry’s enthusiasm shines through on every page. As he puts it himself, ‘what an absurdly irresistible game cricket can be’.
Why We Kneel, How We Rise – Michael Holding
It started with a rain delay. Michael Holding’s impassioned speech about taking the knee in cricket and all sports provoked an emotional response and rightly went viral.
Now he has written Why We Kneel, How We Rise, and shared the story of black athletes around the world, the history of racism and dehumanising of black people, and what it is like to experience racism. There are contributions from huge names including Thierry Henry, Michael Johnson, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Makhaya Ntini, Naomi Osaka and Usain Bolt
The message is powerful, and perfectly delivered. This book isn’t the light reading that some of the other options on the list provide, but it is vitally important, moving, and fascinating all at the same time.
Cricket has given rise to some incredible books, and as you can see from our list, they often have an impact far beyond the cricket pitch. Whether it is a breezy and funny Sunday afternoon book you want or something to thrill and educate you about the history of the sport, there’s an option on the list for you.