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February 19 , 2011

Rain Men


There are many cricket books, and they are all the same. 'Don't Tell Goochie', autobiographical insights of nights on the tiles in Delhi with Lambie and the boys; 'Fruit cake days', a celebrated humourist recalls 'ball' - related banter of yore; and Wisden, a deadly weapon when combined with a thermos flask. Rain Men is different. Like the moment the genius of Richie Benaud first revealed itself to you, it is a cricketing epiphany, a landmark in the literature of the game.

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Shining the light meter of reason into cricket's incomparable madness, Marcus Berkmann illuminates all the obsessions and disappointments that the dedicated fan and pathologically hopeful clubman suffers year after year - the ritual humiliation of England's middle order, the partially-sighted umpires, the battling average that reads more like a shoe size. As satisfying as a perfectly timed cover drive, and rather easier to come by, Rain Men offers essential justification for anyone who has ever run a team-mate out on purpose or secretly blubbed at a video of Botham's Ashes.

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