Ramadhin and Valentine
- A History of West Indies Cricket by Michael Manley
Deutsch, 575 pp, £17.95, May 1988, ISBN 0 233 98259 0
- Sobers: Twenty Years at the Top by Garfield Sobers and Brian Scovell
Macmillan, 204 pp, £11.95, June 1988, ISBN 0 333 37267 0
We sometimes have reason to be grateful for the periods politicians spend in opposition. Roy Jenkins’s Asquith, Anthony Crosland’s reflections on socialism, Richard Crossman’s Bagehot, would hardly have come out of Whitehall, and Michael Manley would not have found time to write a history of West Indian cricket which encompasses the social, economic and regional problems of the Caribbean if he had been engaged in trying to resolve them in their present manifestations. There is no way of separating the history of the sport, in terms of the games played and the talents of the players, from the material and social conditions in which they have been played. The wristiness of West Indian batsmen, according to Manley, and in the earlier years their difficulties in driving and playing on the front foot, had something to do with learning to cope with bad wickets and irregular bounce.