Twirlymen: The Unlikely History of Cricket's Greatest Spin Bowlers
They are the masters of deception, the jokers in the pack; illusionists conjuring wickets out of thin air with nothing more than an ambled approach and a wonky grip. Not for them the brutish physicality of the pace bowler nor the reactive slogging of the batsman. Theirs is a more cerebral art. They stand alone in a team sport. They are Twirlymen. Having himself failed through a combination of injury and indolence to become a leg-spinner of renown Amol Rajan pays homage to that most eccentric of all sporting heroes - the spin bowler. On a journey through cricket history Rajan introduces us to the greatest purveyors of that craft, from W. G. Grace to Graeme Swann via Clarrie Grimmet's flipper, Muttiah Muralitharan's helicopter wrist, Shane Warne's ball-of-the-century and all the rest. With illustrations that lift the lid on even the most mysterious deliveries, "Twirlymen" is full of remarkable matches, incredible stories, and characters with more twists than a googly.
From W. G. Grace to Shane Warne, Twirlymen is an essential look at that most eccentric of cricketers - the spin bowler
"Enchanting. Twirlymen is packed with anecdotes that fizz like a Murali doosra" Spectator "Wonderful" The Economist "Erudite... Charming and insightful... Knowledgeable, obsessed and astute" New Statesman "Rajan captures the distinctiveness of spin bowlers, a tribe within the wider nation of cricketers" Literary Review "I could not stop picking it up... A history of spin bowling, diligently researched but written with wit and, most tellingly, an obsessive's eye for detail" -- Andy Bull Guardian
Amol Rajan is Deputy Comment Editor and Columnist for the Independent, having previously been a news reporter and Sports News Correspondent for the newspaper. He grew up in Tooting, south London, and from the age of 11 played for Sinjuns Cricket Club (now Sinjuns & Grammarians) in Wandsworth, becoming the youngest captain of a men's team when leading the Sunday First XI in 2002, aged eighteen.