Like the game of cricket itself, this fascinating book works on many levels, some playful, some analytical and some cultural... Kynaston is an accomplished historian, Fay a hugely experienced journalist; and they see a more interesting story... It was the life work of Arlott and Swanton to convince the public that the survival of English cricket was a matter of national importance; and it is the achievement of Messrs Fay and Kynaston to have so warmly illuminated their different ways of doing so.
When the BBC lost the rights to broadcast England’s Test tours last year, the dismay was unconfined.
As the authors observe in their account of two beloved post-war cricket broadcasters, cricket and the BBC are intimately linked...
Yet if they were never quite friends, this engaging joint biography confirms that they were united by ‘a deep and thoughtful love of cricket and cricketers’.
The authors admit to having begun their project as “Arlott men”, which is perhaps how a fair proportion of those reading this would categorise themselves. Arlott wrote beautifully, as befitted a former producer of poetry programmes for the BBC, his view of the game characterised by its empathy for the journeyman professional. By contrast Swanton’s prose never rose above the functional, a vehicle for the ex cathedra pronouncements with which he expected to mould opinions at breakfast tables from St John’s Wood to the shires.