By Arthur Mailey

Arthur Mailey's vintage autobiography, first released in 1958, is a wry and fascinating account via a skilled cricketer from a truly diverse era—full of zest, assorted, fast, moving the purpose of assault, occasionally extravagant, often very good and regularly considerate. For 50 years, Arthur Mailey performed and watched firstclass cricket. in the course of his try out profession he performed opposed to some of the greats, and on one remarkable get together brushed off his idol, Victor Trumper, to his speedy remorse: "I felt like a boy who had killed a dove." it is a reminder of the honor days of cricket—amateurs and execs, Bradman, Noble, and Trumper batting, and Barnes, O'Reilly, and Fleetwood-Smith with the ball.

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It was a dangerous age for me to be in such desperation: I could so easily have thrown in the towel and drifted on to the scrap-heap of human endeavour. In fact, I gave up cricket for almost a whole summer and went fishing with my mother and crippled brother because I felt that here, at least, was congenial and sympathetic company. I didn’t mind being a labourer or a paper-seller or even a collector of bottles and broken glass but I did want something 15 10 for 66 and All That 21/7/08 5:22 PM Page 16 10 for 66 and All That regular, something that might lead to independence and freedom, even if the luxuries of life were to be denied me.

In half an hour, I thought, I’ll be joining the happy party. But the meter had other ideas. I found that putting the mechanism together was quite a different matter from taking it apart. The engineer put his head round the door to the basement. ‘Hurry up with that job,’ he said. ’ Something seemed to go wrong. Rusty water was squirting out of the joints and nothing I did would stop it. The engineer came down to me and hovered around. Then he bent over the meter to get a close view of the trouble.

Like other Australian cricketers who came to England it 36 10 for 66 and All That 21/7/08 5:22 PM Page 37 WATERING THE WICKET was the idea of actually seeing and playing at Lord’s that filled me with tremendous excitement and pride. There are other English cricket grounds that have their dignity, their traditions and their fame, but for the Aussie it is Lord’s and Lord’s alone which has the aura of a cricketer’s Nirvana. Nevertheless, there was something almost as thrilling waiting for me in London in 1921: an invitation from the chief of the Bystander and Graphic to meet the editorial staff and discuss the possibility of doing cartoons for their publications.

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