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An exploration of what it is about the peculiar game of cricket that so takes hold of the imagination, from the writer of the popular blog The Old Batsman

Cricket is a strange game. It is a team sport that is almost entirely dependent on individual performance. Its combination of time, opportunity and the constant threat of disaster can drive its participants to despair. To survive a single delivery propelled at almost 100 miles an hour takes the body and brain to the edges of their capabilities, yet its abiding image is of the gentle village green, and the glorious absurdities of the amateur game.

In The Meaning of Cricket, Jon Hotten attempts to understand this fascinating, frustrating and complex sport. Blending legendary players, from Vivian Richards to Mark Ramprakash, Kevin Pietersen to Ricky Ponting, with his own cricketing story, he explores the funny, moving and melancholic impact the game can have on an individual life.


A beautifully written meditation on the joys of summer

Tom Holland, Evening Standard, Book of the Year

Hotten is not just good, he is one of the best... He has the eye for a beautifully judged phrase

Richard Whitehead, Cricketer

Hotten has emerged as a worthy addition to the lineage of writers who adhere to C L R James’s aphorism: “What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?”… This will be a worthy addition to any cricketing bookshelf

Tim Wigmore, New Statesman

For those dreaming of summer, The Meaning of Cricket is accessible, fun and elegantly written.

Hilary Mantel, New Statesman, Book of the Year

Simultaneously playful and packed with insight … All cricketing life is here... Hotten’s writing is accessible and often moving

Ben East, Observer

Memory and meditation twirled into a lovesong: Jon Hotten hits it out of the park

William Fiennes

A collection of Jon Hotten's writing that is lively with insight and anecdote, and informed by the persona of the knowledgeable and fascinated practitioner… On amateur cricket Jon is alternately hilarious and poignant, but it's when he's in his almost-a-pro-yet-somehow-not-quite vein that he truly breaks out. He considers cricket's capacity for revealing us to ourselves.

Gideon Haigh, Cric Info

An eccentric mix of anecdote, personal memoir, historical observation, technical analysis and psychological insight.

Matthew Syed, The Times

Hotten is among the best in the business, as this vivid love letter to the sport proves.


Engrossing book… Hotten explores what it is about cricket that so takes hold of the imagination… Reveal[s] the funny, moving and transformative impact the game can have on life.


[Hotten’s] witty commentary on the great names, absurdities and realities of cricket will give heart to its many mad devotees.


A little gem.

David Owen, Inside the Games

A thoughtful paean…to a beautiful game.

Claire Allfree, Metro, Book of the Year

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    August 28, 2017

    Yellow Jersey

    240 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    July 7, 2016

    Vintage Digital

    240 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
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    • eBooks