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Kynaston, David – Richie Benaud’s Blue Suede Shoes (new)

“A spellbinding read,’ Vic Marks



Subtitled: The story of an Ashes classic, Old Trafford, July 1961. Hardback with dw, 298 pages

Co written by Harry Ricketts

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1 review for Kynaston, David – Richie Benaud’s Blue Suede Shoes (new)

  1. Ken

    Review by Ken Piesse:

    It was the most bewitching hour of Richie Benaud’s fabled cricketing life.
    By turning a Test match, he ensured his enduring status as an Ashes immortal.
    By going around the wicket and bowling ball-after-ball into deep footmarks at the Warwick Rd end on the famous final day of the 1961 Old Trafford Test, Benaud took five wickets in half an hour and six for the afternoon as Australia stole a victory which seemed England’s for the taking.
    His tactical masterpiece was to be repeated many times by one he mentored, Shane Warne, but at the time it was Churchillian and he was lauded as a genius of the game.
    Richie Benaud’s Blue Suede Shoes, the story of an Ashes classic rekindles one of the Ashes’ most remembered afternoons. Set 256, England was freewheeling at 1-150 before being dismissed for 201, Benaud bowling 32 overs in a row to swing the match.
    The authors David Kynaston and Harry Ricketts were nine and 10 at the time and vividly recall the anguish created on the final day by first Alan Davidson and Graham McKenzie with the bat, and Benaud and Davo with the ball.
    Having access to 55 minutes of You Tube highlights and the BBC commentary, ball by ball enlivens a flowing, absorbing narrative.
    The Australians had been written off by English legend Jim Laker as the poorest touring team to England since the war and when Benaud damaged a shoulder tendon bowling a wrong-‘un to Worcestershire’s Tom Graveney in the first major match, they no longer had access to their most potent slow bowler.
    When he missed the Lord’s Test, Alex Bannister wrote: ‘If he does play (again), he’s unlikely to be an effective Test bowler for the rest of the tour.’ Whoops.
    Benaud had been to England twice before, in 1953 and 1956. At Scarborough at the end of his first tour, the iconic Bill O’Reilly advised him to truly perfect his stock ball, the leg break and bowl it most often, five balls in six, even six in six, rather than toying with varieties.
    Benaud was to develop a flipper, but his unrelenting accuracy was to be his hallmark, a little like Warnie of more recent times.
    The authors admired Benaud’s zest for the contest, considering him fearless, intelligent and very approachable.
    Reference to the blue suede shoes in the title comes from Benaud’s admiration for Bradman Invincible Arthur Morris who had a favourite pair. Richie followed suit and kept wearing them, believing they brought him luck.
    The Australians hadn’t won a Test at Old Trafford since 1902 and the age of Victor Trumper.
    Having been lifted by an unlikely last wicket stand of 98 on the final morning, Australia was suddenly back in the match, given that only two teams batting fourth had successfully chased a 200-plus run target in a UK Test.
    ‘We’ll do these jokers Rich,’ said Davidson in the rooms after his famous 77 not out, including a savage assault against England’s in-form offspinner David Allen.
    Ted Dexter’s afternoons heroics included 10 4s in his first 50, England’s 150 coming in two exhilarating hours before Benaud changed the game with his extra angle, Dexter being caught at the wicket to one which bounced more.
    Benaud was lauded for his relentless accuracy into the rough and in the pivotal half an hour before the tea break he took 4-9, dismissing Dexter (76), Peter May (0), Brian Close (8) and John Murray (4) as the game fortunes changed irreversibly.
    Benaud was described as a snake-charmer who had achieved the Indian rope trick.
    It was the pinnacle of his career and the authors do great justice to a fabulous moment in time… especially if you happen to be an Aussie – KP.

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