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Ten years in the making, this book is truly complete and the first of its kind.
The Art and Science of Cricket represents the groundbreaking partnership between international cricket coach Bob Woolmer and renowned sports scientist Tim Noakes, who combined their skills to create this one-of-a-kind encyclopedic guide to cricket.
The author provides exhaustive instruction and guidance, covering the entire range of techniques and strategies. Explanatory illustrations, anecdotes and handy tips from some of the game's greatest players are also included.
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The Art and Science of Cricket is the ultimate book for cricket fans, players and coaches.
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Bob Woolmer played cricket at the highest levels and was considered the most innovative coach at the time of his tragic and untimely death at the 2007 World Cup.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
I had my first proper sighting of Bob in the early 1970s, when he was starting to make an impression in the Kent team, and I was working with BBC Television. He was an elegant player, under the influence of Colin Cowdrey, and he impressed me as being a good thinker on the game. There was no better example of this than in 1974, when, in the semi-final of the Gillette Cup, he bowled his 12 overs for 22, and then steered Kent to victory with 18 not out in a pulsating finish. In the final at Lord's three weeks later, it was Bob who bowled magnificently, and then shared the tense winning partnership with Alan Knott.
He confirmed my impression of his ability and his thinking in the years that followed, and when he played for the World XI in World Series Cricket, he was already thinking ahead into the area of coaching. Captains and coaches, good ones that is, are always a couple of overs ahead of the play; otherwise they find themselves trailing the opposition. Bob's habit of 'thinking cricket' is one of the reasons this is a coaching book different from all others.
It is essential to play your cricket in common-sense fashion. It follows that using a common-sense approach to coaching will provide a wonderful combination. On my first tour of England in 1953, I received the best simple advice from Bill O'Reilly as to the manner in which I should completely revise my bowling technique. It successfully changed my bowling career. So I believe that in the teaching of players, the key lies in watching a man play, detecting his mistakes, and having the ability to correct those mistakes, one at a time. Never forget the simple things.
In Bob's book there is much to ponder about mental skills and strengths, and it comes across that a player must use, rather than waste, his talent. To have a talent that is rarely used is a sad legacy in life; fortunately this was not true of Bob Woolmer's life. He was able to use his cricketing talents to the full, and his book is proof of this. I hope it is a great success.
Coogee, New South Wales, Australia, January 2008
Bob Woolmer (1948 - 2007): a memorial
Bob Woolmer began life with a cricket bat in his crib; and he died in the service of cricket, on 18 March 2007, at the Cricket World Cup in the West Indies. His sudden death, most probably of heart failure, caused a cloud of speculation and confusion that for a few months threatened to veil Bob's gigantic contribution to the game to which he had given his life.
He had just finished this book, a substantial work that contains much of what he had learnt, pondered and learnt afresh about cricket. It now serves as his legacy; and his surviving co-authors, and the many helpers who worked on it, hope that it reflects, in some measure, the depth and breadth of Bob's wisdom, experience and constantly questioning cricketing mind.
Bob's favourite saying to those dealing with a sporting defeat was, 'It's only a game. Nobody has died.' A modest, transparent and humble man, he would have been overwhelmed by the global outpouring of sentiment at his death. Yet his cricketing reach extended around the globe. He had coached cricketers on four continents, and had played against the world's best on the fifth. In North America, he had helped to prepare the Canadian team for the 2003 Cricket World Cup. In Europe, he played for Kent and England, and coached Warwickshire to a success that remains unmatched in the history of English county cricket. Later, in his role as ICC High Performance Manager, he played a significant role in the coaching of the Holland and Ireland teams. In Africa, he coached Namibia, Kenya, and of course, the South African national team -- all while continuing to run his coaching clinics for youngsters in Cape Town; and, in Asia, he tackled with relish the formidable task of coaching the Pakistan side. Bob was fascinated by the nation of Pakistan, its people, their religion and culture, and its cricketers, in whose enormous talents he was a firm believer. In return, he was granted the love of yet another adopted nation, with President Pervez Musharraf awarding him the Star of Excellence (one of Pakistan's highest civilian honours) in recognition of his work of 'great distinction and commitment' for Pakistan cricket.
Many believe that Bob redefined the role of the coach in international cricket. The writer Tom Eaton, who edited this book, wrote in a piece for SA Cricket:
'There has been much talk in recent weeks about his legacy ... but [this] is not something friends, family and former players need to cobble together; because his legacy has been growing for the last twenty years, and today it is immense.
'It was Bob, after all, who legitimised the reverse-sweep, encouraging Warwickshire's Dermott Reeve to play the stroke in earnest. It was he who mentored Jonty Rhodes, helping the freakishly gifted South African to revolutionise the role of the fielder in the modern game. It was he who kept the thoroughbred fast bowler Allan Donald firing on all cylinders. It was he who made it not only acceptable, but essential for coaches to use digital media as tactical aides.
'To look at this list is to see a startling collection of achievements: add the reversesweep to the fielding revolution; high-class fast bowling to laptop diagnostics, and you have a cross-section of modern cricket. It is, in other words, not a wild exaggeration to suggest that Bob, more or less alone, dragged the sport into the 21st century. Australians may claim (rightly) that it was they who pushed Test run-rates over four per over in 2000, but that escalation was based on half a decade, in the 1990s, of playing high-pressure one-day cricket. And that pressure, one could argue successfully, was injected into the international game by Rhodes at backward point, and Woolmer giving him the license to be brilliant.'
Bob was not a 'how to' coach. He always asked 'Why?' He sought to produce thinking cricketers who understood that there were options. But he would explain why he thought that all the options were not necessarily equal -- then leave his charges to make their own choices.
Bob was also a cricketing communicator, who insisted that cricketing concepts be taught with crystal clarity, to the extent of testing them on his wife, Gill. He taught at the highest levels of the game, while never neglecting the lowest, to the extent that it sometimes seems that every male under 45 in Cape Town, whatever his creed or colour, was coached by Bob. And all speak of his dedication and his innovation.
Bob began the final chapter of his 1984 autobiography with the words: 'Cricket has always resisted change. If the game is to survive, we must ensure that it moves with the times.' It was through his constant search for change and improvement that he changed lives.
The lives he affected were not just those of the players he coached. For millions, cricket offers a way into a parallel universe of honour and decency, in which the conduct of a team of athletes is almost always admirable, co-operative and collaborative, sometimes even noble. Because cricket is played over days, not hours, no testosterone- or adrenaline-fuelled rush of brute strength can achieve success. Instead, the game requires constant, considered strategizing over time. It requires repetitive activity for hours and hours without any loss of focus. Above all, it requires extraordinary amounts of patience and fortitude.
This is the immense attraction of cricket for many -- that it showcases not only athletic ability, but character. Part of why women spectators are being drawn to the game in numbers that are overtaking those of male fans is because cricket presents such a compelling and appealing view of men working together towards a common goal -- if not to win, then to accept defeat philosophically. Cricket offers the pleasure and comfort, in ever more troubled times, of watching men operating in groups that are not drunk and rowdy and rapacious, but patient, persevering, thoughtful,
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