Unlike some professions, a cricket librarian will often have the flexibility to travel throughout the year to essentially conduct research in their field of expertise. Sometimes these tours can present lengthy periods of ‘down time’ that need to be spent constructively. This is where wise librarians will meet together prior to travelling to select appropriate literature to accompany them on the journey. Gone are the days of librarians being stuck on ships for months on end prior to arriving at the tour destination. Therefore, modern day tourists require less reading material set aside for the trip.
A general consensus, would be to take a selection of no less than eighteen books for a tour consisting of 5 Test Matches, a triangular ODI Series and a couple of token T20 fixtures. It is not uncommon for librarians to return literature at the end of the Test Series and borrow more appropriate texts for the ODI’S and T20’s respectively.
An example of how this works in practise would be taking nine books written by batsmen, keeping in mind that in optimal circumstances you would only need to read your preferred six texts during the series. However, if some of the books are not holding your attention, you may be required to replace it with one of the more eye catching books that others seem to be enjoying and getting positive reviews in the media.
It can be helpful to consider that on some tours you may need to call upon a book that is not in your top eleven texts, though they contain anecdotes that can boost the morale of the squad when the tour is getting tough. Sometimes these books are just good to have around as they can provide light hearted relief when the tour seems to be dragging on.
The inclusion of something from a younger author can be beneficial in terms of your longer term strategy and provide valuable on tour experiences that will make their book more appealing for future commitments.
It is rare that you will need more than one book written by a wicketkeeper, though I have found taking Tim Zoehrer’s The Gloves Are Off is a useful backup to have if say Ian Healy’sHands and Heals was to get damaged on your trip.
Rotation and fast bowlers is a hotly contested topic of conversation in selection rooms. My strong belief is that you need to pick your best four books available and in print at the time of the tour. If some pages get torn, or damaged, you may need to select a replacement, however, very rarely will a fresh book have the impact of a dependable and proven text.
It is not essential to pick books written by spin bowlers, if they are not up to scratch, though it would be unlikely that I would travel to the sub-continent without at least one book that contains anecdotes from a tweaker. Some of the dusty shelves you will come across can be very conducive to page turning for books written by the slow men.
If you follow these guidelines, you will be well on your way to having a successful and enriching tour experience.