Reviewed by Richard Tutin
What sets this book by international cricketer Dan Christian apart from the many cricketing books that are currently available? Surely the sport, like many other codes, has been well covered while every retiring cricketer seems to produce a memoir or autobiography soon after the conclusion of their playing career.
The main difference is that Dan Christian is still playing cricket at first class and international levels and intends to do so for a couple more years at least. I really hadn’t heard much about him until the Big Bash League T20 competition came on to our summer television screens a few years ago. Since I hadn’t been aware of him, I mistakenly thought that he was one of the many overseas cricketers who are brought in to enhance the various teams by giving some glamour to the series.
I subsequently found out that Dan is proud Wiradjuri man who hails from Narranderra in New South Wales. He is very proud of his indigenous heritage and has worked hard over the years to increase our understanding of First Nations’ culture. His down to earth approach has been appreciated by teammates who have responded to various initiatives with enthusiasm and respect.
The reason he drops under the radar as a cricketer is because he has chosen to concentrate on the T20 format of the game. Dan Christian is a freelance player who plies his skills playing in international T20 competitions in India, Pakistan, the West Indies, England and South Africa as well as Australia.
Christian and Gideon Haigh have produced this book in a diary form that begins in April 2021 and concludes in January 2022. It documents what was a very hectic and at times bewildering situation as Christian and his partner Jorgia navigate the various bubbles that have been created by organisers to protect players from the Covid-19 virus and allow the different competitions to proceed. As well, Dan and Jorgia find out that they are to be parents for the first time.
Christian comments about the impact of interrupted training schedules along with the often-confusing rules of the different Covid bubbles. As well, he talks about his life growing up in country New South Wales and how he became the cricketer he is today.
While it is a personal account of what occurred during 2021, we could say that it is an unintended piece of social history describing how elite sports people and their officials responded to the current pandemic. Along with thrilling accounts of some of the games, Christian talks about the frustrations that occurred as players did their best to stay fit and healthy while conforming to the rules that often changed at the last minute in response to everchanging ways in which the Covid virus wreaked its havoc throughout the world.
It’s a reflection about what was a very difficult and turbulent year for cricket and sport in general. Christian’s decision to document it gives us a behind the scenes look at the various responses to the challenges thrown up by the Covid pandemic. I found it fascinating and enjoyable to read.
Dan Christian is one of the world’s most sought-after and best-travelled all-round cricketers. He has not only played 20 one-day and 23 T20 internationals for Australia, but also in T20 leagues in England, India, South Africa and the West Indies, as well as his own country, where he has represented teams in every state bar Western Australia. He is a proud Wiradjuri man from Narranderra in New South Wales. In 2018, he captained the Australian Aboriginal XI to England in the sesquicentenary of the famous indigenous team of 1868.
Gideon Haigh has written for more than a hundred newspapers and magazines. He has published more than 40 books, most recently The Brilliant Boy: Doc Evatt and the Great Australian Dissent. He is a life member of the South Yarra CC, where he has played for almost 30 years.
by Dan Christian with Gideon Haigh
ISBN 978 146076 117 5