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Home » Books » Sports & Recreation » Sports Psychology

Herding Cats

The Art of Amateur Cricket Captaincy

By Charlie Campbell

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Format: Hardback, 256 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 09 March 2017
In 1985 Mike Brearley published The Art of Captaincy, revealing how he steered Middlesex and England to victory with his team of first-class cricketers. He got the absolute best out of his players, inspiring Ian Botham to new heights against the Australians in 1981. Few cricketers have had a greater impact on the amateur game than these two. Every captain would love Brearley's degree in people, as well as a hardhitting all-rounder like Botham. But theirs was a barely recognisable game from the one we play on often dishevelled grounds up and down the country with ragtag teams of ageing, deluded or hungover friends and acquaintances. Now, Charlie Campbell offers us a New Testament to Brearley's Old Testament, as he guides us through the realities of captaining an amateur team. Herding Cats picks its way through the minefield of an amateur's season: from the excitement and hope of pre-season nets, to the desperate scramble to gather 11 players for a frosty game on a far-flung, desolate pitch; from decoding the casual phrase 'I bat a bit', to setting a field of players who can't catch or throw; from handling the most delicate egos, to dealing with a case of the yips; from frequent moments of despair, to sudden and joyful glimpses of unexpected glory. For all those of us who recognise ourselves, our teammates, our friends and partners in the shambling joy of amateur cricket more than in the top-class international game, Campbell lights a path through a weekend world of play at the beating heart of the world's second most popular sport.

Promotional Information

An entertaining guide to the trials and tribulations of amateur cricket captaincy

About the Author

Charlie Campbell is captain of the Authors Cricket Club and edited their book The Authors XI: A Season of English Cricket from Hackney to Hambledon. He has led his team in over a hundred consecutive games, facing the might of the Rajasthan Royals, the Vatican and the national team of Japan along the way. He is the author of Scapegoat: A History of Blaming Other People and has written for the Observer, Wisden India, The Nightwatchman, Big Issue, Time Out and Literary Review. He lives in London. @ScapegoatCC and @AuthorsCC

Reviews

Herding Cats is Charlie Campbell's drily amusing account of how to run an amateur cricket team, to which Peter Starbuck, visiting professor at the University of Chester and University Centre Shrewsbury and devotee of the late Peter Drucker, drew my attention. He points out that the book is an excellent guide to the softer skills that management thinker Drucker advocated for running informal organisations. The book includes this tip: An amateur captain's perfect day is not one in which his side wins effortlessly and each stratagem works. It is the game in which every single member of his team contributes, ideally towards a narrow victory. This is not an attitude that would vanquish the All Blacks or force your company into the FTSE 100 overnight. But as a middle manager, an appeal to goodwill is often the most powerful, or even the only, weapon at your disposal. * Financial Times * Funny, self-deprecating, and full of wry wisdom, Charlie Campbell perfectly captures the exquisite torture of running an amateur cricket club. The ideal companion piece to Mike Brearley's The Art of Captaincy, and a must-read for anyone who's ever donned whites on a Sunday afternoon. * Michael Simkins * Very funny. Cricket captains everywhere will relate to this. * Nasser Hussain * Charlie Campbell has written amateur cricket an ardent love letter; when faced with the deepest frustrations the amateur captain must endure he hates neither the players nor the game. Funny and touching in equal measure. * Al Murray * A professional cricket captain needs to be part psychologist, part gambler, part babysitter, part sergeant-major, part "one of the lads" and part aloof overseer. As Charlie Campbell shows, it's even trickier for the amateur! * Mark Butcher * After several years of trying, Charlie Campbell's leadership skills finally overcame mine when the Authors trounced Heartaches in 2016. How foolish of him to reveal his secrets, albeit extraordinarily entertainingly. * Sir Tim Rice * Shot through with wit and warmth, Herding Cats is at its heart a paean to a sport that can be both stunningly uplifting and, without warning, hauntingly debilitating. It will certainly resonate with anyone who has played or loves cricket. But there are lessons here for a wider audience too about leadership, team spirit and the importance of recognising that there is more to life than winning * Evening Standard * In Herding Cats you genuinely smile for the Authors when they pull off an incredible feat... relentlessly entertaining and gets better as its innings goes on. * Literary Review * Taking The Art of Captaincy by former England cricket captain Mike Brearley as his inspiration, Charlie Campbell has produced a delightful equivalent for the amateur game ... Alongside humour, there are genuine insights into how to unlock players' potential * Independent i * Deliciously witty * The Cricketer * Illuminating and entertaining in equal measure * Ilkley Gazette * Herding Cats is a brilliant account of a season spent in the lower rungs of this eternally beautiful game. * Choice *

EAN: 9781472925718
ISBN: 1472925718
Publisher: Wisden
Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.5 centimetres (0.34 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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