Cricket Confidential by Joseph Romanos

In this outstanding collection of columns and feature articles, Joseph Romanos examines the many facets of cricket through his writings over 30 years.

Cricket Confidential contains profiles and obituaries of many of the most famous names in cricket, including Don Bradman, Bert Sutcliffe, Martin Donnelly, Denis Compton, Jack Cowie, Stewie Dempster, Martin Crowe, Jim Laker and Keith Miller. There are interviews with cricket’s highest achievers, such as Glenn Turner, Jeremy Coney, Ray Lindwall, Tom Graveney, Ian Botham, Debbie Hockley, Tom Burtt, Richard Collinge, Geoffrey Boycott, Alec Bedser and Richie Benaud.

The book deals with the major controversies that have hit cricket in recent decades – match-fixing, declining behaviour on the field, slow over-rates, the need for neutral umpires, chucking.

But cricket is replete with humour and Joseph appreciates the quirky side of the game. He explores the origins and meaning of quaint old terms like dudapper and trealer. He deals with some of the funniest umpiring stories. He selects his best and worst New Zealand teams, based purely on statistics and he profiles Ewen Chatfield the batsman.

Joseph has established a reputation as a forthright journalist, quick to praise, never shying away from criticising if he feels it warranted. He combines the news instincts of a leading sports journalist with the sentimental approach of a person who loves cricket and its traditions. The result is a fine book.

Joseph Romanos has been writing since he began in sports journalism at Wellington’s Evening Post in 1975. He has been a sports journalist in New Zealand, Australia and England.

Joseph’s style, mixing strong opinions with nostalgia, humour with praise, has earned him an assortment of journalism honours, including several Qantas and New Zealand Sports Media awards for both column and feature writing. In 1995, he was named New Zealand Cricket Writer of the Year.

Besides his reporting and column writing, he has written a vast number of books, including Great Cricket Families, A Century of Great New Zealand Cricketers, The Innings of a Lifetime (with Walter Hadlee), Tortured Genius (an unauthorised biography of Martin Crowe), John Reid: A Life in Cricket, Merv Wallace: A Cricket Master and Cricket Portraits. In addition to writing about the game, he has discussed it at length on radio and television.

Romanos and his wife, Gael Woods, also a journalist, have four children – Dominic, Amelia, Alexander and Eliza. All four played for the Karori Junior Cricket Club in Wellington.