IT’S about halfway through Ian Chappell’s new contribution to cricketing letters when you stop and wonder how any of it got written.
Every other incident entertainingly described goes down with the almost mandatory imbibing ( his words) of alcohol. It’s rarely ( too) excessive though and it does make you realise just how much fun it was, and is, to have been an icon of the 1970s.
The former Australian captain, more affectionately know in Australian lexicon as ‘‘ Chappelli’’, is now known in a number of guises: a hard- hitting top- order batsman, insightful member of the Channel 9 commentary team and, to those not interested in the pursuits of leather and willow, as ‘‘ Amanda’s dad’’.
Naturally, this book, Chappelli: Life, Larrikins and Cricket is primarily aimed at what former prime minister John Howard liked to call ‘‘ the cricket tragics’’ among us.
But such is Chappell’s ability with the pen, this is a book that will appeal to those with an interest in the charmed and charming life of an elite sportsman on and off the field.
As expected the likes of some of the biggest characters to grace Australian cricket, such as Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thompson and Doug Walters, are featured.
The book kicks off with a typically feisty yarn about Kerry Packer, and the infamous underarm episode gets an airing too. The success of the TV miniseries Howzat! lends this book extra interest, so too does Chappell’s tales of his life away from the game, including his ability to find friends and alcohol, almost anywhere.
It is a life, or lives, worth reading about, and it was made possible by Chappell’s thorough, if not meticulous, recordkeeping.
‘‘ I had a whole drawer full of ticket stubbs and receipts and always wanted to do something with them, but it probably took my wife Barbara- Ann to threaten to thrown them out before I did something about it. I sat down and started to write and three months later the book came out,’’ he says.
Perhaps most appealing is the manner in which Chappell manages to write humbly about his achievements and adventures and the way in which he tosses a few of life’s little lessons in along the way, just short of a good length, of course.
HARD- HITTER: Ian Chappell in action in his glory days.