Ian Chap­pell

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES Mac­SMITH

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.

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