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'Oi, Key' Tales of a Journeyman Cricketer (Hardback)

Colour Books Sport England White Owl Autobiography

By Rob Key
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 200
ISBN: 9781526768216
Published: 18th May 2020
Last Released: 28th July 2020


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Ex-England batsman Rob Key is one of the wittiest pundits on TV. Whether it’s a drizzly day-nighter in Derby or a World Cup Final at Lord’s, Key’s wizardry with the mic more than matches that which he had with the bat.

In his new book, Key reflects on the past and present of an ever-unforgiving game, in so doing shining light into the darkest recesses of the dressing-room. What he finds there is as amusing as it is shocking, as farcical as it is fascinating.

Known as one of the sharpest cricket brains around, Key casts a knowledgeable and sometimes acerbic eye over such areas as fitness, captaincy, and sledging, while delivering a close-up view of some of the biggest names in the game.

More than anything, Key reveals just what it is to be a professional cricketer, the camaraderie, the comedy, and, of course, the calamity.

Different from the usual cricketer memoirs in that Richard Key often gives centre stage to fellow cricketers. Plenty of tales are told, although nothing too revelatory as what goes on whilst on tour stays on tour!

Key is now in punditry and with his easy storytelling style you can see why he is popular.

One for cricket fans to add to their bookshelves.

NetGalley, Jason Ritchie

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Extremely interesting read, especially to any that follow cricket. Showed a whole new side to a player and person.

NetGalley, Matt Dormer

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Cricket Books Australia, Ken Piesse, August 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If you like cricket, sport in general, anecdotes and fun & frolics on and off the sports field then this is probably the book for you. Whether you know or even like the man himself, I do, this book is crammed full of well written, personally delivered, knowledgeable, stories about all sorts. Obviously we are mostly getting the PG version of some, but not all, but you can't blame a guy for holding some of the more delicious back for "after dinner speeches" and such. It's an eclectic mix of both tales and opinions and comes across as refreshingly frank. It's very readable so could be devoured in one go but, as with other books of this ilk, can also work well as a dipper to read between other books. Oh and it's not an autobiography by the way, just in case that's what you are looking for. It does however spell out his journey through cricket and the opinions and indeed friends he has made along the way.

NetGalley, Kath Brinck

This is a refreshing open and frank look at cricket whilst the author was playing for Kent and England and discusses himself and his closest friends in the game and the people who influenced him and even goes into his Sky sports career as well. the reason why its refreshing as its an alternative cricket book more cricket then the actual how I grew up etc. this book would appeal to the general cricket fan.

NetGalley, Stephen Hutchison

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A great read about the game of cricket that I think will appeal to all.

Informative, interesting, almost a fly on the wall read about life in the game. Great to get some snippets about life in the dressing room/on tour/snippets about players/reminders of some classic cricketing moments – Butcher’s 173 not out at Headingley, Steve Waugh and the red handkerchief, to more recent times (the World Cup victory last year) and life as a commentator.

Key’s perspective on the game, players, the science behind the game, just fascinating. I expected this book to be a warts and all expose on Rob Key and his cricketing achievements but instead it was a light hearted read that gave me a really interesting insight and perspective on the game.

I loved it! And I’m sad that I’ve finished it. I hope we get a Book 2!

NetGalley, Mina Searle

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Rob Key has produced a very entertaining and enjoyable memoir about his time playing, watching and commentating on cricket.

This isn’t the usual sports biography but more Key’s take on the sport based on his vast experience. There are also a number of very amusing tales using involving his mates Fred & Harmy.

Key is now an excellent pundit on Sky Sports and he brings his wit and insight to this book which is highly recommended.

NetGalley, Lee Carson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I loved Rob Key as a cricketer he was someone who I always felt was giving his best and was slightly harshly treated by the England selectors. I enjoy listening to Rob Key on commentary or analysis on Sky Sports always feeling that whatever he has to say is worth saying he isn't a man to waste words simply to say something.

The book itself is really a memoir of his time in cricket, I wouldn't classify it as an autobiography as such in that there is very little of his early life, very little about his home life or anything like that in it and why would there be? The book doesn't lose anything for that.

It starts off with Rob avoiding a pointless run set out by his coach, moves through Rob trying to avoid doing as many pointless things as possible all while trying to score runs for Kent and then for England and then back to Kent again.

The main strong points of the book are the warmth and wit, there were a few times when I genuinely burst out laughing at some of the things he, Flintoff and Harmison got up to on tour. Throughout the book there is a real warmth in relationship that Key speaks of between those three but also really between most of the people Key mentions in the book. There are some good insights as well into people that may be surprising, Murali as the worlds nicest man may not shock too many folk but Shane Warne as equally nice might. I enjoyed Key's perspective on pressure and suspect that whatever level of cricket folks play we can all fall into the trap of believing this is the most important thing in the world even if it is Laurelvale III v Carrickfergus IV.

A great read for any cricket fan, you wont be disappointed.

NetGalley, Trevor Kane

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have been impressed by Rob Key's contributions on Sky V's crocket coverage fro some time now. he's knowledgeable, well informed, listens well and doesn't seem to take himself too seriously.

His book reinforces this view as he has produced an excellent overview not just of his career but of life behind the scenes as both a cricketer and broadcaster.

I learned a lot about the dynamics of both leading and being a member of a team and enjoyed what I read very much indeed.

An excellent book indeed.

NetGalley, Greville Waterman

About Rob Key

ROB KEY is a former professional cricketer who played for Kent CCC for his entire career. He also represented England in five One Day Internationals and fifteen Test matches. Key is now a full-time commentator and pundit with Sky Sports’ international and domestic cricket coverage and a columnist with the Evening Standard newspaper. 

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