Saturday 17 April 2021

Guest Review: Fibber in the Heat By Miles Jupp

Fanatical about cricket since he was a boy, Miles Jupp would do anything to see his heroes play. But perhaps deciding to bluff his way into the press corps during England's Test series in India wasn't his best idea. By claiming to be the cricket correspondent for BBC Scotland and getting a job with the (Welsh) Western Mail, Miles lands the press pass that will surely be the ticket to his dreams.

Soon, he finds himself in cricket heaven - drinking with David Gower and Beefy, sharing bar room banter with Nasser Hussain, and swapping diarrhea stories with the Test Match Special team. Amazing! But struggling in the heat under the burden of his own fibs, reality soon catches up with Miles as - like a cricket-obsessed Boot from Evelyn Waugh's Scoop - he bumbles from one disaster to the next.

A joyous, charming, yet cautionary tale, Fibber in the Heat is for anyone who's ever dreamt about doing nothing but watching cricket all day long.

Review: Miles Jupp is an actor and comedian. Prior to 2006, he was probably best known for playing Archie The Inventor in the children’s television series “Balamory”. He is also a cricket enthusiast and during a fallow period of acting work, and following a quip from his partner that he should get a job that enables him to watch more cricket, he decided to do just that. Although having no experience as a sports journalist, he decided he would become a cricket journalist. To this end, and using contacts in BBC Radio Scotland and the Western Mail, a Cardiff-based newspaper, he bluffed his way into the press corps covering the Test Match series between India and England.

Armed with a letter of introduction from BBC Scotland, and with the promise of a press pass once he reached India, he set off with the journalists and cricket broadcasters to cover England’s Test Match series in India. This book covers his adventures, and misadventures, leading up to and during the three matches played in Nagpur, Chandigarh and Mumbai during March 2006. I found it highly amusing and entertaining, filled with interesting observations, and with the author’s wry sense of humour throughout. There are anecdotes relating to tussling with bureaucrats, haggling with taxi drivers and booking rooms in Indian hotels. Starting the trip full of enthusiasm about watching cricket and meeting his sporting heroes, he gradually realises that watching as a fan is different from working as a journalist. In addition, although he gets to meet a number of his cricketing heroes, he comes to realise that beneath their public persona, they are subject to the usual human frailties. There is one incident where he comes across Andrew Flintoff, who had taken over the captaincy of the England team after Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick had left the tour, at the end of a day’s play in Chandigarh slumped exhausted in a chair. Miles Jupp astutely realised the mental pressure that Andrew Flintoff was under, a fact that has become more publicised in recent years. By the time of the final Test Match in Mumbai, Miles realises that cricket journalism is not for him, much to the entertainment world’s gain.

Although he states that he couldn’t cut it as a journalist, I found his descriptions of the cricket matches informative and exciting. The book also serves as an illuminating travelogue of India. Cricket enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy this book, but you do not have to be a cricket fan to enjoy this entertaining and funny account of the author’s journey through India which led to his, ultimately, “finding himself”.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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