A groundbreaking exploration of the history of cricket's ultimate achievement and of the mental and physical qualities shown by the greatest players in the game.
A century has always had a special resonance, in all walks of life, and none more so than in cricket. Scoring one hundred runs is the ultimate for a batsman. As former England captain Andrew Strauss admits, it's incredibly hard to do; for Ricky Ponting, it's a transformational moment in the career of a cricketer. Or in the words of Geoffrey Boycott, 'a century has its own magic'.
In The Art of Centuries, Steve James applies his award-winning forensic insight to the very heart of batting. Through interviews with the leading run-scorers in cricket history and his own experiences, Steve discovers what mental and physical efforts are required to reach those magical three figures. Despite his own haul of 47 first-class tons, he himself felt at times that he was poorly equipped for the task.
So working out how to score centuries is an art. And bowlers might not agree, but there really is no better feeling in cricket.
“Combines anecdote and insight drawn from personal experience into a fine book on the art of batsmanship.”
The Guardian, Books of the Year
“A beguiling insight into the trials, tribulations and triumphs of life as a batsman. ”
Lawrence Booth, editor of Wisden
“I love the way Steve James writes about cricket, his endless curiosity and generosity. The Art of Centuries distils a lifetime's wisdom, joy and frustration - a three-figure literary innings.”
Mike Atherton, The Times
“A delight... It is always fun to read Steve's work. His previous book The Plan was a terrific breakdown of how Duncan Fletcher and Andy Flower took England to the top during their time as head coach. This new book has a nice, light, often discursive touch to it, and I like discursive, that delightful pathway into digression where one memory prompts another.”
Mike Selvey, The Guardian
“Leave a copy in the England dressing room.”