Given the rapidly changing face of communication, it is difficult to imagine Jonny Bairstow or Joe Root hand writing personal letters back home from England tours to Australia, South Africa or India, as interesting as they would be.
Twitter and Instagram posts are all the rage nowadays, as are WhatsApp, Skype and Zoom calls. That just wasn’t possible in Brian Close’s day.
It is exactly why the excellent book, written by former Yorkshire cricket correspondent David Warner, ‘Just A Few Lines – the unseen letters and memorabilia of Brian Close’ is so unique.
Recently published, Warner and book editor Ron Deaton have collated letters to home written by legendary Close during the early stages of his illustrious near 30-year playing career.
Between 1949 and 1956, Close, the former Yorkshire and England captain who passed away aged 84 in 2015, wrote regularly to his best friend John Anderson, detailing life on and off the field in entertaining and honest accounts.
The letters (and autograph books filled on his behalf) to Anderson, who has also since passed away, were handed to Warner by Brian’s widow Vivien – the pair are friends and near neighbours in Baildon.
Close’s first Test tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1950/51 is a central part of the book. Of the journey Down Under by boat and his exercise regime, Close writes: “I’ve managed to pull my (running) time for the mile well below five minutes. The mile is seven times around the deck house.”