Jack Fingleton: Complex, stubborn, short-tempered but often a brilliant cricket analyst

Jack Fingleton holding the two bats of Victor Trumper with which he scored most of his runs in England.

Jack Fingleton holding the two bats of Victor Trumper with which he scored most of his runs in England.

by Mayukh Ghosh

Australian Army's Public Relation Unit in Townsville.
The 33-year old was struggling. He somehow managed to avoid charges of being AWOL when he went missing during the Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney harbour.
He was supposed to have been on duty but instead he was visiting his newly wed wife Philippa.
He was caught and transferred north, well away from his family. And there, he started to write on the game he loved.

"There are two teams out there. One is trying to play cricket and the other is not."
In his book Cricket Between Two Wars Pelham Warner, indirectly, accused Jack Fingleton of leaking this to the fellow pressmen. 
Fingleton wrote to Warner to be absolutely sure.
Warner confirmed that it was indeed Fingleton who broke the news to the press.
Fingleton denied but Warner wanted concrete proof.
Fingleton didn't want to give that to him. Instead, he wanted to write his own version of the story.

He was a decent journalist who had never written any book. He needed advice. Neville Cardus encouraged him and 'Fingo' started to write.
Once the initial manuscript was ready, he had it sent to 'Pedlar' Palmer, his sports editor at The Sydney Guardian to have a look.
The manuscript never arrived at Palmer's office and Fingleton, rather stupidly, didn't have another copy.

He went into depression. Alone in north Queensland, away from the family, and with all his efforts to write a book going in vain.
But his urge to become a cricket writer proved to be too powerful against the depression and he wrote the book all over again.

At the same time, Ray Robinson was writing a book and he was covering a bit of Bodyline in that. Plus, he already had a publisher.
Fingleton didn't have a publisher and wasn't sure whether he could compete with someone like Robinson.
Fingleton persuaded Cassell to publish the book. It was published in late 1946, just three months after Robinson's Between Wickets

Both books did well and after all these years, Fingleton's Cricket Crisis usually makes the 'Top 10' lists everywhere, often by people who haven't read it.

He didn't name the culprit who leaked the Bodyline story, though. He waited till 1978 and then, in his book on Victor Trumper, he revealed the name of the culprit.
He got the information from the journalist who wrote the original story back in 1932-33.

Complex, stubborn, short-tempered but often brilliant as a cricketer and analyst, Jack Fingleton was born on April 28, 1908.