Stroke of Genius: Victor Trumper and the Shot that Changed Cricket by Gideon Haigh (Penguin Random House Australia)
Stroke of Genius uses George Beldam’s much-reproduced photograph of the legendary Australian cricketer Victor Trumper to discuss cricket as a game of style. While much is said about Trumper’s life and times, the focus is on his place in cricket’s imagery and mythology. The book explains how, after his spectacular career and early death in 1915, Trumper is now often best-remembered through Beldam’s striking photograph of the batsman playing a graceful cover drive.
Gideon Haigh skilfully situates Trumper in an aesthetic and iconographic context. His study is elegantly written, thoroughly researched and well presented with many illustrations. Beldam’s vision — while illuminating the career of a batsman who preceded Don Bradman with dazzling performances — is shown to have had such a powerful impact that in recent years it has succeeded and nearly erased the Trumper legend. Stroke of Genius is a highly original assessment of cricket’s historic role in defining important elements of Australian culture.