Sir Neville Cardus has been acknowledged by connoisseurs of the game of cricket as the best cricket writer ever. The descriptions of the matches that he covered were so vivid and laced with anecdotes that followers of the game of the mid-1900s miss his style of writing. In fact Sir Neville’s writing style has become a yardstick for judging the competency of cricket writers the world over.
Sir Neville was a meticulous writer and very particular about what appeared in print in all newspapers or magazines that he wrote for. When on tours, he used to cable words like ‘comma’ and ‘semi-colon’ to punctuate his brilliant articles and reports from countries as far as Australia and South Africa. E-mail and other electronic media have facilitated news coverage these days, but in the mid 1900s, reporters had to send despatches by cable. Telegraph companies charged for every word and punctuation in the cabled message, and thus Sir Neville reports would cost a lot of money to the newspapers for which he wrote.
Worried at the expense, his editor once sent him a return cable saying: “Please send story. We’ll fix punctuation” To this Sir Neville promptly replied: “ I’ll send punctuation. You fill in words”!!