Cooper Not Out, by Justin Smith

1 February 2022
Cooper Not Out, by Justin Smith, book cover

It’s a funny old game cricket, some days a player’s skill sees them soar to heights not seen before, other day’s fortune roundly turns on even the best. Then there’s Roy Cooper, a police sergeant who’s been a member of the rural Australian Penguin Hill Cricket Club for years. He’s never scored a century, nor for that matter, gone much passed double figures.

Nor has he ever taken a wicket, let alone a hat-trick, or a ten wicket haul. But as local schoolgirl Cassie Midwinter discovers, Roy has a claim to fame, one seemingly overlooked by the statistics mad doyens of the game: he has not once been dismissed while playing. After decades at the crease, Roy has never been bowled, stumped, caught, nor run-out.

It is a feat Cassie brings to the attention of a renowned cricket writer known as Don Garrett, who thinks the national men’s cricket team could benefit from Roy’s talents. Australia are being trounced by the West Indies in the 1984 summer test series, and Don sets about bringing Roy’s achievement to the notice of the team selectors, in Cooper Not Out (published by Penguin Books Australia, 18 January 2022), by Melbourne based writer and journalist Justin Smith.

Will the unthinkable happen? Will a life-long club player find himself pacing onto the pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, in a bid to reverse the fortunes of the men’s test team? It might seem like a pipe dream, but as they say, it’s a funny old game. But Roy isn’t the only one with unnoticed accomplishments, and there’s much more to Don, the sports writer, than meets the eye.

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