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England: The Biography by Simon Wilde

England: The Biography by Simon Wilde
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England: The Biography is the most comprehensive account of the England cricket team that has ever been published, taking the reader into the heart of the action and the team dynamics that have helped shape their success, or otherwise. It is now 140 years since England first played Test match cricket and, for much of that time, it has struggled to perform to the best of its capabilities.

In this “meaty” book, Simon Wilde, the cricket correspondent for The Sunday Times, surveys the history of English cricket from 1877 to the present, said Michael Henderson in The Times. With the domestic game now at an all-time low, it might have been tempting to “wallow” in nostalgia, but Wilde wisely resists this course – instead taking a clear-eyed look at the highs and lows of cricket’s past. For a game that is “often considered inert, even boring”, cricket has always been the “most controversial of sports”. All the main sagas are covered by Wilde: the Bodyline series of 1932-33; the D’Oliveira affair of 1968; and Kevin Pietersen’s controversial deselection from the Test team in 2014. He also challenges some of the sport’s enduring myths – such as the idea that “gentlemen” players never engaged in rough tactics.

For “cricket tragics” like me, this book is heaven, said Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times. Even the lists with which each chapter ends are riveting. Want to know the top ten England left-arm orthodox spin Test bowlers since 1884, by averages? Or the numbers of full days’ play lost to rain, by ground? It’s all here – and a great deal more besides.

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