In the late Sixties and early Seventies the Essex circus, led by Brian ‘Tonker’ Taylor and featuring three spinners, was, for cricket fans, as bewildering and beguiling as its contemporaries Sergeant Pepper and Monty Python.
In 1970 David Frith published his first book – My Dear Victorious Stod. It won the inaugural Cricket Society Book of the Year award and set a new standard for cricketing biographies. Now, 45 years (and 34 books) later, the world's pre-eminent cricket writer and historian returns to his 'first love' with a new edition entitled 'Stoddy': England's Finest Sportsman.
On 15 January 1921 in Adelaide a startling new development in Test cricket was observed. For the first time a side fielded two genuine fast bowlers and, what’s more, they were captained by a man who had the temerity to let them share the new ball. The impact wasn’t immediate but within 11 months Gregory and McDonald had been central to establishing their side’s position as unquestionably the best in the world.
Frith's Encounters covers over 100 years of cricket. The author’s contact with players and writers spans a period which takes in Wilfred Rhodes, who told him about bowling to W.G.Grace and Victor Trumper, through to the tragic David Bairstow and Peter Roebuck of the modern era
On New Year’s Day 1912, the Times published a rallying editorial which highlighted the possibility that Britain might by the end of the year ‘have been wiped out of politics altogether and have become dependent on the will of others’. Against this background of fear and pessimism, that summer would see the first great world championship of cricket – the Triangular Tournament.
Every follower of England cricket has a view on who should be in the England Test team. In pubs, sports bars, and around family dining tables, lovers of cricket argue about nothing more than the selectors’ choices for the next Test or the next tour. The debate will be informed by the print and other media, not least, in the 21st Century, by online blogs.