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Cricket at the Crossroads: Class, Colour and Controversy from 1967 to 1977

Cricket at the Crossroads: Class, Colour and Controversy from 1967 to 1977 [Kindle Edition]

Guy Fraser-Sampson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Description


A fascinating account of a pivotal cricketing decade. --Tony Greig

An important, original and beautifully written book. --Peter Oborne

Guy Fraser-Sampson's 'Cricket at the Crossroads' ... is excellent on the demise of Brian Close as England captain and the betrayal by officialdom of Basil D'Oliveira. --Huw Richards, Guardian

Product Description

In a decade spanning the 1960s and 1970s three major crises gripped the world of cricket. The Close Affair in 1967, when Brian Close was relieved of the England captaincy in controversial circumstances, laid bare the ugly class prejudice which had lingered on from the days of Gentlemen and Players. The d'Oliveria Affair saw the selection of an England touring party become a major international incident which divided the nation. And the birth of World Series cricket forced players and establishment alike to confront the very nature of the game, and how it should be played. Torn between the politics of the sport and the shifting social pressures of the day, the venerable institution of cricket found itself caught at a crossroads that would come to define how the game would be played and received for years to come. Based on original research and interviews with key figures of the day, Guy Fraser-Sampson evokes the era of the 1960s and 70s, the attitudes and politics of the time, and tells for the first time the story of the decade that dragged cricket forever into the modern era. Along the way, the book tells the story of some of the cricketing greats, and of their triumphs, disasters, and personal tragedies. Gary Sobers, Colin Cowdrey, Ted Dexter, Ray Illingworth, John Snow, Derek Underwood, Geoff Boycott. The ups, the downs, and the elusive what-ifs.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1653 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Elliott & Thompson (22 Sep 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078XG2X6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #203,572 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I am currently Chief Investment Officer with a family office in Mayfair and have previously held various senior level investment positions, including a spell as Investment Controller with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and running for several years the international operations of a leading US fund manager. For the past several years I have been designing and teaching a number of post-graduate modules at Cass Business School in the City of London.

I appear regularly on radio and television in the UK and am also in demand as a keynote and after dinner speaker.

In writing finance and investment books I seek both to entertain and inform. I do not write a book unless I have something genuinely new to say and each of my mainstream investment books is on a subject in respect of which I am acknowledged as one of the leading experts in the world.

"No Fear Finance" is different. I have long been convinced that there is a valid "alternative" way of teaching finance to people with no quantitative background, a way which is so far as possible conceptual rather than mathematical. Not understanding finance is no longer an option in today's world and this is the only book which shows the ordinary reader how to understand everything they need to know.

"Cricket at the Crossroads" marries cricket with social history. Social change in terms of things like class and race serve as a backdrop to telling the story of English Test cricket between 1967 and 1977. Based partly on interviews with former players and partly on research in the archives at Lord's, the book is endorsed by Tony Greig. Three major controversies are analysed and explored: the Close Affair, the D'Oliveira Affair and World Series Cricket.

"The Mess We're In: why politicians can't solve financial crises" seeks to explain how and when our present financial problems arose. The answers may surprise you, as may some of the suggested solutions.

I also write fiction. My three "Mapp and Lucia" books have been optioned by BBC television, and I am currently writing a detective series under a pseudonym.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We all know that he is uncouth ..." 18 Sep 2011
The resigned words of Sir William Worsley on his dealings with the professional firebrand Fred Trueman perfectly sum up the conflicts and tensions of the game that this book so enjoyably and lucidly encapsulates. Like all the best sports books and recent cricket documentaries such as 'Fire in Babylon' (well worth checking out), Fraser-Sampson's meticulous study informs us of the society of the time as much as the sport. Given the current three-way tussle for cricket's soul between the Test, 40 over and 20 over versions of the game, it's a very timely commentary on how three major events between 1967 and 1977 engendered the modern game. I suppose the main difference is that now players' financial decisions are based on achieving different levels of wealth whereas the era Fraser-Sampson forensically reveals sees players and administrators making financial decisions informed by class, morality and race. What's also refreshing is the author's style - academic but never didactic and witty rather than chortling - i enjoy the style of writing that has become pretty regulation for cricket ever since the onset of the Guardian's brilliant over by over commentary but it's very satisfying to read about this era in such elegant prose - it's the TMS of cricket writing rather than the Sky Sports version. So if you've ever wondered what made Brian Close such an indomitable and prickly character, worried about the English attitudes to race that were revealed by Dolly or sighed in a purist's frustration at the ludicrous garb of the one day game - then this book is for you!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Graham Thorpe of a Read 13 Oct 2011
This book is a highly enjoyable and readable account that both indulges cricket fans nostalgically, and, more interestingly, shows us what was going on behind the curtains and the dressing-room doors in a controversial era. It is partly sports history and partly a social history, written in a lively and engaging manner with a good combination of humour and pace. In cricketing terms, it is something of a Graham Thorpe: elegant, to-the-point, and high class, but avoiding too much ostentation and accumulating a good amount of credit all around the ground. We learn of the crises that beset the England team in relation to class, the impact of the D'Oliveira affair (which might have been better integrated with other insights in the field of South African sports history), and the challenge to cricket's identity that came about with the birth of World Series cricket. It would make a brilliant christmas present for dads and grandads, as it not only describes the zeitgeist beautifully, but it also relies heavily on new research and personal interviews with the author, offering quite a personal slant without sounding polemical. Highly recommended for those who enjoy a bit of TMS, but not for those who want to know about KP's latest antics...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
While cricket slips into a comfortable senescence of bland professionalism, propped up by Sky Sports' coffers and happy just to compete for the scraps from football's table, it's no surprise that cricket writers are turning their gaze to the past. Back to times when decisions on the England captaincy could raise questions in Parliament, where Bishops marched on the MCC to demand equality and fairness, and where the sport was part of the national conversation, and not just when the Aussies are in town.

Where the excellent recent documentary Fire in Babylon mapped the rise of the great West Indian cricket team of the 80s to the concurrent rise in black politics and culture, Cricket at the Crossroads focuses on the earlier faultlines that arose in the late `60s and `70s, especially in England where the amateur old boy network clashed with both the growing professionalism of the game and a post-war society that no longer bowed to the old deferences.

When the book opens, the England captaincy was still a fiat to be handed out by former public schoolboys preferably to former public schoolboys; where the "professionals" lodged in different hotels to the "gentlemen" and where a stadium announcer is forced to note apologetically of a printer's error that "F.J. Titmus should read Titmus F.J.", lest anybody mistake his status.

It's a tale bookended by Brian Close. At the start, there's a well-researched account of his shabby dismissal as England captain, where despite his fantastic record, he found himself pushed out in favour of that favoured son of Kent, Colin Cowdrey.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Read 10 Oct 2011
By ag12
Cricket at Crossroads is a well written and informative read providing a background to a period of change in the world of cricket and of the country - it is detailed but does not get caught up in too much historic information that would detract from making it a most enjoyable read. The book avoids being overly sensational, but does not pull back from suggesting where mistakes were made and who may have been to blame.

I would throughly recommend this book - whilst it covers in detail the D'Olivera issue, it covers the changes leading up to this and beyond - a most interesting period of cricket and social hisotry.
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