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England's 6 years of cricket supremacy, changing fortunes in the 50's.
on 7 December 2012
This account of post war English test cricket, peaking in the mid 50's, is a fascinating description of the players, the series, and the performances. It balances first hand commentaries and reflections from key figures of the time with the politics of the establishment as social and economic growth challenged the attitudes of authority to race, professionalism and the end of empire.
Tim Quelch's detailed critique of the amateur/professional traditions and their effect on captaincy, selection, and management styles in the game gives a picture of attitudes to class, winning at all costs and a reluctance to accept the values of a multi-ethnic society.Not only are the accounts of the matches and their highlights entertaining but the backdrop of Indian, West Indian and South African changing positions on integration, alongside the UK's loss of colonial power, give this book a particular slant on the loss of supremacy in 1959.
The issues of throwing, pitch preparation, and the dressing room protocols on behaviour-even speaking about political difference, were avoided by the MCC as it struggled to retain prewar ideas of sportsmanship and myths of a golden age where class was structured without visible discontent.The analyses of batting and bowling skills and styles, the introduction of attention to fielding and fitness, give a timely reflection on the difficulties of England's recent test success and inability to stay at the top. The development of new approaches to professional performance are echoed in today's clashes of cultures.
Well presented, with evocative photographs of an era where sport and style reflected the struggles to keep in touch with the change in society, this book is a stimulating mixture of individual heroics and institutional resistance to new challenges.