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In the Eye of the Typhoon: The Inside Story of the MCC Tour of Australia and New Zealand 1954/55 Hardcover – 1 Oct 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Parrs Wood Press; 1st edition (Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903158575
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903158579
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 24.6 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,277,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Synopsis

Len Hutton's Touring Side to Australia fifty years ago was unique. In the first instance, it was one of an elite half-dozen of 23 England sides to have won a Test series Down Under in the twentieth century. One of those six teams triumphed 5-1 simply because its Australian opposition was decimated by mass desertions to the Packer Camp in the dark days of the 1977 schism. In 1932/33 Douglas Jardine's team pummelled its way to a 4-1 victory over Woodfull's eleven - but used suspect 'Bodyline' tactics. Hutton's Yorkshire acolyte, Ray Illingworth, managed to imitate his master's example by winning in 1970/71 - but not by the same 3-1 margin as Hutton's men. Chapman's 1928/29 combination, alone, was of the same stature as the 54/55 side. And what a side Chapman's was, containing, as it did, Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hammond, Hendren, Chapman, Larwood, Tate and White! Let us compare and equate such talent with that of Hutton's side: the Skipper himself, the irrepressible Denis Compton and the gutsy Bill Edrich - all admittedly past their best; the two batting prodigies, Peter May and Colin Cowdrey: and the variegated attack of the metronomic Statham, and the guileful Wardle and Appleyard. There is not much to choose between the two teams. Then there was Frank Tyson. In terms of raw pace, few bowlers in history could match Frank Tyson. Tyson destroyed Australia as England retained the Ashes in 1954-55. After starting off with 1 for 160 in defeat at Brisbane, he shortened his run and took 10 wickets at Sydney and nine more at Melbourne, when he took 7 for 27 in the second innings and scared the Aussies to death. There can have been few faster spells in history than Tyson's in that innings. It was this spell of bowling which saw him gain the nickname "Typhoon".Tyson recorded the great qualities - human and sporting - embodied in the eighteen people who shared those halcyon months in Australia so long ago. The result is "In The Eye Of The Typhoon", an insider's account of that perfect tour. The passage of 50 years gave Tyson the opportunity to reflect on the individual cricketing abilities and human qualities of those men who played alongside him in 54/55, to compare them with others who have passed across the international stage since, and assess how they might have responded to the game's changing background. How might they have developed? What heights might they have reached? Certainly the fielding skills of the fifties bear no comparison to the modern player's mastery of this department of the game. Today's cricketers are much fitter, much bigger, much stronger, eat and drink more sensibly, prepare game plans much more methodically, use more psychology, travel less stressfully, are better coached and are generally much better prepared than their counterparts of half a century ago. In this respect it is worth remembering that when this team embarked on the 'Orsova' on September 15th 1954, many commodities in England - food, fuel, clothes - were still rationed ten years after the end of the war! The first lunch they ate on board was the most food some had seen in their lives! The support team of the M.C.C. team was a manager and baggage man. Harold Dalton was the first qualified masseur appointed to tour with the side, who normally relied on locally recruited supernumeraries. Coaching was done by the senior professionals in the side. There were no bowling, batting, fielding coaches, media and operations managers, warm-ups and warm-downs. Fitness was in the hands of the physiotherapist who was often just a 'slap and tickle merchant' - fortunately not in their case. Flying replacements out for injured players was an expensive rarity. Touring teams economised and were expected to return a profit to headquarters. Gate money was expected to fund the tour - there was no television or sponsorship income. Nor did teams always stay at the best hotels - their cost was a factor to be considered. Geoffrey Howard, the tour manager, was not even provided with a touring account to pay expenses. He had to open a personal bank overdraft to pay the early touring costs. As Tyson says: "I often wonder how much better players of my time would have been if they had known as much and had the same benefits as today's cricketers?" We should be happy that they played with and against giants. Could they have aspired to higher ambitions? God might have drawn the line there!!

From the Author

Len Hutton's touring side to Australia fifty years ago was unique. In the first instance, it was one of an elite half-dozen of 23 England sides to have won a Test series Down Under in the twentieth century. One of those six teams triumphed 5-1 simply because its Australian opposition was decimated by mass desertions to the Packer Camp in the dark days of the 1977 schism. In 1932/33 Douglas Jardine's team pummelled its way to a 4-1 victory over Woodfull's eleven - but used suspect 'Bodyline' tactics. Hutton's Yorkshire acolyte, Ray Illingworth, managed to imitate his master's example by winning in 1970/71 - but not by the same 3-1 margin as Hutton's men. Chapman's 1928/29 combination, alone, was of the same stature as the 54/55 side. And what a side Chapman's was, containing, as it did, Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Hammond, Hendren, Chapman, Larwood, Tate and White!

Let us compare and equate such talent with that of Hutton's side: the Skipper himself, the irrepressible Denis Compton and the gutsy Bill Edrich - all admittedly past their best; the two batting prodigies, Peter May and Colin Cowdrey: and the variegated attack of the metronomic Statham, and the guileful Wardle and Appleyard. There is not much to choose between the two teams. Then there was Frank Tyson. In terms of raw pace, few bowlers in history could match Frank Tyson. Tyson destroyed Australia as England retained the Ashes in 1954-55.

After starting off with 1 for 160 in defeat at Brisbane, he shortened his run and took 10 wickets at Sydney and nine more at Melbourne, when he took 7 for 27 in the second innings and scared the Aussies to death. There can have been few faster spells in history than Tyson's in that innings. It was this spell of bowling which saw him gain the nickname "Typhoon".

Tyson recorded the great qualities - human and sporting - embodied in the eighteen people who shared those halcyon months in Australia so long ago. The result is In The Eye Of The Typhoon, an insider's account of that perfect tour. The passage of 50 years gave Tyson the opportunity to reflect on the individual cricketing abilities and human qualities of those men who played alongside him in 54/55, to compare them with others who have passed across the international stage since, and assess how they might have responded to the game's changing background. How might they have developed? What heights might they have reached? Certainly the fielding skills of the fifties bear no comparison to the modern player's mastery of this department of the game. Today's cricketers are much fitter, much bigger, much stronger, eat and drink more sensibly, prepare game plans much more methodically, use more psychology, travel less stressfully, are better coached and are generally much better prepared than their counterparts of half a century ago.

In this respect it is worth remembering that when this team embarked on the 'Orsova' on September 15th 1954, many commodities in England - food, fuel, clothes - were still rationed ten years after the end of the war! The first lunch they ate on board was the most food some had seen in their lives! The support team of the M.C.C. team was a manager and baggage man. Harold Dalton was the first qualified masseur appointed to tour with the side, who normally relied on locally recruited supernumeraries. Coaching was done by the senior professionals in the side. There were no bowling, batting, fielding coaches, media and operations managers, warm-ups and warm-downs. Fitness was in the hands of the physiotherapist who was often just a 'slap and tickle merchant'- fortunately not in their case. Flying replacements out for injured players was an expensive rarity. Touring teams economised and were expected to return a profit to headquarters. Gate money was expected to fund the tour - there was no television or sponsorship income. Nor did teams always stay at the best hotels - their cost was a factor to be considered. Geoffrey Howard, the tour manager, was not even provided with a touring account to pay expenses. He had to open a personal bank overdraft to pay the early touring costs.

As Tyson says: "I often wonder how much better players of my time would have been if they had known as much and had the same benefits as today's cricketers?" We should be happy that they played with and against giants. Could they have aspired to higher ambitions? God might have drawn the line there!!


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