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The Plan: How Fletcher and Flower Transformed English Cricket Hardcover – 24 May 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (24 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593068335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593068335
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 403,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"The most insightful cricket book of the year" (Paul Newman Daily Mail)

"Excellent" (Mike Atherton The Times)

"An excellent book and courageous in the way it revisits and interrogates the opinions of the moment, including the author's own, in light of subsequent developments. As well as knowledge there is a rare warmth and sympathy to his portraits of men who are probably easier to respect than truly to know. The Plan is rich in unfamiliar detail and even the sideways glances are penetrating. The cricket points are well made, the personal judgements astute. Like his subjects James has made a good plan and stuck to it" (Gideon Haigh The Cricketer)

"Fine detail... a persuasive account of the renaissance of English cricket, and no one is better qualified to tell it. [Steve James] has become a member of an influential new British school of cricket writing" (The Economist)

"James' quiet excellence, uncomplicated style and informed perspective make his Sunday column a "don't miss". The Plan is more of the same... Compelling" (Sam Collins Cricinfo)

Book Description

The inside story of the England cricket team's quest to become the number one Test nation in the world

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a really good read for the cricket junkie, written by the ever consistent pen of Steve James - the ex-Glamorgan opener and owner of two test caps.
The book starts from the low point of English cricket - a series defeat by New Zealand in the late 1990s - that saw England plummet to the bottom of the rankings system - not including Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. It then charts the gradual development of the team as it slowly improved via the astute coaching of first Duncan Fletcher and then Andy Flower - a couple who share the distinction of being proud Zimbabweans. Given that James also wrote Fletcher's autobiography he has a plethora of good quotes direct from the horse's mouth, as it were. He also interviewed many of the integral people behind the rise of English cricket - Hugh Morris, Ashley Giles and Peter Moores, for example, to give the book a balanced feel.
What emerges is a respect for the hard work that the coaches and players put in. They really did have a long-term plan for the growth of English cricket and it was interesting seeing the layers of success added one by one. Fletcher, despite the damaging final year of his regime, really was the catalyst, alongside Nasser Hussain, for the turn-around in fortunes, with his subtle man-management and tactical brain the missing key. It was fascinating seeing how the `critical mass' of a team structure is formed, as Fletcher recounts how a cricket team needs eight or so good, steady professionals, to allow for a couple of mavericks in a team - in this case Flintoff and Harmison. This, I guess, goes some way to explaining how lesser talented members of the 2005 team - Geraint Jones and Ashley Giles - played their part in our regaining the Ashes.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Cricket has recently been blessed with former players such as Michael Vaughan, Mike Selvey, Simon Hughes and Michael Atherton who have managed to translate their real knowledge of the game and their pungent views into insightful writing and their numbers have certainly been joined by Steve James.

Previous author of a non-ghosted and authoritative gem of an autobiography the former Glamorgan and England opener has used his deep inside knowledge and close working relationships with current and former England coaches Duncan Fletcher and Andy Flower to produce a thoroughly researched analysis of their reigns as the guiding lights of the England test team.

James provides a witty, clear and concise analysis peppered with anecdotes and inside stories that provides an in-depth outline of the fortunes of the England team over the past decade and more importantly, James provides the reasons for the turn around and sustained levels of success over the past few seasons.

As a former player who reached international level, James is ideally placed to understand the stress of playing at the top level and also provide technical analyses and explain why some players have made it at test level and others have fallen short

If you want to read one book about the rise in fortunes of English cricket then this is the book to choose.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With a title of 'The Plan' how Fletcher and Flower transformed English cricket was I naïve in thinking that there would be a single plan executed by them both?

Steve James has played first class cricket for Glamorgan & England and is friendly with both Fletcher and Flower and various people in the ECB hierarchy so has therefore a lot of insight into the current England setup.

The book charts the rise of the England team from the nadir of 1999 vs New Zealand through to the Ashes triumph in Australia and their rise as the number 1 ranked test team. So the recent test series against South Africa(home) and India(away) are not in here.

What emerges is not a single plan but a number of things which came together to help England's rise. Getting pummelled by the Aussies for 16 years certainly helped to focus English minds and bring county cricket out of its sleeping lethargy. Lord Mclaurin takes credit here for galvanising the counties into a two division league system, with central contracts for key players. County cricket has become more competitive and key players are now turning up fit and ready to play in a test match. Just think how many games/series we might have won if this had happened 30 years before.

The setup of the centre of excellence at Loughborough, the England Lions, the Elite development programme etc are also key building blocks but again implemented by the ECB not Fletcher and Flower.

That is to take nothing away from Fletcher and Flower who are both great coaches who have certainly helped to develop England into a better team. The book provides insight into both characters, showing their similarities and differences their upbringing in Zimbabwe to their methods and approach.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well, for starters, who am I to challenge the very complementary review of this book by the distinguished writer, Gideon Haigh, in the current issue of " The Cricketer"? This is indeed an always interesting, and at times facinating review of the upper echelons of English cricket over the past 10 years or so. In particular, although both men seem very private individuals you do conclude the book with, at least, the feeling you know Messrs. Fletcher and Flower a little better. There ae also some interesting pages upon the demise of Messrs.Moores and Pietersen as coach and captain respectively.
Whilst acknowledging that I am a founder member of the "born again Pessimists brigade" I do harbour some doubts upon whether this team is quite as good as some members of the media would have us believe.Am I alone in wondering whether,next year, after the conclusion of series against South Africa/India/Australia our present somewhat precarious lead among Test nations will be a fond memory?
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