RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
The Comeback Summer - Geoff Lemon
The Comeback Summer
- Geoff Lemon

Published by Hardie Grant Books,
an imprint of Hardie Grant Publishing,

Building 1, 658 Church Street,
Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia.

ISBN 978 1 74379 669 6

Pages 310

RRP Aus $ 29.99

Geoff Lemon, covering cricket since 2010, toured with the Australian men's and women's teams since 2013 for outlets including the ABC, BBC, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, The Guardian, The Cricketer, The Saturday Paper and ESPN cricinfo. Having worked on radio and television in Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, the Caribbean, Ireland and the UAE, he has revived the tour book.

First came Steve Smith's Men covering the Cape Town catastrophe, which had justifiably won so many awards - Wisden Book of the Year, Cricket Society & MCC Book of the Year and Cricket Writers' Club Book of the Year. Now, there's The Comeback Summer, on the twin wonders of World Cup and Ashes in England in 2019.

The Comeback Summer is an equally insightful, thrilling and sharp observation of cricket, sporting myth and a series of incredible events, both on and off the field.

At the height of the 2019 season, the biggest names in Australian and English cricket faced off for sporting glory - and public forgiveness. It was always going to be a summer to remember. Steve Smith, captain of the Australian team, a batsman with a shot at rivalling the greatest of all time. Ben Stokes, star of the English team, an all-rounder with a knack for moments of genius. Both disgraced in scandals of very different kinds. Both attempting a path to personal and professional redemption through World Cups, The Ashes and county games.

In the chapter, namely, Into the Wilderness, the author remarked, "When David Warner lit the fuse on the ball-tampering story in March 2018, nobody could have imagined the explosion to come. Hansie Cronje's match-fixing expose in 2001 and Bodyline in 1933 were the only cricket stories that compared. Even in Cape Town on the evening itself, after Steve Smith admitted to cheating in pursuit of reverse swing, those of us reporting at the ground didn't anticipate the intensity of public anger. The offence was scuffing a cricket ball, not consorting with criminals or endangering lives. But its dishonesty and hypocrisy, after decades of Australian players lecturing others while exhausting their own goodwill, meant that supporters blew up even more than opponents."

The 2019 ASHES, according to Geoff Lemon, will follow David Warner for the rest of his life. Even the most extensive careers get remembered in dot points. Warner's will include his three sets of twin tons and his century in a session. It will include his sandpaper adventure. And it will include one of those rare sets of stats compelling enough to stay in the kinds of the broader public: five Tests, ten innings, ten dismissals, 95 runs. You can work out the average. Of that slender total, 61 came in an innings (at Leeds). The rest of his series' scores read 2, 8, 3, 5, 0, 0, 0, 5, 11. The three zeroes in a row was when people really started losing their minds. That's the emergency services number in Australia. What was happening to a guy who had just made 647 runs in the World Cup and had 21 Test centuries, a guy who had made fifty in every Test on his previous tour of England?

The Comeback Summer, very thoroughly researched and immensely readable, spares no one in this acutely turned review of Australian Cricket's path out of controversy.

We are thankful to Kirstie Grant for arranging to send a review copy of The Comeback Summer.