RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Harold Larwood

Harold Larwood by Duncan Hamilton

Published by:
Quercus Publishing Pic
21 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NS
Tel.: +44 (0) 20 7291 7200
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7291 7201
website: www.quercusbooks.co.uk

Publicity Co-ordinator:
Lucy Ramsey
E-mail : Lucy.Ramsey@quercusbooks.co.uk

Pages: 388

Price: Sterling Pounds Eight and Pence Ninety Nine only

Duncan Hamilton, the award-winning author had brought out the first ever biography of Harold Larwood in 2009. Now the paperback edition has come out. The writer has gained an unprecedented access to the late sportsman's family and archives to tell the story of a true working-class hero and cricketing legend.

The book had got rave reviews when first published. 'A magnificently written, intensely moving story of that rarest of breeds - a great English fast bowler' by Mike Atherton. 'Finally his memory is honoured with the biography it deserves' by Independent on Sunday and 'This is cricket biography of the highest stamp' by Wisden Cricketer.

Harold Larwood was one of the most talented, accurate and intimidating fast bowlers of all time, capturing 78 wickets in 21 Tests at 28.35 runs apiece. His tally included four instances of five wickets or more in an innings and ten wickets in a Test match once.

Larwood was the key figure in the 'Bodyline' Test series of 1932-33, in which the England captain Douglas Jardine instructed him to bowl according to 'fast leg theory' to suppress the batting of Donald Bradman. The resulting 'Bodyline' furore brought Anglo-Australian diplomatic relations to the brink of collapse.

Hamilton believes everything about Larwood, and everything he did, bore the memory of the thirteen weeks of that Ashes series. The complicated presence of that past always lurked in his present. Bodyline defined him to such an extent that his name was used as the way into debates about it. He died knowing what the opening line of his obituaries would be: 'It'll be Harold Larwood, the Bodyline bowler,' he'd say.

On Larwood's bowling, Duncan Hamilton has remarked, "A few overs of Larwood at his fastest were like a public stoning. He frightened batsmen out. Of his 1,427 first-class wickets - in an era when pitches were generally friendly for batsmen - 743 were bowled. It might be an axaggeration - but only a slight one - to say he could turn a stump to sawdust. When Larwood bowled, the Trent Bridge groundstaff always made sure there were three sets of square stumps: Larwood was certain to break, splinter or shave at least one of the them, possibly two."

According to Duncan Hamilton the Bodyline is no more than a spot in time. No one survives who played in it. Very few survive who saw it. But the smoke from it is still rising, the shouting about it has never really died, the arguments over it remain...In advanced old age, Harold Larwood would tell any stranger who visited his bungalow in Sydney not to ask him about the series. 'I'm elderly and I've forgotten everything. I won't talk about Bodyline - and you'll be out of here if you ask me questions.' He'd say it rather gruffly, as if he truly meant it. But he hadn't forgotten, and he would talk about it. A name, a place or a sound would transport him back to 1932-33.

Harold Larwood will enthral not only cricket enthusiasts, but all those who relish biographical writing of the highest quality. His research is exhaustive.

Hamilton's biography, Harold Larwood, scooped the first prize as William Hill Book of the Year in 2009, worth Sterling Pounds 21,000 apart from Sterling Pounds 2,000 free bet to the winner. He had first won the prize in 2007 for his biography of Brian Clough, Provided You Don't Kiss Me. Hamilton also won the prestigious Wisden Book of the Year 2009 for Larwood's biography and biography of the Year at the 2010 British Sports Book Awards