RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
The Ashes Miscellany
The Ashes Miscellany
By Clive Batty
Foreword by : David Gower

Published by
Vision Sports Publishing
19-23 High Street, Kingston upon Thames
Surrey KT1 1LL.

Marketing Executive : Henry Firth, Henry@visionsp.co.uk

Pages : 167

Price : Sterling Pounds Nine and Pence Ninety Nine.

The book can be ordered from www.visionsp.co.uk

One book which is sure to delight cricket enthusiasts is The Ashes Miscellany. This expanded, revised and updated edition includes England's tremendous triumphs in the 2009 and 2010-11 series.

Celebrating the rich history of one of the the oldest and greatest rivalries in sport, this superb publication has been packed with facts, figures, lists, quotes and anecdotes..from the legend of the burning of the bails in 1882 to England's amazing triumph in Australia in 2011, from W.G.Grace and Don Bradman's magnificent batting feats to Jim Laker's 19-wicket feat in the Old Trafford Test in 1956, and includes information on the lighter side of the rivalry, such as, David Boon's Ashes record of drinking 58 beers on the flight from Sydney to London!

David Gower, in his foreword, remarked: "I played against some of the true greats; early on I came up against the Chappells, Lillee, Thomson and Marsh. Allan Border emerged as one of the gutsiest and most prolific batsmen of all time. Thee are many others, too numerous to mention, whose performances epitomised the challenge of the Ashes. Sadly I never got to play against Shane Warne; it would have been great just to have faced him, better still to maybe have got the better of him. On the other hand he might have seen me off as easily as many of the others who made up his 708 Test wickets.

In many ways Warne himself is the perfect example of what the Ashes mean to all those who have ever played in even one Test between England and Australia. The man was voted cricketer of the century by Wisden and enthralled cricket lovers around the world, yet his finest hours all seemed to be in Ashes series; the Gatting wonder ball at Old Trafford that announced Warne's arrival, the hat-trick in Melbourne, through to his pre-eminence during the 5-0 trouncing of the old foe in 2006-07 took him into retirement with a huge smile all over his face."

In 2006, former Australian captain and veteran cricket commentator Richie Benaud was invited by leading Australian newspaper The Age to select his top ten Ashes moments of all time. In chronological order, these were his choices - England beaten at home by Australia for the first time in 1882; Bodyline in 1932-33, Australia's fightback in 1936-37, Headingley in 1948, Jim Laker's 19 wickets at Old Trafford in 1956, Old Trafford in 1961, Lord's in 1972, Shane Warne's 'ball of the century' in 1993, Steve Waugh's two hundreds at Old Trafford in 1997 and Edgbaston in 2005.

A few of the interesting facts in this beautiful book are:

# In a low-scoring Ashes encounter at Old Trafford in 1888, the England and Australia captains called on just three bowlers apiece to set a record for the fewest bowlers to be used in a Test match. The Aussie trio of John Ferris, Charlie Turner and Sammy Woods restricted England to 172 on the first day, but on a sticky wicket it surprisingly proved to be a more than adequate total. England left-arm spinner Bobby Peel made the most of the favourable conditions, taking 11 for 68 in the match, and, supported by fellow spinner Johnny Briggs and medium pacer George Lohmann, was instrumental in his side's triumph by an innings and 21 runs - a result which gave England a 2-1 victory in the three-Test series.

# The third umpire system was first used in the Ashes in England in 1993, with former Yorkshire and Leicestershire batsman Chris Balderstone taking on the role of the third official for the first Test at Lord's. Communicating with on-field umpires, David Shepherd and Mervyn Kitchen via radio, Balderstone's role was limited to making decisions on run-outs, stumpings and hit wicket after watching a TV replay of the incident. When he ruled that Robin Smith had been stumped off the bowling of Aussie spinner Tim May, the South African-born batsman, became the first player to be dismissed by a third umpire in a Test match in England.

# Players have been caught, bowled, run out, stumped, given out lbw and hit wicket in Ashes matches, but none had been dismissed for 'handling the ball' and Graham Gooch received his marching orders for that little-known contravention of cricket's laws on the last day of the First Test at Old Trafford in 1993.

Clive Batty and the publishers, VSP are to be congratulated on the book's production. They have produced a well-written and worthwhile book.