RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
The Ashes Match of My Life

The Ashes Match of My Life
by Sam Pilger & Rob Wightman

Published by:
Pitch Publishing Ltd
Website: www.pitchpublishing.co.uk

Publicity Co-ordinator: Derek Hammond

E-mail: derek@wordstoorder.co.uk

Pages: 223

Price: Sterling Pounds 16.99

A completely revised and updated imprint of the critically acclaimed My Greatest Ashes Test, which earned exceptional reviews: "A real delight" (The Wisden Cricketer) and "One of the greatest ever books on the Ashes" (Frank Keating, The Guardian) has just been released.

Fourteen Ashes legends - Neil Harvey, Ray Illingworth, Jeff Thomson, Geoffrey Boycott, Bob Willis, David Gower, John Emburey, Mark Taylor, Merv Hughes, Justin Langer, Glenn McGrath, Ashley Giles, Mike Hussey and Paul Collingwood - come together to tell the stories behind their most thrilling triumphs in the historic series - enabling cricket fans to relive these magic moments through the eyes and emotions of the men out in the middle of the field, playing their hearts out for England and Australia in one of the sporting world's most intense rivalries.

England captain, Ray Illingworth, gives his account of fighting fire with fire on the field, before having to leave it, as cans and bottles were flung from the crowd. Under his captaincy, England had won by 2-0 in 1971. They needed to avoid defeat in the final Test at Sydney to reclaim the Ashes at the end of a long, tight and sometimes controversial series. They led 1-0 having won the fourth Test with the third having been abandoned with no play, while the others were all draws.

According to Illingworth, winning back the Ashes in Australia was the absolute highlight of his cricket career. "Unless people have been to Australia, they don't realise how difficult it is to win a series down there. The crowds are massive and hostile, with 90 per cent of them against you, and the pitches are different."

On his Ashes debut at Headingley, Leeds in 1989, Mark Taylor scored his maiden Test century (136) to set Australia on their way to winning the series 4-0 and regaining the Ashes in England for the first time for 55 years. Taylor recalled: "That Ashes series changed my life. I arrived in England as an anonymous guy who had played two matches and left four and a half months later as an established Test player. I made 839 runs at an average of 83.90, and I reckon I should have got more. It placed me second behind Sir Don Bradman's record of 930 runs on an Ashes tour in 1930. It was an honour and rather strange to be mentioned in the same breath as The Don."

Each player reveals the tension, the controversy, the traditions, the personal battles, the sledging, the humour, the anecdotes, the parties and the passion involved in competing in an Ashes series.

Merv Hughes recounts how he intimidated England's batsmen into submission in 1993. "It has been said that my efforts on the 1993 Ashes tour probably brought my Test career to a premature end. I don't agree. I was coming to the end anyway, the truth was my knees, ankles and back were all knackered. It was only a matter of time before I had to make way for the younger blokes, and there was one by the name of Glenn McGrath coming through."

Glenn McGrath, one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time, relives the glorious moment he destroyed England and took his 500th Test wicket at Lord's in 2005. "Looking back at the 2005 series, I am genuinely proud to have played a part in what is recognised as the greatest series in the history of the game, especially as it included that spell at Lord's and my 500th wicket."

The book deserves to be bought, read and pondered. Beautifully produced and lavishly illustrated, this superb publication is a must for collectors of cricket literature.

We are thankful to Jane Camillin, Pitch Publishing for sending the review copy for our website.