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The Summer Field: A History of English Cricket since 1840

By Mark Rowe

Cricket has come a long way since players could only travel on foot, or by horse or cart. Some things never change; someone has to bat, someone bowl, someone be captain; everyone has to learn. The game is nothing without cricketers; yet the men (or women) on the field are never the full story, as The Summer Field shows. It includes spectators, journalists, ground-keepers, coaches, umpires, selectors and tea ladies. Nor is it only the story of the greatest players, such as Sydney Barnes and Herbert Sutcliffe; we also meet Will Richards, the Nottingham school-teacher; his friend George Wakerley, the job-hunting club professional; and Freeman Barnardo, of Eton and Cambridge. This history of cricket since the coming of the railways seeks to answer questions, such as: what was it like to play cricket in the past? Who played it, and why did they? And why are the English so obsessed with Australia?

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