Guidance on the new book series
Organised cricket tours date back to at least the 1850s and since then the idea that clubs of all standards may play a series of games away from home, sometimes travelling tens of thousands of miles, has become a prominent and popular feature of the game. At international level, there has long been a complex programme of visits including Test and one-day contests, whilst at local level, some clubs have well-established annual excursions to certain parts of the country. Many county or regional clubs have taken to organising short pre-season overseas tours. Certain tours, such as the 1932/33 MCC tour of Australia, feature strongly in the mythology of the game. Some tours have been a source of great pride for the touring party, others have been mired in controversy.
The ACS is keen to publish research on cricket tours to, from and within any country as an important part of the history of the game. This note provides some background to the new series, although the intention is that it will be very flexible in its coverage, with a minimum of expectations.
The aim of the series is to publish books about cricket tours – defined simply as teams playing away from their home country/region. The series could encompass different types of tours. They could be men’s or women’s international tours (with or without Test matches) or those made by county/state sides abroad. They could be official or private tours. It is also clear from recent books on the planned 1970 South African tour of the UK, and others, that a feasible topic could also be a tour which did not take place. While the assumption is that the tours would normally be elite-level (however defined), less significant tours could fall within the remit of the series where they help to illuminate important aspects of cricket history.
Ideally, the series would feature tours which have not been covered before, but there may be good reasons for revisiting a tour if new material has become available, or for taking a fresh look at a previously-researched tour. A book on a series of tours to the same place might also be interesting where individual visits did not necessarily merit a full book on their own.
Different authors will have a range of perspectives they may want to pursue. The tour may have been a record-breaking one on the field, or a first tour by a particular team to another country. It may be a tour particularly associated with a specific player or players. In some cases, there may be interesting political dimensions, such as in David Woodhouse’s new book on the 1953/54 MCC tour to the West Indies, Who Only Cricket Know. The wider impact of a tour might also be the focus of a book, such as in Colin Babb’s book on the 1973 England v West Indies series, 1973 and Me. The ACS is keen not to discourage an author from taking whatever perspective they think fits best.
While wishing to avoid being prescriptive about the focus and content of contributions to this series, each book should probably include many of the following:
- details of each match played including venue, dates, scores and main contributors. In some cases (eg where hard to come by) this might be full scores, in others, simply potted scores. As with the Lives in Cricket series, however, ACS would discourage lengthy accounts of matches unless they are particularly significant
- at least some basic statistical information such as tour averages
- potted biographies of the tourists and those accompanying them, especially if they are relatively unknown players (often the case in early tours)
- some context to the tour – for example, the back history such as previous tours or rivalries, political background affecting the tour etc
- where possible, it would be interesting to get a sense of what the players thought of the experience of touring (in the early years travelling was difficult and potentially dangerous) and also how teams were treated (for example, early Australian sides were treated as amateurs even though they were paid players; some touring teams have suffered discrimination)
- where possible, authors should endeavour to include appropriate photographs related to the tour, preferably including at least one picture of the tour party if one can be traced. Images can appear individually at an appropriate point in the text or in a separate photo insert positioned centrally in the book, at the discretion of the author and/or editor.
As with the Lives in Cricket and Cricket Witness series, proposals should be made to the ACS General Committee, who will consider them on their merits. Initial contact regarding potential new titles for the series should be made via email@example.com
The series so far
The Cricket Tours series launched in August 2022, with The ABC Tour: The South American tour to Britain 1932. A second book, on the MCC tour to India and South Asia in 1926/27, is scheduled for early 2023.