A Last English Summer, by Duncan Hamilton

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The one constant in English cricket is that it is going to the dogs. Observers hark back to golden ages that probably never were, and from this book's foreboding title one might assume that Duncan Hamilton, the garlanded biographer of Harold Larwood, is among them.

The self-confessed "raving sentimentalist" watched the 2009 season from the first ball bowled in the MCC v Durham fixture at Lord's – on the unfeasibly early date of 9 April – his observant, inquiring eye taking in the Ashes, county games, Lancashire League, even fabled Hambledon, and ending at Kent's St Lawrence Ground in deep September.

His passion and knowledge shine through as he decries the obsession with Twenty20 and sticks up for the Test format, yet he is convinced that cricket will survive.

"It may be true that English cricket as we know it is dying," wrote John Arlott nearly 40 years ago. But then it always has been, and this rich, nostalgic read offers hope that it can be reborn once again.

Published in hardback by Quercus, £20

Comments