Sports Book of the Week: Ashes to Ashes by Marcus Berkmann

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The Independent Online

Written from the spectator's point of view, this book is, according to the author, "subjective, personal, grossly tendentious... the first-ever emotional history of the Ashes".

It is also very funny, which will come as no surprise to those who have read Marcus Berkmann's accounts of his own cricket team's adventures in 'Rain Men' and 'Zimmer Men'. His memories of the agony, punctuated just occasionally by unexpected ecstasy, of supporting England against Australia strike many chords.

Those insomniacs who have followed series in Oz via the radio will empathise with his friend Nick, who during the 1982 Adelaide Test nodded off when David Gower was on 10 and awoke to find his hero was now on only three, England having collapsed and been forced to follow on. And rousing cheers for Berkmann's comment about the quacking cartoon duck introduced by Australian TV to accompany batsmen who have made nought off the pitch – "the first few times I saw this I wanted somebody harmed". Let's hope that's not all we have to cheer about by the end of this series.

Published in hardback by Little, Brown, £16.99

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