The Character Of Cricket

by tim heald

‘First-rate stuff, in the great and... timeless tradition of English cricket writing.’ Punch


During one long summer in the mid-1980’s, Tim Heald toured England, absorbing the flavour of at least one cricket ground in every first-class county, and a good many more besides. He wanted to discover the true character of the English game, among those who ate, slept and dreamt cricket in all corners of the country.

The results are charming, heart-warmingly funny, and often surprising. In conversation with the kind of people who give the game its backbone – a gateman at Leicester, the groundsman at Swansea, a programme-seller at Bristol, a quintessential cricket-mad parson at Chelmsford – the author evokes some colourful ghosts, from the ubiquitous W.G. Grace (once punched in the face in Northampton) to Prebendary Wickham of Martock, and hears some strange stories – the Derbyshire captain absconding with the cash (and ending up as a tailor for the King of Spain); the Nottinghamshire team fielding in lounge suits; the match in which the schoolboy Douglas Jardine was reduced to tears by Gubby Allen’s gamesmanship.

The Character of Cricket is both a celebration of the national game and an evocation of a particular way of life – happily one still pursued in the England of today.


‘Cricket books should meet one or more of these necessary requirements, being either literate and amusing to read, or meticulously researched, or original in concept. Tim Heald’s The Character of Cricket triumphantly meets all three.’ Benny Green, Sunday Times

‘First-rate stuff, in the great and... timeless tradition of English cricket writing.’ Punch

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