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Who Only Cricket Know, Hutton’s Men in the West Indies 1953/54 tells the story of the second most controversial tour in English cricket history, which has not been revisited since two tour books came out in its immediate aftermath.The cricket is dramatic, the key characters fascinating, and it is awash with incidents on and off the field, many of them involving race and social class.
This was the first tour in which MCC travelled by plane (although they returned home on the boat) and the first time they were captained by a professional player – Len Hutton. It was also Hutton’s Yorkshire teammate Fred Trueman’s debut tour and for the opposition, the Three Ws were in their pomp and a young man called Garfield Sobers made his international bow.
David Woodhouse has meticulously researched every aspect of the tour as well as carrying out a number of interviews, retaining the nuances and subtleties of the different levels of the story. He takes us through the lead-up to the tour, the warm-up games and the five Test matches, as well as the recriminations that took place both at Lord’s and in the West Indies.
Praise for ‘Who Only Cricket Know’
A brilliant new book about the MCC’s controversial tour of the West Indies in 1953-54 … In Who Only Cricket Know, David Woodhouse writes a compelling account of a historic series marked by tantrums and turmoil, racism and riots, class conflicts and colonialism – and some great cricket.
David Woodhouse’s immaculate book is a piece of modern history shown through a cricketing lens … It is deeply and lovingly researched, and then crafted like a batmaker working on his Grade A willow. One for the purists, in every respect.
WISDEN CRICKET MONTHLY
A really remarkable book … A major work of political, economic, social and cultural history … It says a lot about the present as well as the past.
OBORNE AND HELLER ON CRICKET PODCAST
A fascinating subject … a surprisingly neglected corner of the game’s history … Woodhouse’s writing shows great skill and he is an accomplished wordsmith who clearly has a sense of humour … Bringing up the rear of this splendidly written and well-illustrated book are the scorecards of the Tests, the tour statistics, a comprehensive bibliography and a very fine index. … Pretty much perfect.
MARTIN CHANDLER, CRICKETWEB
(5-star review – ‘Martin wanted to give this one six stars’)
The best cricket book I have read in ages. Buy it, read it, savour it … A rare and magnificent gem.
ARUNABHA SENGUPTA, CRICKETMASH
Gripping cricket, fascinating characters and a backcloth of Caribbean nations on the cusp of independence where issues of race and social class are never far from the surface, these are the ingredients of this most dramatic of tours. It needed a writer with a rare gift to weave it all together into a compelling but never simplistic read, and David Woodhouse undoubtedly has that gift. The book is a masterpiece.