The definitive history of English cricket told in typically irreverent fashion by the William Hill Award-winning author of A Lot of Hard Yakka.
Cricket defines Englishness like no other national pastime. From its earliest origins in the sixteenth century (or an early version played by shepherds called creag in the 1300s), through the formation of the MCC and the opening of Lord's cricket ground in 1787, to the spread of county cricket in the next century, when the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack was first published and the Ashes series was born, this simple sport of bat and ball has captured the imagination of the masses.
Throughout its 500-year history, cricket has been a mirror for society as a whole, reflecting the changes that have brought us from the quintessential village green to Freddie Flintoff's pedalo, from W G Grace to Monty Panesar, via a fair number of eccentrics, heroes and downright villains.
William Hill Award-winning writer Simon Hughes, no mean player himself, has lived and breathed cricket his whole life and now takes his analytical skills and typically irreverent eye to charting the history of English cricket. But this is no dry, dusty tome. It is the story of the mad characters who inhabit the game, the extraordinary lengths people will go to to watch and play it, the tale of a national obsession. It debunks the myth of cricket sportsmanship, showing the origins of sledging and match-fixing in centuries of subterfuge, corruption and violence. And it takes us beyond sport, to the heart of what it really means to be English.
“The culture and history of the game are amusingly brought out in an enormously jolly book by one of our best cricket writers, Simon Hughes. Its very title - And God Created Cricket - appropriately echoes the near-religious fervour with which many of us regard, or used to regard, the game. With his usual combination of authority and wit, Mr Hughes guides us through all the great tales of the game, from the earliest days to the present: a story he characterises as our having invented the game, and others having learned swiftly how to beat us at it.”
Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph
“An appreciation of the past is more generally found among cricket devotees than those of any other sport, a fact understood perfectly by Simon Hughes in And God Created Cricket. Hughes takes us on a breathless tour through cricket history, the great players, personalities, matches and events. He never slackens pace or dwells on the dry details of the scoreboard; the next entertaining anecdote is always waiting in the next paragraph”
Richard Whitehead, The Times
“A lively romp through cricketing history... Hughes is a spirited and entertaining guide through the vicissitudes of God's own sport... brilliant and hilarious”
Jim White, Daily Telegraph
“Do we really need yet another history of cricket? Yes, if it's as perkily written as this. The former Middlesex quickie has strung the story of "the greatest game on earth" (his words, but we agree) together in entertaining, conversational manner, and he is as sound on players past as present and acute on some of today's greats... A fresh trip down a well-trodden path”
Simon Redfern, Independent on Sunday
James Lawton, Independent
“A characteristically jaunty romp through the history of the game”
Stephen Brenkley, Independent on Sunday
“Excellent... an irreverent, entertaining resume of cricket's long history”
“Excellent and innovative”