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The inside story of the England cricket team's quest to become the number one Test nation in the world

In 1999, England slumped to a new low in their long and tumultuous cricket history. Defeat in a home series at the hands of a mediocre New Zealand team saw them fall to the bottom of the world Test rankings, below even Zimbabwe. Yet only just over a decade later, England are in touching distance of top spot. It has been a remarkable and profound transformation, brought about largely by two men with an insatiable desire to succeed, Duncan Fletcher and Andy Flower.

In Making a Plan, Steve James tells the story of the renaissance of English cricket from a unique perspective. As the former batting partner of ECB managing director Hugh Morris, a player under Fletcher at Glamorgan and Flower's closest confidant in the press corps, James is able to both relate and analyse the reasons behind the rise. From crucial choices of captain to innovative coaching and a complete overhaul of training and preparation for matches, it is the tale of a refusal to be second best.

And in examining Fletcher and Flower's background in Zimbabwe, where James himself played, he uncovers the continental shift behind the turnaround. With players such as Andrew Strauss, Matt Prior, Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott to the fore, this is the story of how English steel has been melded with African fire to create the most potent combination in world cricket.


The most insightful cricket book of the year

Paul Newman, Daily Mail


Mike Atherton, The Times

An excellent book and courageous in the way it revisits and interrogates the opinions of the moment, including the author's own, in light of subsequent developments. As well as knowledge there is a rare warmth and sympathy to his portraits of men who are probably easier to respect than truly to know. The Plan is rich in unfamiliar detail and even the sideways glances are penetrating. The cricket points are well made, the personal judgements astute. Like his subjects James has made a good plan and stuck to it

Gideon Haigh, The Cricketer

Fine detail... a persuasive account of the renaissance of English cricket, and no one is better qualified to tell it. [Steve James] has become a member of an influential new British school of cricket writing

The Economist

James' quiet excellence, uncomplicated style and informed perspective make his Sunday column a "don't miss". The Plan is more of the same... Compelling

Sam Collins, Cricinfo

A hugely enjoyable and engrossing read... highly recommended

The Reverse Sweep

Unrivalled insight and captivating analysis... James has peerless knowledge of Fletcher and Flower - he argues his view brilliantly


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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 15, 2013


    368 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
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    • Boomerang Books
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    • The Nile
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    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    May 24, 2012

    Transworld Digital

    368 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
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    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

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