My new cricket book out just in time for Christmas is A Pictorial History of Australian Test Cricket. It’s my biggest and one of my best books yet. Here are some highlights:
YEARS ago I bought a huge collection of books and brilliant original photos from Casino in country New South Wales, and on arrival, as I was heaving two containers and 40 boxes up the driveway and into the safety of our garage, my wife Susan said to me: “Surely they can’t all be for us”
Thankfully for me, there was.
CLEM Hill was Australia’s first great left hander, but he had a temper and one night at Australian selection became so enraged at the comments directed his way by his chairman of selectors Peter McAlister that he stood and punched McAlister with a left hook Joe Frazier would have been proud to have thrown.
Hill had come to Sydney not to pick the team but to get even with Peter, their bar room brawl lasting almost 20 minutes. We include the letter to prove it.
WHEN Rick McCosker, broken jaw and all, emerged from the Australian dressing room to take his place late in the order in the 1977 Centenary Test, Melburnians stood as one and started singing ‘Waltzing McCosker, Waltzing McCosker’…. so moved were they by McCosker’s bravery.
It’s one of the many superb photographs to be included in the book which starts with the old MCG just a day before the very first Test match 100 years early in 1877.
POPULAR umpire Tony Crafter, ‘TC’, was normally cool as a cucumber but on this out of control day in Perth he almost was sconed by a cricket bat as he stood in between Javed Miandad and an equally fired up Dennis Lillee.
Javed had jabbed his bat into Lillee’s rib cage in mid pitch, Dennis responding by running at the Pakistani and kicking him in the pads.
Rarely before had cricket got so physical. Their confrontation is one of the great pictures in this collection
Having taken a wicket in near heat-wave conditions in a Test in the West Indies, volatile Rodney Hogg — never the easiest to handle — threw a right hook just as Hughes was arriving for the customary celebration.
It only just missed … it’s a great pic.
‘Was it deliberate Hoggy’ I asked.
‘You bet’ he said.
DON Bradman was on 97 in Melbourne’s Bodyline Test match when joined at the wicket by Australia’s No. 11, 51-year-old Bert Ironmonger.
‘Don’t worry son, I won’t let you down,’ said old Bert, safely negotiating two balls to allow the young Don the strike again.
His pull shot to the boundary for one of his bravest Test 100s is one of the many stunning pics in the chapter on the roaring ‘30s and Australia’s mighty Bradman-led revival.
FIFTEEN-year-old Bill Ponsford wore short pants the first time he played first XI cricket at Melbourne’s Junction Oval. So small was he that he could barely hit the ball off the square, yet he was to become one of cricket’s great recordbreakers and remains the only Aussie to twice make 400.
Our picture of the run hungry Ponny is one of many of the great old Aussie champions in this coffee-table size book sure to delight.