England v Australia

Published: 1986
Pages: 256
Author: Frith, David
Publisher: Collins Willow
Rating: 3 stars

England v Australia

‘another one for the vault’ is a saying we have in the book review team at Cricket Web. It means we have reviewed a book with limited appeal or interest and which should only be featured on the front page when the vault is empty.

Well they don’t have much more limited appeal than a statistical book almost 30 years out of date. Most of the records featured in England v Australia have since been superseded and some of the most famous Ashes heroes are not featured. No Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, Glen McGrath, Andrew Flintoff or Michael Atherton and no mention of 2005 or the two white washes in the last ten years to add to the only other one achieved in the previous 130 years of Ashes cricket.

Time to address the elephant in the room, why review this book? Because I love it and still occasionally thumb through the now battered pages, add to this the way the information is set out makes it easily accessible. Where most statistical books attempt to cram as many facts as possible into each page, the editor appears to have taken care to assist the reader to navigate through facts and records of interest.

It is the accessibility that makes England V Australia such an enjoyable book to peruse again and again. Frith has assigned eras, which makes for a fairer comparison between contemporaries. The most successful players of each era are sometimes of surprise. For instance, Charley McCleod is adjudged the leading batsman of era one 1876 to 1899, finishing in front of more renowned players such as Monty Noble and Clem Hill.

While the records established for each era would remain, it would be interesting to see how the overall records would change. Where would Warne be on the wickets list or Steve Waugh on the all-time run makers list. Still some old records would remain. Bradman’s record series aggregate, most runs, best average and most hundreds and Syd Gregory’s 52 Ashes appearances, not to mention the ubiquitous Jim Laker’s 19 wickets.

If this review achieves anything than perhaps some publisher out there will notice it and may release a new edition, however that may be just a hope. Anyway the fact this review is up on the site means the vault is bare and I have cricket books to review.

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