Shortlisted for The Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2019
England: The Biography is the most comprehensive account of the England cricket team that has ever been published, taking the reader into the heart of the action and the team dynamics that have helped shape their success, or otherwise.
It is now 140 years since England first played Test match cricket and, for much of that time, it has struggled to perform to the best of its capabilities. In the early years, amateurs would pick and choose which matches and tours they would play; subsequently, the demands of the county game - and the petty jealousies that created - would prevent many from achieving their best. It was only in the 1990s that central contracts were brought in, and Team England began to receive the best possible support from an ever-increasing backroom team.
But cricket isn't just about structures, it depends like no other sport on questions of how successful the captain is in motivating and leading his team, and how well different personalities and egos are integrated and managed in the changing room.
From Joe Root and Alastair Cook back to Mike Atherton, Mike Brearley and Ray Illingworth, England captains have had a heavy influence on proceedings. Recent debates over Kevin Pietersen were nothing new, as contemporaries of W.G.Grace would doubtless recognise.
As England reach their 1000th Test, this is a brilliant and unmissable insight into the ups and downs of that story.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Number of pages: 640
Dimensions: 198 x 130 x 39 mm
'Superbly researched piece of work by Simon Wilde. His eye for detail never wavers; he never cuts any corners. It's a pleasure to read but also works as a reference book.' - Vic Marks, The Observer
'At once dauntingly comprehensive and surprisingly light-footed.' - Simon Briggs, The Daily Telegraph
'He has done a fabulous job with this book. Inevitably, history reveals historical patterns.' - Simon Barnes, The Cricketer
'A meaty book, and it has to be. Wilde tells the story with clarity and a pleasing lack of bias.' - Michael Henderson, The Times
'Another wonderful sports book on the shelves this summer is a brilliantly presented history of English cricket written by Simon Wilde. Not only does it cover all the major matches, issues and controversies of our national summer game, it is also speckled liberally with fascinating lists and statistics... The book is simply a treat.' - Jim Holden, The Sunday Express
'Fellow [cricket] tragics will love this book, issued in the summer of England's 1,000th Test match. Even the title - England: The Biography - deserves a round of applause for presuming that the nation is synonymous with cricket... The book's greatest joys are its footnotes.' - Francis Wheen, The Mail on Sunday
'A well-written, engaging, analytical narrative rich in opinion and revealing facts' - Roderick Easdale, Country Life
'An impressive and comprehensive gem...superbly researched and brilliantly delivered. It is going to...be indispensable. It needs to be read, and it deserves to sell well.' - Huw Turbervill, The Cricketer
'A collection of 35 thematic chapters rather than a chronological narrative and is packed full of stats and fascinating details.' - The Mail on Sunday, Sports Books of the Year
'His story of the England cricket team's development is not just highly informative but offers a valuable and lasting perspective... Here is a book that all those writing about the game will want in their laptops as well as their libraries. The book that Wilde was destined to write, a reminder that he is surely the finest editor that Wisden Cricketers Almanack never had; perhaps there is still time.' - David Hopps, Cricinfo