Cricket's Greatest Rivalry - Simon Hughes

Cricket's Greatest Rivalry - Simon Hughes
Cricket's Greatest Rivalry - Simon Hughes

A fast-paced, distinctive history of the iconic, 135-year-old cricketing rivalry between England and Australia published in the year of back-to-back Ashes contests.

No other sport has a fixture like the Ashes. From the early 1880s the rivalry between these two great sporting nations has captured the public imagination and made sporting legends of its stars. Commentator, analyst and award-winning cricket historian Simon Hughes tells the story of the ten seminal series that have become the stuff of sporting folklore.

Cricket's Greatest Rivalry places you right at the heart of the action of each pivotal match, explaining the social context of the time, the atmosphere of the crowd and the background and temperaments of the players that battled in both baggy green and blue caps.

Simon starts his story at the very birth of the Ashes and tells the tale of the band of Australians that took on the best gentleman and players in the Empire's HQ and beat them on their home turf. That momentous occasion set the tone for some epic contests including:

  • The thrilling 1902 Test at Old Trafford, which was one by a mere three runs.
  • The incredible innings of Hobbs and Sutcliffe in front of a tense and packed Oval in 1926.
  • The legendary 'bodyline' series of Jardine, Larwood, Bradman et al in 1933.
  • The incredible run chase in 1948 that also saw Bradman's last test.
  • England's reprise in the fifth test of 1953 when Lock, Trueman, Bailey and Hutton steered the  hosts to a whirlwind victory.
  • The fearsome pace attack from the likes of Lillie and Thompson that transformed the contest in the first Test of 1974 and shaped the Ashes as a tournament for decades to come.
  • Botham's Ashes in 1981 that restored pride in a sports-mad nation.
  • The match up at old Trafford where the magic of one Shane Warne sent shockwaves through the game.
  • And finally the breaking of the Aussie stranglehold in 2005, when Flintoff, Pietersen and Vaughan did the seemingly impossible and re-established the greatest of rivalries.

This is the perfect way for cricket lovers, both English and Australian, to prepare for the ten-match feast of Ashes cricket that begins in Nottingham in July 2013 and ends in Sydney in January 2014.


Simon Hughes is cricket's Analyst. In 2002 he won the Royal Television Society’s Sports Pundit of the Year Award, while his insights during the epic 2005 Ashes series brought the technical side of the game to a whole new audience. Simon's commentaries have not only been enjoyed by Channel 4, Five and Test Match Special audiences, but also by readers of his regular column in the Daily Telegraph.

This is Simon's seventh book. His first – A Lot of Hard Yakka – won the coveted William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award.
His illustrious writing career followed an equally sparkling 11 years (1980-91) as a fast bowler for Middlesex where he won ten titles including four county championships.

He retired in 1993 and wrote the widely acclaimed Cricketer’s Diary for The  Independent before joining the Daily Telegraph as a columnist.  1999 saw Simon begin his stint as the groundbreaking Analyst on Channel 4’s award-winning cricket coverage, winning the which won 28 awards in its seven-year span, including six Baftas. Simon will be covering each of the Tests in this Year's back-to-back Ashes series for test Match special and Channel 5.


Published in hardback by Cassell, June 26th 2013, £18.99
Click here to buy from Amazon