19th June, England v South Africa, 09:30 GMT
The funny, honest and enjoyable new collection from a sporting legend.
"It is fifteen years since I retired as a first-class cricket umpire, but I have remained very much involved with the game and hope to be so for many more years to come. So much has happened since my last match out there in the middle and I would very much like to share with you some of those adventures – some funny, some frightening – as well as giving you my thoughts on the future of this great game of ours."
Dickie Bird remains the most famous umpire of them all: a loveable eccentric with a joyful sense of fun, a household name and one of the most loved and respected characters in world cricket. After 13 years playing on the county circuit, he became an umpire in 1970, and was quickly beloved by cricketers and fans alike.
Here, as he approaches his eightieth birthday on 19th April, Dickie recalls the highlights of his life in cricket and beyond: some of his most memorable and hilarious tales both on and off the field, his forthright views on the game and those involved in it, stories of old friends and acquaintances, compelling accounts of what it is like behind the scenes at the highest level, and the ups and downs of life since his retirement from the game in 1998.
"To say Dickie Bird loves cricket doesn’t get anywhere near describing exactly what he feels for the game. It’s a bit like saying Romeo had a slight crush on Juliet, or Abelard had a fancy for Héloïse. The game consumes his life and defines its horizons. It shapes the very posture of the man. Like a tree bent and moulded by the prevailing wind, so the curve in his spine, the hunch of his shoulders, the crinkled eyes as he inspects the world, have been sculpted through a lifetime’s dedication to cricket." MICHAEL PARKINSON
Born in 1933, the son of a miner, Dickie Bird has spent a life `married to cricket`. He was signed up to play for Yorkshire age 19, and in 1979 he became a Test match umpire. The announcement that he would umpire his final Test at Lord`s in June 1996 signalled the end of an international career which has won him worldwide affection as the finest umpire in cricket history.