A father took his son to a Test match and ignited a passion that would last from Dennis Lillee smacking Tony Greig into the Tavern at Lord's to Kevin Pietersen hammering Brett Lee round The Oval. Shortly after that first Test match the man died, leaving the boy with Geoff Boycott for company. However, the love for a game that he had bequeathed remained, shaping his son, supporting him and giving him experiences he would not otherwise have had.
In between Lillee and Pietersen: Allan Lamb reflected the spirit that confronted the miners; a former winner of the Evening Standard's Best Young Cricketer of the Year award became Prime Minister; Fred Trueman's daughter married Raquel Welch's son; Henry Blofeld informed radio listeners that Calcutta was celebrating the assassination of Mahatma Ghandi; Anna Kournikova helped boost Darren Gough's finances and Al Qaida helped hasten the end of a Glamorgan off-spinner's international career.
Through all of this, the English cricket team was mostly rubbish. Were all of these things unconnected or, as CLR James believed about Bodyline, was cricket reflective of and inextricably linked to what was going on around it? More importantly, could the England team complete an apparent resurgence by considering the state of the Australian captain's underwear?
Ricky Ponting's Underpants is the boy's story over 30 years of false dawns and misplaced optimism supporting a side
that, at one point, were worse than Zimbabwe. "It was a labour of love because I wanted to know why the team I'd
supported all those years had been mostly rubbish!" says Paul behind his motivation to write the book.
Paul Lazenby is a solicitor and captain of Stoneleigh Cricket Club but not necessarily in that order of priority. His batting has been compared to Tavare-on-valium, while his inexplicably underrated slow bowling has snared many an unsuspecting victim, at least half of whom were entitled to vote. He lives with two long-suffering daughters.
PUBLICATION DATE: 5th August 2010