Stiff Upper Lips & Baggy Green Caps - A Sledger’s History of The Ashes
‘A history of the Ashes with more spice than you will find in a curry-house kitchen’
Peppered with bouncers, expletives, and even the odd diplomatic incident, this is a rip-roaring journey through over a century of Ashes history.
For a list of every Ashes century and five-wicket haul, try Wisden, but if you want to know which England batsman was a martyr to syphilis and which Australian fast bowler reckoned the Queen had ‘nice legs for an old Sheila’, then read on.
Stiff Upper Lips & Baggy Green Caps exposes the seamy side of Ashes cricket. It gives the inside story behind controversies from the Bodyline series of 1932–33 and the Lillee and Thomson blitzkrieg of 1974– 75, right up to the unseemly modern spats that ensure that this biannual frenzy of backbiting, finger-pointing and dubious facial hair remains one of the great events of the sporting calendar.
‘They have come to watch me bat, not you bowl.’ - W.G. Grace to an opposing bowler
‘Don’t bother shutting it, son, you won’t be out there long enough.’ - Fred Trueman as a new Australian batsman closes the gate on his way out of the pavilion at Lord’s
‘So how’s your wife and my kids?’ ... ‘The wife’s fine, the kids are retarded.’ Rod Marsh and Ian Botham, sledge and counter-sledge
‘Back to the nets, dickhead.’ - Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy’s habitual sledge to a just dismissed batsman
Simon Briggs covers cricket for the Daily Telegraph. He grew up in Oxford, in a house full of academics, then studied history at Cambridge, but no-one has ever discovered which period. He lives in London.
Quercus - Paperback - 368 pages - £8.99 - 6th June 2013