21st May: Chennai Super Kings v M. Indians, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
As Michael Simkins eases into his half century he starts, quite rightly, to reflect on how everything has gone to the dogs: cricket, England and his own spreading self. After an injury rules him out of playing for the Harry Baldwin Occasionals, he decides to sit on the other side of the boundary and spend the summer months watching the professionals at work. So Michael takes off around the country on a journey to recharge his cricketing batteries; a journey in search of ‘the fire’ (those golden moments when his love of cricket was first kindled), in search of himself and an England past.
From the Test grounds of Lords and the Oval to historic Hambledon and beautiful Queen’s Park, Chesterfield, it is a trip that takes him back to the light drizzle of childhood holidays and on to some of the grounds and fixtures he has always meant to visit. He even tries heroically to fall in love with the confetti-cannoned bastard child of WG Grace and Kerry Katona that is T20.
In the course of his travels, Michael faces down Freddie Flintoff, visits the burial site of his favourite ground (now a Marks & Spencer) and spends his time sharing Trebor Mints and chatting about the game with fellow fans across the country. So can his beloved cricket still bring comfort and meaning to life or is Old Father Time about to call for Michael’s bails?
Michael Simkins is the author of the critically acclaimed Fatty Batter, which was shortlisted for the 2008 Costa Biography Award and has gone on to sell more than 55,000 copies, Detour de France and What’s My Motivation?
He is familiar face on the west end stage and TV screens, usually playing experts, policemen or unsuspecting husbands. Most recently he’s played Billy Flynn in Chicago and the Pierce Brosnan role in Mamma Mia (or as he’d rather think of it, the Michael Simkins role which Pierce Brosnan subsequently played in the film). Countless TV and film appearances include Foyle's War, Lewis, and Lead Balloon - as well as turns on the silver screen in such films as Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy, V for Vendetta and Iron Lady, the forthcoming film about Mrs Thatcher starring Meryl Streep.
He is a frequent contributor to Radio 4 and writes for the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and The Times.
Michael lives with his actress wife Julia in London.
Published by Ebury Press on 7th July 2011, £11.99 trade paperback original and ebook £12.52