Apart form its current publications, John Blake Publishing has a sizeable back list of acclaimed sporting titles. These include biographies of stars such as Roger Federer, WG Grace, Fernando Torres and Frankie Dettori. For more information, visit www.blake.co.uk
List Price:£16.99 Our Price: £14.44 You Save: £2.55 (15%)
Trevor Bailey was, before Sir Ian Botham, arguably England's greatest all-round cricketer; his bowling was brisk and calculated, while his batting was obdurate and, crucially, resistant. Author Alan Hill manages to deliver a fantastic insight into Bailey's tenacious personality, simultaneously chronicling his ascent to cricket's pinnacle.
The tranquil and gentle fields of Alleyn Court prep school and Dulwich College, a place PG Wodehouse called a scene of "unbroken bliss", were the beautiful surrounds within which the precocious Bailey honed his sporting talent.
He is portrayed as an ever-improving student, relentlessly eschewing any defaults in his sporting repertoire. Hill draws upon various anecdotes to further illustrate Bailey's ceaseless perfectionism, a constant in Bailey's formative years.
Hill charts Bailey's rise in an concise fashion, peppering his account with anecdotes, interviews, and match reports. For example, Bailey's influential school-master, Denys Wilcox, recalls an innate sporting prowess, and recalls watching the young Bailey, who had just lost the final of the school ping-pong final, and "saw someone who might one day be champion".
The Second Test of the 1953 Ashes series proved Bailey was the very embodiment of English resilience. Staring defeat in the face, England called upon Bailey to bat on the defensive. He held the Australians for four hours to earn an important draw, a result that was the precursor to an English series victory.
The autobiography however is not limited to Bailey's exploits on the field. Hill collates a limited, yet effective, amount of information regarding Bailey's off-field life. Most importantly of all were Bailey's efforts during the Second-World War. Bailey was a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Marines where he gained a fondness for organisation, a skill-set which he transferred to cricket.
This is an accurate, well-researched account of Bailey's life which does not attempt to mythologise. Indeed, the author deserves to be commended for a thoroughly enjoyable autobiography - one worthy of the great Trevor Bailey.