Duncan Hamilton and Christopher Sandford are the joint winners of the Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year 2020.
The competition, run by the Cricket Society since 1970 and in partnership with MCC since 2009, is for books nominated by MCC and Cricket Society Members, and is highly regarded by writers and publishers.
The Great Romantic: Cricket and the Golden Age of Neville Cardus by Duncan Hamilton shares the 2020 prize with Christopher Sandford’s The Final Innings: The Cricketers of Summer 1939.
2019 winner Geoff Lemon announced the winners for 2020, recalling how his own award had brought home to him his success in connecting with readers: “It’s a joyful thing to learn that that connection has happened, and that’s why we labour over it as writers.”
Duncan Hamilton said: “I’m also accepting this award on behalf of Neville Cardus himself. The award started in 1970 – had it started in the 1920s he would probably have won it six or seven times.”
Christopher Sandford, joining from the west coast of the United States, added: “A note of respect to all those cricketers who fought for their country, in some cases never to return, but in other cases who did gloriously return to continue this most glorious of sports.”
The resulting shortlist does, however, reflect the many ways in which modern cricket – and cricket writing – is changing.”
The 2021 shortlist reflects contemporary foci on race, gender, match-fixing and short form cricket with books about the legacy of the 1970 South Africa tour and the fates of West Indian rebels, the 2010 spot betting scandal, women’s cricket in Britain and the IPL. The recollections of an English cricketer turned commentator complete an eclectic list.
Chair of Judges Robert Winder said: “The judges were spoiled for choice this year, which means that some excellent books were, with reluctance, left out. The resulting shortlist does, however, reflect the many ways in which modern cricket – and cricket writing – is changing.”
The 2019 winner was Geoff Lemon’s Steve Smith’s Men: Behind Australian Cricket’s Fall, Hardie Grant.
- Berkmann’s Cricket Miscellany: Marcus Berkmann, Little Brown
- Alastair Cook: The Autobiography: Sir Alastair Cook with Michael Colvin, Michael Joseph
- The Great Romantic: Cricket and the Golden Age of Neville Cardus: Duncan Hamilton, Hodder and Stoughton
- Cricket Country: An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire, Prashant Kidambi, OUP
- Original Spin: Misadventures in Cricket, Vic Marks, Allen and Unwin
- The Final Innings: The Cricketers of Summer 1939, Christopher Sandford, The History Press
- A New Innings – How the IPL’s reinvention of cricket provides lessons for the business of sport: Manoj Badale and Simon Hughes, Clink Street
- The Unforgiven, Mercenaries or Missionaries?, The untold stories of the rebel West Indian cricketers who toured apartheid South Africa: Ashley Gray, Pitch Publishing
- The Thin White Line, The inside story of cricket’s greatest scandal: Nick Greenslade, Pitch Publishing
- ‘Oi Key’, Tales of a Journeyman Cricketer: Robert Key, Pen and Sword Books
- Ladies and Lords, A History of Women’s Cricket in Britain: Rafaelle Nicholson, Peter Lang
- Barbed Wire and Cucumber Sandwiches, The controversial South Africa tour of 1970: Colin Shindler, Pitch Publishing