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Cricket Society & MCC Book of the Year Award 2021

Posted: 20 October 2021

Ashley Gray’s The Unforgiven, Mercenaries or Missionaries? The untold stories of the rebel West Indian cricketers who toured apartheid South Africa is the winner of the 2021 Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award. 

Chair of judges Robert Winder commended the book for “telling the little-known stories of a group of cricketers who truly never were forgiven their choices, in contrast to their English and Australian counterparts.” Gray, following the relaxation of travel rules from Australia, was able to attend the ceremony to accept the award in person, which took place at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Gray said: “I want to thank all the cricketers who spoke to me for this book. I hope my work has helped them to find their place in history.”

The 2020 joint winners were Duncan Hamilton’s The Great Romantic: Cricket and the Golden Age of Neville Cardus and Christopher Sandford’s The Final Innings: The Cricketers of Summer 1939.

Stephen Fay, a former editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly and a former judge of this competition, was a prolific and hugely respected author and journalist in fields including finance, the arts, and cricket.

Fay sadly passed away in 2020 and the inaugural award in his memory was presented to the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack for services to cricket publishing.

In accepting the inaugural Stephen Fay Award, Wisden Editor Lawrence Booth said: “Wisden 2021 was a slimmer edition than usual, more than 200 pages shorter in a year without much cricket. But we discovered that with cricket there is always something to write about, and we tried to make it something special.”