THE TEAM

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CHARLIE CAMPBELL

Captain, bowler

The cricket: It is unusual in cricket for a captain to be a bowler, but Campbell has shrugged off such conventions. His fizzing inswing is a counterpoint to a general on-field diffidence only rarely interrupted by his understandable rage at fielders who have wandered out of position or who are tweeting about themselves. Always runs in hard, and due to his higher level of fitness and relative youth, finds himself carrying the Authorial attack. 


The books: Herding Cats: The Art of Amateur Cricket Captaincy has been acclaimed as the recreational game’s version of Brearley’s immortal The Art of Captaincy. Remarkably, its publication resulted in just one squad member leaving the side. Entirely unconnected to his captaincy is his other work of non-fiction, Scapegoat: A History of Blaming Other People.

Cricketer most resembled: The soft power of Brearley, the late inswing of a slightly slower Waqar.

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NICHOLAS HOGG

All-rounder

The cricket: Every team needs its Botham, its Stokes, and Hogg has filled that role for the Authors since his early years as tearaway opening bowler and buccaneering middle order batsman. Time has seen him cut down the run and switch to a mix of spin and seam, but the wickets keep on coming. Holds Authors’ all-time records with both bat and ball. No slouch, then.


The books: His three novels include Tokyo, a literary thriller under option for film, and his debut, Show Me The Sky, was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His short stories have won numerous prizes, and have been broadcast by the BBC.


Cricketer most resembled: the flaming hair and beard of Stokes, the match-changing ability of Botham.

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JON HOTTEN

Batsman, occasional bowler

The cricket: The typical Hotten innings begins slowly: he is an avid acolyte of Lara’s dictum that ‘the first hour belongs to the bowler’. It usually takes the sight of Campbell prowling the boundary and pointing at his watch to bring out a range of strokes occasionally redolent of his glory days. 


The books: His books Muscle and The Years of the Locust are currently under option for film, and his most recent, The Meaning of Cricket, appeared on several Book of the Year lists. He co-wrote the award-winning documentary Death of a Gentleman, and his collaboration with the former England bowler Simon Jones, The Test, won the Wisden Almanack's Book of the Year award in 2016. 


Cricketer most resembled: In his head, Barry Richards, in everyone else’s Chris Tavare. 

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MATT THACKER

Batting all-rounder

The cricket: Laid back off the pitch, when Thacker crosses the white line with bat in hand, battle is enjoined. He starts as he means to go on, shuffling towards the bowler as he approaches, running like a hare and then unleashing the famous Thacker drive, played slightly leaning back. With the ball he relishes the death overs, in the field he is restless and always thinking. A true man of the game.


The books: Matt is the editor of The Nightwatchman, Wisden’s quarterly journal of cricket writing, and as MD of a cricket publishing empire that includes Wisden Cricket Monthly and The Cricketers’ Who’s Who is one of the best-connected men in the game.


Cricketer most resembled: In the way his batting demands something must happen, he’s like a right-handed Stokes. With the ball, he has the classic golden arm, like a late-era Botham.

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TOM HOLLAND

Bowler

The cricket: There is something illusory about Holland’s cricket, both on the field and online. Deceptive with the ball, he can produce deliveries magical enough to dismiss Test players (Andy Caddick, just ask him), minor royalty (The Prince of Udaipur, just ask him) and many a baffled veteran/bemused teenager. His batting pivots on a single deed: a six struck almost a decade ago on the proving ground of all Englishmen, the playing fields of Eton (just ask him… if you’ve got a spare hour).


The Books: Best-selling author of Rubicon, Persian Fire, Millennium, In the Shadow of the Sword, Dynasty and, most recently, Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind, Tom has adapted Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides and Virgil for the BBC. He is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Making History and has written and presented a number of TV documentaries, on subjects ranging from Islam to dinosaurs.


Cricketer most resembled: Like his victim Caddick or Stuart Broad, a producer of deadly spells from out of nowhere.

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ANTHONY MCGOWAN

Opening batsman

The cricket: In cricket, background is everything, and McGowan’s came on the no-nonsense fields of the Yorkshire leagues, old-school games played the hard way, no quarter asked or given. A tremendous counterpoint and partner to Rich Beard, McGowan likes to take on the quick bowlers, employing his trademark cut and pull shots while eschewing a helmet in favour of an Authors cap. A legendary runner between the wickets, his anguished calling has been heard up to half a mile away.

The books: Tony crowned his career this year when Lark, the final book in his YA series The Truth of Things, won the CILIP Carnegie Medal, one of literature’s oldest and most prestigious prizes. His 40+ books cover a remarkable range: just before Lark, he published How to Teach Philosophy to Your Dog, an acclaimed guide to the great thinkers and thinking of history. 

Cricketer most resembled: Any gnarled Yorkshire pro.

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SEBASTIAN FAULKS

Batsman

The cricket: Faulks came of age as a cricketer in the age of the classical batsmanship and it shows. His technique favours the off side, always the sign of genuine class with the willow, and there are plenty of centuries in the bank – just ask and he’ll tell you. The only Authors CC member to have hit Garry Sobers for four. 


The books: His French trilogy - The Girl at the Lion d'Or, Birdsong and Charlotte Gray (1989-1997) - established him in the front rank of British novelists. His later novels include A Possible Life, Human Traces, On Green Dolphin Street, Engleby, A Week in December, Where My Heart Used to Beat and Paris Echo. Cricket sometimes features in his work, notably in his continuation of PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves series, Jeeves and the Wedding Bells, a literary link to Authors CC’s past. 


Cricketer most resembled: The brio of Dexter, the swagger of his hero Colin Milburn.

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RICHARD BEARD

Opening batsman

The cricket: ‘Interminable’ is the adjective often attached to Beard’s batting, although it comes tinged with a touch of envy at the man’s ability to produce long innings almost at will. Beard is as stylish as he is wily, and the sight of him at the crease in his Gooch-alike white helmet is deeply reassuring: a touch of certainty in a generally unpredictable team 


The books: His six novels include Acts of the Assassins, shortlisted for the Goldsmith’s Prize. His four works of non-fiction have touched on cricket and rugby, and his memoir The Day That Went Missing won the 2018 PEN Ackerley Prize and was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio. 


Cricketer most resembled: Think Mike Atherton v South Africa, but continuing for years rather than days.

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PETER FRANKOPAN

Batting all-rounder

The Cricket: Frankopan can be a game-changer, a batsman of tremendous power who once hit the ball onto the roof of the groundsman’s house on the Nursery at Lord’s. His bucket hands hold plenty of catches – never a given in Authors cricket – and his bowling, once perhaps over-hyped, is back with a vengeance in 2020, seam up from towering height. Won the unofficial single wicket championship of England on Broadhalfpenny Down, cradle of the game.


The books: The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, is an international bestseller, followed up by the acclaimed The New Silk Roads: the Present and Future of the World. Peter is Professor of Global History at Oxford University.


Cricketer most resembled: Jake Oram, Chris Cairns, James Franklin and any number of big-hitting New Zealand all-rounders.

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WILLIAM FIENNES

Batsman/wicketkeeper

The cricket: A stylist with pen, bat and gloves, Fiennes brings a supernatural elegance to everything he does. Like many keepers he can be hyper-critical of his performance, always fretting about something or another, but he has produced some stunning grabs and quicksilver stumpings. Quite simply the most photogenic of all Authors’ batsmen.


The books: An acclaimed prose stylist too, Fiennes is the author of the best-selling and prize-winning memoirs The Snow Geese and The Music Room. He is co-founder of the charity First Story, which supports creativity and literacy in schools serving low-income communities across England.


Cricketer most resembled: Bob Taylor, England’s eminence grise of the Brearley era.

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ALEX PRESTON

Batsman/wicketkeeper

The Cricket: Once set, Preston gives the ball a fierce clout and his slightly unorthodox technique makes him a hard batsman to contain when in full flow. In a side where fitness and youth are both variable and relative concepts, Preston is the team’s best fielder, covering the ground like a racehorse and running down balls that have long been given up by less mobile teammates.


The books: Alex’s three novels include In Love And War, which was selected by the BBC for Radio 4’s Book At Bedtime, and This Bleeding City, which won the Spear’s and Edinburgh Festival first book prizes. His most recent book, As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Birds and Books, is an illustrated and visually stunning exploration of birds in literature, from Ovid to Ted Hughes.


Cricketer most resembled: Those that recall Nathan Astle’s astonishing assault on England’s bowling at Christchurch in 2002 will see the echo in Preston’s ability to strike the ball cleanly and often. 

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JAMES HOLLAND

All-rounder

 The cricket: Holland is not nicknamed ‘Biggles’ for nothing. There is something of the eternal Englishman about his game: an upright, technically correct batsman who likes to score quickly, a cherubic smile belying a fierce competitor. He will stick his hand up to bowl in the toughest moments, and is patently in love with the game.


The books: James is the author of a number of best-selling histories including Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege, Battle of Britain, Dam Busters, and most recently, The War in the West. He has also written nine works of historical fiction, including the Jack Tanner novels. He is a television writer and presenter, and also Chair of the Chalke Valley History Festival.

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JONATHAN WILSON

Spinner, batsman

The cricket: A mass of contradictions, Wilson is the Authors fittest player and also its most injury prone. Currently making a return from shoulder surgery, his dedication to practice has seen him step up the batting order to become a useful, brave opener who can score at a clip. Once he can bowl again, his Spedegue-style lobs echo an earlier age.


The books: Jonathan’s revolutionary book on football tactics, Inverting The Pyramid, has become one of the most acclaimed and influential sports books of recent years. His others include the dazzling history of Argentinian football, Angels With Dirty Faces. He is the founder and editor of The Blizzard. He was named FSF Football Writer of the Year in 2012.

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ADAM RUTHERFORD

Batsman/wicketkeeper

The cricket: Rutherford’s return to the game has been relatively recent but he quickly found his feet behind the stumps, where plenty of wry asides accompanied some sharp glovework. And finally the team have someone prepared to argue with Tom Holland on the longer journeys to games. An essential addition.


The books: A science writer and broadcaster, Adam presents BBC Radio 4’s weekly programme Inside Science, and with Hannah Fry, the Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry. His most recent book, How to Argue with a Racist, is a Sunday Times bestseller.  


Cricketer most resembled: The classic county stumper… think Bruce French to James Foster.

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BEN FALK

All-rounder

The Cricket: Any Authors side is better with the man nicknamed Jammo in it. His darting off-breaks often make him one of the quicker bowlers in the side despite his insistence that he is bowling spin, but he takes bags of wickets and backs that up with some classy middle-order hitting of the left-handed variety.


The books: Ben is an entertainment journalist and author of two books, biographies of Robert Downey Jr and Brian Cox.


Cricketer most resembled: his hero Graham Thorpe. 

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LAURA JEFFREY

Scorer

The cricket: The Authors would not function without Jeffrey. It is a game based on numbers and described by stats and for the Authors she is the keeper of all of these things. Ruthlessly and effortlessly organised, Laura has bailed out many a day on tour, and on the few occasions she has been persuaded to take the field has yet to be dismissed.


The books: The only one that really counts – and certainly the one examined most avidly by all other team members - the scorebook.


Cricketer most resembled: above all that. 

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ANDY ZALTZMAN

Batting all-rounder

The cricket: As in life so in cricket, Zaltzman is a polymath, an elegant left-hander with all the shots and a quite remarkable bowler who delivered one of the most famous overs in Authors history, when, at Wormsley, he used all four actions: right arm and left arm over and around the wicket, producing spin and medium pace with both arms, and an impersonation of Bob Willis. 


The books: Writer, comedian and scorer, Andy’s career has taken in stand-up at the Edinburgh Fringe, an acclaimed satirical partnership with John Oliver which yielded the Radio 4 show Political Animal and a hit podcast,The Bugle, the hugely popular touring show Satirist For Hire, and writing and performing for television and radio across the world. He is currently, with Andrew Sampson, Test Match Special’s on-air statistician. He has published one book to date, 2008’s Does Anything Eat Bankers?


Cricketer Most Resembled: The late, great Willis – in the hair department at least…

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DANIEL NORCROSS

Batsman, specialist slip

The cricket: A throwback to the Golden Age, Norcross, like one of his cricketing heroes Douglas Jardine, is immovable once set, yet underneath the stickability lies an elegant, classical stroke maker. From slip he will provide entertainingly distracting commentary – sometimes even on the cricket.


The books: Dan established the alternative cricket commentary outlet Test Match Sofa, a renegade endeavour the popularity of which led to him joining the mother ship, Test Match Special in 2016. He has been called ‘the most interesting commentator of the new generation’ and, in the ultimate accolade, compared to John Arlott for his perspective on the game. He is the editor of The 48, a book about the Surrey cricketers lost in World War I.  


Cricketer most resembled: Trevor Bailey

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AMOL RAJAN

Batting all-rounder

The cricket: Bullish and belligerent with the bat, Rajan relishes the fight, always happiest if he is at the centre of the action. Once he’s set, the scoreboard keeps moving and the chat is non-stop. He is restless in the field, and if called on with the ball can produce some jagging seamers.


The books: Amol published Twirlymen, a quirky history of spinners and spin bowling, in 2011. He became the first non-white editor of a British national newspaper when he was appointed to The Independent in 2013, and went on to become the BBC’s first Media Editor in 2016. He has proven a popular presenter on both television and radio, including appearances on The One Show for BBC1 and The Media Show for Radio 4.


Cricketer most resembled: the competitive bravado of a Stokes or a Warner.

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CHARLES CUMMING

Middle order batsman

The cricket: A new-ish recruit to the Authors’ ranks, Cumming is a rangy hitter who, once set, can cause plenty of destruction, as he did during a memorable debut knock at Ascott House. 


The books: Charles is the author of nine acclaimed spy novels, and his work has been translated into fourteen languages. His titles include the Thomas Kell trilogy and the best-selling The Trinity Six and The Man Between. His next book, Box 88, will be published in October 2020. He is a trustee of the Pierce Loughran Memorial Scholarship Fund. 


Cricketer Most Resembled: Tony Greig

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ANDREW LYCETT

Wicketkeeper

The cricket: The Authors are not the easiest team to keep to, but Lycett has pulled off some lightning stumpings and terrific catches, as well as displaying considerable physical courage in standing up to the stumps on some of the more unpredictable tracks the British climate throws up.


The books: Andrew is the acclaimed biographer of Rudyard Kipling, Dylan Thomas, Wilkie Collins and Arthur Conan Doyle, and has written the definitive life of James Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Geographical Society. 


Cricketer most resembled: The great Northamptonshire stumper Keith Andrew. 

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DAVID OWEN

Opening bat

The cricket: Owen is proof of that old maxim that class is permanent. His cricket career has been long and varied, and his sumptuous straight hitting made him an immediate Authors’ favourite following his debut in 2014. Has forged fine partnerships with both Rich Beard and Tony McGowan at the top of the order.


The books: David is the author of Foinavon: The Story of the Grand National’s Biggest Upset, Thomi Keller: A Life In Sport and his book of cricket stories, Rain Starts Play. He worked for the Financial Times for 20 years, as a correspondent in the USA, Canada, France and the UK before becoming Sports Editor. He is currently Chief Columnist at Inside The Games. 


Cricketer most resembled: shades of the great New Zealander Glenn Turner

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KAMILA SHAMSIE

Lower order bat

The cricket: Shamsie’s two on-field appearances for the Authors have become the stuff of legend, and provided the material for her speech at the Wisden Almanack Dinner in the Lord’s Long Room in 2016. If elegance could be noted in the scorebook then she would have filled it – Shamsie was slightly shorter on runs, as her splendidly self-deprecating speech revealed.


The books: Kamila’s seven novels include In the City By the Sea, published when she was 25 and for which she received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literature in Pakistan, A God In Every Stone, and Home Fire, which won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2018. She was included on Granta’s list of 20 Best Young British Writers in 2013 and is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Cricketer most resembled: Haven’t quite seen enough of her to know…

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MATTHEW PARKER

Opening bowler

The cricket: At his best with the new cherry, Parker can be relentless, ducking the ball back in at the batter and often generating some steepling bounce. Few are the Authors players who’ve not had their knuckles rapped by Parker at pre-season nets. His appearances have been limited in recent seasons, but he has been a stalwart of the traditional curtain raiser in Victoria Park, where he is known for producing the most lavish of teas from out of nowhere.


The books: Matthew’s works of historical non-fiction run the gamut from European colonisation to James Bond’s Jamaican roots. They include The Sugar Barons, which was an Economist Book of the Year, Willoughbyland: England’s Lost Colony, and Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born, which was nominated for an Edgar Award in 2016. 


Cricketer most resembled: In his wiry approach and whir of an action, a cross between Damian Fleming and Max Walker.

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MIRZA WAHEED

Mystery spinner

The Cricket: Waheed is not called the ‘magic man’ for nothing: he bowls a batsman-bewildering mix of wrist and finger spin that owes much to his early cricket in Kashmir. A typical over will be bursting with ideas and variation, and his shift-up quicker ball rockets down at twice the pace of anything else. Has produced many a stump-shattering spell for the Authors, including a memorable outing on the Nursery at Lord’s.


The books: Waheed’s three novels include The Collaborator, shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, The Book of Gold Leaves, shortlisted for the DSC Prize for Asian Literature, and Tell Her Everything, which won the Hindu Prize in 2019.


Cricketer most resembled: In being a leggie who so often moves the ball in, Imran Tahir

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VASEEM KHAN

Opening bat

The cricket: A rugged, no-nonsense opener who plays with a Robin Smith-like power off the back foot, Khan’s cricket bears the mark of the tough Essex leagues in which he still frequents. His technique and temperament have been a welcome addition to the Authors’ ranks over the past couple of seasons.


The books: Vas is the author of the popular crime series The Baby Ganesh Detective Agency featuring the retired Mumbai police inspector Ashwin Chopra and his sidekick, a baby elephant called Ganesha. The first book in the series, The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra, became a Top 10 bestseller, and another four titles have followed. 


Cricketer most resembled: The aforementioned Robin Smith, with hints of Dhoni’s whirring back cut. 

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CHRISTOPHER DE BELLAIGUE

Batting all-rounder

The cricket: Another of the Authors’ more recent squad members, Christopher is a stylish bat with a rapidly expanding game. With (relative) youth on his side, his fleet-footed fielding has been a boon, too, and he can bowl some lively swing when called upon.


The books: Christopher’s four works of non-fiction include his 2004 debut In the Rose Garden of Martyrs, which was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize, and The Islamic Enlightenment, published in 2017 and shortlisted for both the Baillie Gifford Prize and the Orwell Prize. He has contributed to the New York Review of Books, Granta, the Guardian, Prospect, Harper’s and The New Yorker from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Armenia and Turkey, and made documentaries for the BBC on Egypt and Tunisia. 

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CHRIS HEMMINGS

All-rounder

The cricket: Once a fast bowler on Lancashire’s books, a back injury meant that Hemmings turned to spin, which is sent down with a fast bowler’s attitude, and to the bat, which is perhaps where his future as a cricketer lies. He is a magnificent striker of the ball, as his maiden Authors fifty, from 23 deliveries, showed. He is brilliant in the field too, clinging on to some outrageous catches.


The books: Chris is the author of Be a Man: How Macho Culture Damages Us and How to Escape It, an acclaimed re-evaluation of modern masculinity. He is a journalist and public speaker focusing on masculinity and empathy, and is about to begin work on his second book. 

Cricketer most resembled: With the spin, the pure striking and the hair – Graeme Swann.

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ANDREW DUFF

Slow Left Armer; lower order bat

The cricket: Duff’s graceful action and lively spin brings to mind the impish Tufnell, offering both variety and some unpredictable brilliance. Has been unfortunate with injury over the past couple of seasons, and the Authors look forward to welcoming him back to their spin bowling ranks.


The books: Andrew’s first book is Sikkim: Requiem For a Himalayan Kingdom. His writing has appeared in The Times, the Financial Times, the Sunday Telegraph and The Times of India. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. 


Cricketer most resembled: A touch of ‘Deadly’ Derek Underwood in the sweep of his bowling arm.

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SAM CARTER

Opening bat; off spin

The cricket: The Authors needed a rock during the early seasons of their reformation, and that rock was Sam Carter, an opening batsman of high class, a sumptuous shot maker with the no-nonsense temperament of a league cricketer. Carter helped to toughen the side up and shone a light on the path ahead, and his appearances now, although less frequent, often prove decisive.  


The books: Sam is an Editorial Director at Oneworld Publishing, a company which can boast back-to-back Booker Prize wins (with Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings in 2016 and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout a year later) and, prior to that, with Biteback and Old Street, where he edited the likes of Anthony Seldon and Sandy Toksvig. 


Cricketer most resembled: The timeless elegance of ER Dexter.

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TIM BEARD

All-rounder

The cricket: ‘The Doc’ offers a bruising power with the bat, his beefy stroke play careening the game along, while his wily spin weaves a wicked web – most famously when he appeared against the Authors and picked up five scalps, a feat he very rarely mentions.


The books: Tim’s poetry has appeared in The Nightwatchman, the New European, the NHS’ Poems In the Waiting Roomseries and has been anthologized by The Templar Press. He is a French teacher who also coaches cricket. 


Cricketer most resembled: All the swagger of Samit Patel.

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WILL BURNS

Opening bowler

The cricket: Rolling in from his distant approach, Burns generates momentum through the crease and pace from the wicket, a seamer in the grand tradition of Fraser, Bicknell, Pringle and any number of classically English fast-medium bowlers. Knows how to thwack it with the bat, too.


The books: Will was one of Faber’s four New Poets for 2014, going on to publish several pamphlets and then his first full collection, Country Music, in 2020. He has collaborated with the musician Hannah Peel on Chalk Hill Blue, an album that set his poems to music. Their national tour was completed by a sell-out show at London’s Barbican. 


Cricketer most resembled: The beefiness of Botham, the willingness of Bicknell. 

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OLLIE CRASKE

Batting all-rounder

The Cricket: Craske is a neat, incisive cricketer with the nous to build an innings and allow time for his more expansive shots. With the ball, he generates genuine swing, and is sharp in the field, too. 


The books: Ollie’s biography of Ravi Shankar, Indian Sun, was published on the celebrated musician’s centenary in 2020 to huge acclaim. He first met Shankar in 1994, and collaborated with him on his autobiography Raga Mala. As an editor he has worked on titles by, among many others, David Bowie and George Martin.


Cricketer most resembled: A hint of Tim Murtagh.

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JONATHAN BECKMAN

Medium pace bowler

The cricket: A first sight of Beckman with ball in hand can transport the watcher back to cricket’s Golden Age: there’s more than a touch of Spedegue, but also some of the deadliness of later exponents like Derek Shackleton. Many an over-confident batsman has fallen for his wiles. 


The books: Jonathan is the author of How to Ruin a Queen: Marie Antoinette, the Stolen Diamonds and the Scandal that Shook the French Throne, which won a Somerset Maughan Award and the Royal Society for Literature/Jerwood Award for non-fiction. He is the deputy editor of 1843 magazine and a contributing editor for Literary Review. 


Cricketer most resembled:  the aforementioned Shackleton.

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DAVID GOODHART

Batsman

The cricket: Another of the team’s newer recruits, Goodhart has impressed with a solid, well-honed technique with the bat and excellent hands in the field. Opportunities have been fleeting so far, but there is plenty more to come. 


The books: David’s titles include the best-selling Road To Somewhere, about the rise of populism, and 2020’s Head, Hand and Heart: The Struggle For Dignity and Status in the 21st Century. He is the founder of Prospect magazine, a former director of the think tank Demos and is now Head of the Demography, Immigration and Integration Unit at the Policy Exchange. 

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STEVE CANNANE

Opening bowler

The cricket: Larrikin Aussie Cannane made an instant impact with the length of his run – think DK Lillee in his awesome prime – and his fire with ball in hand. He has the Australian fast bowler’s sense of theatre and the traditional two lengths: stump shattering and halfway down. Famously took a wicket with his final Authors delivery before his career took him back down under, where he awaits the first Authors’ Ashes tour.


The books: Steve is the author of First Tests: Great Australian Cricketers and the Backyards that Made Them, an intriguing study of the early environments of cricketing greats, and Fair Game, a ground-breaking expose of the Church of Scientology in Australia. At Triple J radio he won Australia’s highest journalistic honour, a Walkley, for his broadcast interviews, and now works as a reporter with ABC’s Investigations Unit. 


Cricketer most resembled: Any Aussie quick…

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WILL SUTTON

Opening batsman

The cricket: Tall and correct, distinguished and old-school, but don’t be fooled by looks… Sutton’s appearances for the Authors, usually two or three per year, are all-action affairs. He loves nothing more than planting the oppo fast men back over their heads, and his last-ball six to tie the traditional solstice game with Avebury remains one of the Authors’ more legendary moments…


The books:  Will is the author of the Campbell Lawless series of Victorian mystery novels. The first of those, Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square, was hailed for its original spin on the genre, and subsequent titles Lawless and the Flowers of Sin and Lawless and the House of Electricity, have appeared as books of the year in publications as diverse as the Daily Mail and the Morning Star. Will is also a musician and playwright and once acted in The Warp, the world’s longest play. 


Cricketer most resembled: Alex Hales (with bat in hand only…)

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JONNO SUTTON

All-rounder

The cricket: Brother of Will, the family resemblance, in cricketing terms, is strong with the bat – Jonno’s shot-making usually comes further down the order and thus is even more quickly into his stride – and not so strong with the ball. Big and brawny, foot scraping the ground like a cornered bull as he launches into his run, he is a fearsome sight as he tilts towards the batsman. Avebury evidently holds some magic for the family, as Jonno once took the first six wickets to fall there.


The books: Jonno is Professor of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University in Sydney. His work centres on the philosophy of mind, cognition, and action, in cognitive psychology, and in the interdisciplinary cognitive humanities. He is the author or co-author of four books, including 2018’s Collaborative Remembering.


Cricketer most resembled: The young Shane Watson.

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NGAYU THAIRU

Photographer/fast bowler

The cricket: Before turning to his camera for the remarkable series of pictures that capture the Authors in their first post-reformation season of 2012, Thairu was a slingy, surprisingly quick bowler, a role he reprised on the subsequent Authors tour of India. There he received the most-counter-intuitive and therefore greatest Authors’ nickname, ‘Cleesey’, after an alleged resemblance to John Cleese. 


The books: Ngayu is currently Resident Doctor at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi. 


Cricketer most resembled: John Cleese (obv).

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JOHN BETTS

Umpire

The cricket: Evidence of Betts’ supreme impartiality (and excellent judgement) comes from the sheer number of Authors batsmen he has given out over the years. Yet in club cricket the role of the umpire extends far beyond ball-by-ball officiating, and John has become a much valued member of the squad, marshalling cricket and cricketers with a goodwill and good humour that means the fabled ‘Spirit of Cricket’ is actually in place when we play.


The books: There can be only one: The Laws of Cricket, first encoded in 1744.

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DIGVIJAY KATHIWADA

Batting all-rounder

The cricket: Compact like Tendulkar, as fleet-footed as Dhoni and with all of Dravid’s straight-batted certainty, Kathiwada’s game bears the imprint of the Mumbai maidans and he has enhanced the Authors’ batting on his regular summer trips to England. Has also been key to the side’s two successful India tours.


The books: Diggy manages the Kathiwada Estate portfolio, developing its business across the tourism, agriculture and philanthropy sectors. He has co-founded three sustainable clothing brands with his wife Swati, and is the principal trustee of the Kathiwada Foundation, which works to positively impact the lives of those in the Kathiwada region.


Cricketer most resembled: As mentioned above.

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TRISTAN JONES

Bowler (that bats)

The cricket: Jones is that rare cricketing thing – the left arm over bowler with an ability to swing the ball. When he gets it right, he can produce a match-turning spell. For many seasons he held the remarkable record of never having scored a run in Authors colours (partly down to his generosity in always batting at eleven), until, gloriously, in 2020 he went in at number three, struck a four through cover on the up and went on to a very presentable 14 that suggests he’s unlikely to remain at last drop for another eight years.


The books: Tristan has worked as an editor at Penguin Random House, where he published books by at least two of his current team-mates, and now undertakes editorial work on a freelance basis.  


Cricketer most resembled: Ryan Sidebottom minus the hair and the run-up. 

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TOM PENN

Bowler

The cricket: Penn is one of the original eleven that took the field in the Authors’ very first post-reformation game in 2012, on one of the artificial strips in London’s Victoria Park. There, on a brisk day of rain and wind-chill, he sustained the Authors’ first post-reformation injury when a ball took a nasty bounce from the edge of the wicket. Penn fought on, establishing the spirit that the Authors would need to draw on in those early days. Made a welcome return to the ranks in 2020. 


The books: Tom is the author of Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England, which won the HW Fisher Prize and which he adapted for a BBC documentary, and The Brothers York: An  English Tragedy. He has also written Edward V: The May King for the Penguin Monarchs series for children. He is Editorial Director at Penguin Press.


Cricketer most resembled: The doughty Collingwood. 

Others who have played for us include: Sam Perry, Ed Smith, Gideon Haigh, Ed Caesar, Peter Oborne, Phil Walker, Jo Harman, Tom Eadon, Charlie Smith, Rob Hortle and Saadi Chowdhury.