Cricket Australia’s Ashes Handbook

It was after Australia’s first win on English soil, in 1882, in the ninth meeting between the two countries, that the term ‘the ashes’ was used.
The result of the match was described as the greatest cricketing shock in England’s history. A few days after the match, a ‘fake’ obituary was printed in the Sproting Times, an English newspaper. A footnote at the bottom suggested ‘the body’ of English cricket ‘be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia’.
Before leaving England for the 1882-83 tour to Australia, England’s captain, Ivo Bligh, promised to bring back the ‘Ashes of English cricket’. He repeated his pledge on reaching Australia, and explained it to confused Aussies who had never read the Sporting Times. ‘The Ashes’ became part of the ‘talk’ about the tour.

Cricket Australia’s Ashes Handbook is subtitled ‘The Ultimate Guide for Young Cricketers’. And it’s full of facts and figures, perfect for the young cricket-lover. It begins with a history of the Ashes competition and highlights particularly memorable games. Then there are statistics, a favourite part of cricket. Highest scorers, best bowlers, heroes of the form are mentioned, and there’s plenty of trivia too. Then it’s down to business. Who will be picked in the team for this year? Some of the likely contenders are profiled and the reader is offered the opportunity to do their own selecting. There’s a schedule for all the games, and places to record the outcomes, wickets and scorers. And just to check you’ve been listening/reading, there’s a quiz. How much do you know about the Ashes? Ashes Handbook finishes up with pages to record your own cricketing statistics and resources for discovering more about cricket.

Perfect for cricket fans keen to keep track of the summer’s traditional game. Light enough to carry in your backpack.

Cricket Australia’s Ashes Handbook, John Origlasso,
Scholastic 2010
ISBN: 9781741697810

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author