by Mark Peel

Published by Pitch Publishing
A2 Yeoman Gate, Yeoman Way
Worthing, Sussex BN13 3QZ


Pages: 320

MRP: £19.99

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Mark Peel has become a prolific cricket writer and one of his latest, The Hollow Crown, is an excellent book on the forty-three captains England has selected since the end of World War II.

Is the captaincy, as the saying often goes, a poisoned chalice? Times have certainly changed and nowadays the incumbent has a lot more to think about than just what happens on the pitch. Mark analyses this aspect within the book.

There have been surprisingly few books which concentrate solely on captains and yet, through autobiographies and biographies, the subject nonetheless seems to be one which is in the public conscience. I hope that I have a sound knowledge of the game and I wondered if I would learn more about the captains that I had not read previously. The answer is an unqualified yes, there being several instances and points about a few of the captains which I freely accept I had not heard of before. The Hollow Crown therefore made for a most refreshing read and it is excellent that the subject is collated within one book.

Mark details how captaincy has changed during the period which this book concentrates on. The amateur period was still prevalent during this period and this is assessed also during the Len Hutton era.

Many readers will have their favourite captains from this period and all will be found in this book alongside the legacies which they left. Many lived to great ages and many are still going strong and involved in cricket. Some had comparatively short captaincy eras, others have become names who are instantly recognisable but it is terrific to have all together between the covers of The Hollow Crown.

Due to the generosity of Pitch Publishing with their many cricket books being released this year, they are keeping me busy during the pandemic and thank you to them and Mark for that. I see that next up is Cricketing Caesar, a biography of Mike Brearley, and also written by Mark Peel. He too seems to keep himself busy.