‘Cricket in England is held back by its own mythology’ – interview with author Duncan Stone

81 All Out  > Books, Conversation, Listen >  ‘Cricket in England is held back by its own mythology’ – interview with author Duncan Stone

In the latest episode we talk to historian and author Duncan Stone about his recent book ‘Different Class: The Untold Story of English Cricket’.

The conversation delves into the nebulous ‘Spirit of the Game’ and how it is emblematic of the fetishization of English cricket – which has turned a people’s game into a seemingly noble pursuit accessible mostly to a privileged class.

You can order the book here.

Buy Cricket Beyond the Bazaar (recently republished by 81allout)

India (hardback) | India (paperback, e-copy)

Australia (hardback, paperback, e-copy)

USA (hardback, paperback, e-copy)

UK (hardback, paperback, e-copy)

Canada (hardback, paperback, e-copy)

For the rest – please check your country-specific Amazon pages.

Talking Points:

  • The Spirit of the Game and why English cricket is its own enemy
  • The distinctly English notion that cricket is superior on a moral level
  • How the culture of English cricket was designed to be divisive
  • The enduring baggage from the amateur era of English cricket
  • The pivotal decision to take cricket off free-to-air television in 2005
  • The high entry barriers for aspiring players with no cricket background
  • What the Azeem Rafiq revelations teach us
  • The fetishization of cricket in books borne out of white male privilege
  • Outlawing of competitive cricket in the south of England for several years in the early 1900s
  • The effect of T20 and The Hundred on the landscape of English cricket


Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee)

Duncan Stone (@StoneDunk)


Books discussed:

Anyone But England – Mike Marqusee

Beyond A Boundary – CLR James

Willow Wand – Derek Birley

Cricket: a history of its growth and development: Throughout the world – Rowland Bowen


English cricket has always been a people’s game, but that’s not what the elitists will have you believe – Duncan Stone – ESPNcricinfo

Whose game is it anyway? – Neil Tague interviews Duncan Stone – Big Issue North

The class and culture war at the heart of English cricket – David Hopps – ESPNcricinfo

ECB’s South Asian Action Plan fell short – Duncan Stone – The Cricketer

Law (19.8) and Order – 81allout podcast discussing the 2019 World Cup final

Clutch, pressure, choke: the language of cricketing discourse – 81allout podcast

The toxic side to the Australian way – 81allout podcast with Jarrod Kimber

Why is there stigma involved in running out a non-striker? Because it’s all about power – Sidharth Monga – ESPNcricinfo

Spirit of Cricket & the Mankad – Pakistan Cricket Podcast

Azeem Rafiq’s testimony exposes how power works in cricket – and in Britain – Jonathan Liew – Guardian

Class and myths of English cricket – Oborne and Heller podcast with Duncan Stone

Great cricket writers – and capping the Pope – Oborne and Heller podcast with Jon Hotten and Matt Thacker


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