We are delighted to announce the republication of The Summer Game – one of the early cricket books by the journalist and historian Gideon Haigh.
First published in 1997, The Summer Game shines light on a transformational era in Australian cricket: the post-war decades between the retirement of one epochal captain – Don Bradman – and the appointment of another epochal one – Ian Chappell. Haigh charts the Australian team’s highs and lows through the 1950s and ’60s and explores the development of the game alongside the profound cultural and economic shifts in the country.
The new edition begins with a foreword by legendary Australian captain Ian Chappell. “Haigh details not only the playing heroics but also what some of the performers had to endure to just represent Australia,” says Chappell. “He delves into the character of Miller, Benaud, Neil Harvey, Arthur Morris, and many more. As a kid I watched them perform at the Adelaide Oval and read about the game as seen by Bill O’Reilly, Fingleton, and Ray Robinson. A lot of the people who feature in Haigh’s book inspired me to play the game.”
Over the years several acclaimed cricket writers have termed this a classic work of cricket literature. Back in 1997, The Australian had hailed this book as: “The best book about the game… to be published in this country for more than 30 years.” The veteran journalist Mike Coward has called the book: “… a masterly work by an exceptional writer and a fearless protector of cricket’s values and history.”
The Summer Game conjures the magnetic appeal of heroes like Harvey, Miller, and Benaud but also introduces us to enigmas such Jack ‘Wrong Grip Jake’ Iverson and opening bowler Pat Crawford – who after four Tests ‘disappeared from the face of cricket altogether.’ Many of these players may have passed on and their feats receded from memory, but their stories and triumphs live on in this timeless classic.
This republication is the third book from 81allout Publishing. In November 2021, we republished Mike Marqusee’s acclaimed book about the 1996 World Cup War Minus the Shooting. In June 2022, we republished Mike Coward’s landmark work: Cricket Beyond the Bazaar.
Book cover image: Ross Freeman/Bradman Museum
Book cover design: Vaibhav Raghunandan
Author image on book cover: Mark Ray
A note from Siddhartha Vaidyanathan and Mahesh Sethuraman:
This journey was made possible by many helping hands. A big thanks to:
Gideon Haigh for trusting us with the distribution rights; Ian Chappell for offering to write the foreword; Mike Coward and Russell Jackson for their glowing recommendations, Vaibhav Raghunandan for the splendid cover design; Mark Ray for helping us with the author photo; Hriday Balachandran for proofing the manuscript; Ashoka Rao and Deepauk Murugesan for being part of the 81allout journey; and – most importantly – all our listeners and readers who have driven us to aim higher and do better. Thank you to each and every one of you.