There are few men alive who have been as involved in English cricket as extensively and for as long as Micky Stewart. Now at last, in this book, he shares his reflections on his time in the game and on the changes he has lived through.
He is one of the last survivors of the Surrey side who won the championship in seven successive summers in the 1950s. He was a fine opening batsman and a brilliant close catcher, who fielded on uncovered pitches to the best bowling attack in the history of the county game.
He played football for England at amateur level, then for Charlton Athletic in the old Division One. In 1956 he was selected to represent Great Britain in the Melbourne Olympics but, alas, fell foul of the hypocrisy of the time.
His brief career as an England cricketer included one of the great Test matches of all time and a bizarre tour of India beset by illness and injury.
He was Surrey captain through most of the 1960s when so much began to change in the English game: the beginning of limited-over cricket, the abolition of amateurs and professionals, and the introduction of overseas players.
As England manager, after enjoying Ashes success in Australia, he endured two years of hell – from a major row over umpiring in Pakistan to a summer in which England got through four captains – before combining with Graham Gooch to set England on a course of greater teamwork and fitness which continues to this day.
His son Alec made his debut for both Surrey and England when Micky was manager, going on to become England’s most capped Test cricketer.
Through it all, Micky has remained true to the values that his father, a professional gambler, drilled into him: enjoy what you do in life, always aim to be the best and, above all, be honest.
As he approaches his eightieth birthday, Micky is still young at heart, still looking to the future, still passionate about the game of cricket. He is not nostalgic for his past, which allows him to share his memories in a way that will appeal to young and old alike.