Jim Laker: Nineteen for Ninety
By: Brian Scovell (author)Hardback
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Jim Laker will always be remembered for his bowling in the Test match at Old Trafford in 1956, when he took 19 Australian wickets for 90, 9 for 37 in the first innings and 10 for 53 in the second. No other bowler has taken more than seventeen wickets in a first-class match, let alone in a Test match. On this, the 50th anniversary of that tremendous achievement, Brain Scovell looks back on the life of the man and is assisted in this review by Jim's wife and Surrey CCC. Perhaps the greatest spin bowler ever to play for England, Laker was born and raised in Yorkshire and following the Second World War joined Surrey. In the following years Laker formed a deadly spin attack (with spinner Tony Lock) as Surrey won the County Championship for seven consecutive seasons. Off the field, Laker found himself in conflict with authority and his apparent unwillingness to play when his oft-injured finger caused him problems meant he was not selected for a number of tours.
Things came to a head when a badly ghost-written book "Over To Me", was published and the authorities at Lord's and The Oval withdrew his honorary membership of MCC and Surrey, although these were restored some years later, and at the time of his death he was Chairman of Surrey's cricket committee. He moved into television after giving up cricket and the measured Yorkshire tones of Jim Laker became synonymous with English summer days from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s. Jim Laker died in 1986, aged 64. The first new book to be written on the man for over eight years, it is a volume that in the first instance will commemorate the 1956 achievement and in the next will re-evaluate the reasons for his name being much maligned in the early 1960s.
Brian Scovell is currently a freelance journalist, but has written for the Daily Mail, Evening Standard and Sunday Telegraph on both football and cricket for more than forty years. He has written 18 sports book in the past, including bestsellers on Dickie Bird, Trevor Brooking and Lawrie McMenemy.
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