Yorkshire Grit: The Biography of Ray Illingworth is a fascinating account of one of the most prominent figures in English cricket during the second half of the 20th century. Raised in the harsh world of Yorkshire cricket, Illingworth’s all-round ability and tactical acumen made him an indispensable member of their great sides of the 1950s and 60s. Leaving Yorkshire in 1968 because of a contractual dispute, he not only went on to captain Leicestershire to unheard of success, he also became one of England’s finest captains and the first man since Douglas Jardine to regain the Ashes in Australia nearly 40 years earlier.
Yet for all his success on the field, Illingworth’s attritional tactics, forthright views and refusal to compromise made him a controversial figure. His return to Yorkshire as manager was tainted by his clash with Geoff Boycott, while his time as England’s chairman of selectors and manager saw repeated clashes with captain Mike Atherton and other leading players.
In this first biography of Illingworth for nearly 50 years, Mark Peel reappraises a dominant personality who never shied away from controversy both in good times and bad.
After Harrow and Edinburgh where he read History, Mark Peel taught History and Politics at Fettes between 1983-2007.A keen biographer, his first book, England Expects: A Life of Ken Barrington, was published in 1992 and won the Cricket Society's Literary Award for the best cricket book of the year.He followed this with biographies of the England cricketers, Colin Milburn and Colin Cowdrey, the maverick headmaster, Anthony Chevenix Trench, the Methodist minister and pacifist, Donald Soper, and more recently the former Labour minister and co-founder of the SDP, Shirley Williams.
More about Mark Peel