Award News



We are pleased to announce that 'Ambassadors of Goodwill' has been shortlisted for the prestigious MCC/Cricket Society Book of the Year Award 2019.

Congratulations go out to Mark Peel, whose book on the MCC tours of 1946/47-1970/71 so impressed the judges, who described their six chosen books as offering “a vibrant mix of writing about cricketing personalities and the sport’s history.”

This year’s Chair of Judges Robert Winder said: “The range of titles under consideration, from club to country, from fiction to non-fiction, from Sydney to Swansea via Durban and Delhi – reminds us that cricket is a game that hums with fine writing.”

The full shortlist is as follows:

  • Moeen - Moeen Ali with Mihir Bose, Allen and Unwin
  • On Cricket - Mike Brearley, Constable
  • Arlott, Swanton and the Soul of English Cricket - Stephen Fay and David Kynaston, Bloomsbury
  • Steve Smith’s Men, Behind Australian Cricket’s Fall - Geoff Lemon, Hardie Grant
  • Ambassadors of Goodwill: On Tour with the MCC 1946-71 - Mark Peel, Pitch Publishing
  • England, The Biography: The Story of English Cricket - Simon Wilde, Simon and Schuster

The overall winner will be announced at an event, in the Long Room at Lord's on Tuesday 16 April 2019.

Click here for more information, or to read a sample from Ambassadors of Goodwill.

Ever since Victorian times, the MCC had embraced the amateur ideal that cricket was more than a game. It was the very essence of camaraderie and good sportsmanship. Yet for all their evangelising, the game’s privileged elite were part of the British establishment which revelled in its national prestige and imperial hegemony. And winning at cricket was essential to maintaining that stature.

Ambassadors of Goodwill assesses the MCC’s attempt to marry these conflicting objectives and foster goodwill within the Empire/Commonwealth via long, formal overseas tours. After the war, the amateur ideal suffered when Len Hutton was appointed England’s first professional captain. His uncompromising leadership brought success on the field but discord off it.

Managers were installed to restore diplomatic harmony but, with the growing upheavals of the late 60s, cricket became increasingly associated with nationality, race and professional cynicism. Ray Illingworth’s controversial win in Australia in 1970-71 clearly signalled the MCC’s waning influence.

Read Ambassadors of Goodwill and you will discover:

  • A rich vein of material recently mined from the MCC archives, which provides a fresh appraisal of postwar tours and the players involved
  • The changing nature of touring in the jet age, and its changing role
  • How the ‘goodwill’ tour of Australia 1946-47 failed to live up to expectation due to the antipathy between the captains, Don Bradman and Wally Hammond
  • The story of the ‘perfect’ South African tour of 1948-49 – sportsmanship and goodwill in abundance and two last-over wins for England in the Tests
  • How the MCC’s growing professionalism ruptured relations with host countries in the 50s
  • How the pace of Frank Tyson turned the tables on Australia in 1954-55
  • The real reasons behind Peter May’s disastrous tour to Australia in 1958-59
  • The legacy of the last amateur captains on 60s tours – Dexter, Cowdrey and Mike Smith
  • The real reason why Basil D’Oliveira wasn’t selected for South Africa in 1968-69
  • The challenges of touring the subcontinent – and how the MCC was exploited politically in Pakistan 1968-69
  • The deep rift between manager David Clark and captain Ray Illingworth in Australia 1970-71
  • A topical assessment of the ongoing debate about wives and families on tour