Past winner Chris Waters challenges Kevin Pietersen for Cricket Society-MCC Book of the Year award

Given that it is seemingly impossible to keep him out of the news, it probably comes as no surprise that the shortlist for the 2015 Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award contains two books about Kevin Pietersen.

His own, highly controversial autobiography KP is one. The other is journalist Simon Wilde’s excellent and rather more balanced portrait, simply entitled: On Pietersen.
Challenging those two titles for the £3,000 first prize will be Chris Waters, who is seeking to win the award for a second time with 10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket's Greatest Bowling Feat.  The Yorkshire Post cricket writer won in 2012 with Fred Trueman: The Authorised Biography.

Were 10 for 10 to emerge as the judges' choice there would be echoes of the 1986 success enjoyed by Alan Hill with Hedley Verity: A Portrait of a Cricketer.

Also on the shortlist are Christopher Sandford's poignant work The Final Over: The Cricketers of Summer 1914, which looks at the impact of the First World War on the game as a whole and for the individual players who went to fight.

From a longlist of 16, Dan Waddell makes the cut with Field of Shadows: The English Cricket Tour of Nazi Germany 1937, as does Peter Oborne's splendid Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan.

Chair of judges Vic Marks said: “There are some good books here and my panel of wise judges will have much to discuss at our final meeting. It will be a lot closer than England’s matches at the recent World Cup. I am sure we will settle on a worthy winner."

The competition, run by the Cricket Society since 1970 and in partnership with MCC since 2009, is for books nominated by MCC and Cricket Society Members, and is highly regarded by writers and publishers. Last year’s winner was debutant cricket author and political editor of The Economist, James Astill, for his book about Indian cricket in a wider national context - The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India. Australian Gideon Haigh won in 2013 for On Warne, his book about Shane Warne.

The £3,000 prize for the winner, and certificates for all the shortlisted books, will be presented at an awards evening in the Long Room at Lord’s on Tuesday May 12.

The six books on the shortlist (alphabetically by author):

The other ten books considered (alphabetically by author) were:
Hubert Doggart's Cricket's Bounty (Phillimore)
Bill Francis’s Cricket’s Mystery Man, The Story of Sydney Gordon Smith (via Ronald Cardwell)
David Frith's Frith's Encounters (Von Krumm Publishing)
Pete Langman’s The Country House Cricketer (Marvelhouse Words; all profits to Parkinson’s research)
Antony Littlewood’s W.E. Astill (ACS)
Andrew Murtagh's Touched by Greatness: the story of Tom Graveney (Pitch Publishing)
Roger Packham, Nicholas Sharp, Phil Barnes and Jon Filby’s A Pictorial History of Sussex County Cricket Club (Sussex CCC)
Scott Reeves’s The Champion Band: The First English Cricket Tour (Chequered Flag Publishing)
Andrew Renshaw’s Wisden on the Great War: The Lives of cricket’s fallen 1914-1918 (Bloomsbury)
James Wilson’s Court and Bowled: Tales of Cricket and the Law (Wildy and Sons Ltd)

In addition to Vic Marks, the other judges are David Kynaston and Stephen Fay for the MCC,  John Symons and Chris Lowe for the Cricket Society.



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