Everyone's image of the ideal cricket ground will be a village field, fringed by trees, the outfield dappled with clovers and buttercups, swallows flitting above… And what of all the other wildlife associated with this most natural of sports?
Only the other day Phil Tufnell, commentating remotely on the Sri Lanka series from the Oval, was musing on the comings and goings of the ground's resident foxes. At Bushy Park CC matches are frequently interrupted by incursions of deer; at Lyndhurst in the New Forest by wild ponies. At Kirkby Lonsdale CC in Cumbria the local fungus group found 20 species of waxcap on the outfield. For some reason hoopoes, spectacular orange and black crest birds from southern Europe, favour cricket grounds on their rare migrations to the UK.
This unique, funny, delightful cricket book from left field explores the relationship between cricket grounds and the natural world, from wildlife records to the Edwardian cricket writings of Edmund Blunden, and in many remarkable photos. Among the interviewees are Simon Barnes, Paul Wood of London's Street Trees, Mathew Frith of the London Wildlife Trust, Gareth Parry of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust,
Graham Coster is the publisher of Safe Haven Books, on which list quirky cricket books are a speciality. He is the author of Snow Stopped Play: The Mysterious World of the Cricket Ground in Winter and The Flying Boat That Fell to Earth (both Safe Haven).