Book Launch with Barry Richards The World on Tour – The Untold Story of Cricket’s World X1

15/12/11 Category: Blog, Events, News Posted by:

The Australian Cricket Society (NSW) Incorporated and The Cricket Publishing Company are delighted to host on Wednesday 14 December 2011 at 6.30pm in the Members Stand at the Sydney Cricket Ground the launch of a book titled The World on Tour – The Untold Story of Cricket’s World X1 by Stephen Walters.

Barry Richards has written the foreword for the book and been invited to Australian by the hosts to launch the book. Barry Richards is eminently qualified to launch the book as he participated in many games for World X1’s.

The book is the story of the Commonwealth X1 and World X1 teams that played from 1945 to 2006. During this time the world’s best cricketers were able to display their cricket skills against teams from England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies, India, Pakistan and Ceylon. The various tour sponsors were able to keep cricket alive in the main cricket countries of the world. This was when tours to those countries were not as regular as would have been the preference of both players and cricket authorities.

The story of these tours, ably recounted by Stephen Walters – The Chief Economist for J P Morgan, a Wall Street Investment Bank – will allow the reader to learn much from a time when the development of cricket was important in many cricket playing countries of the world.

A feature of the book launch is that a number of players who played with an against World X1 teams will be present at the launch. They will be interviewed by Mike Coward and Ronald Cardwell about their experiences.

Those attending include:

  • Peter Philpott (Australia)
  • John Benaud (Australia)
  • John Reid (New Zealand)
  • Barry Richards (South Africa)
  • Bill Playle (New Zealand)
  • Hugh Martin (NSW)
  • Barry Knight (England)
  • Ian Davis (Australia)
  • Grahame Thomas (Australia)

In his foreword to the book Barry Richards says, “Playing for World XIs formed a very special part of my long playing career, especially after South Africa, the country of my birth, was isolated from international sport. I had played just four official Test matches by the time we were exiled. After that, playing for World XIs became an important avenue for me and my contemporaries in South Africa to play top level cricket again. I treasured the opportunity to test myself against the best players around.

Indeed, I have very fond memories of playing in these fixtures, but World XIs have had an unusually ambivalent reception from cricket historians. To be fair, the World XI, often sponsored privately, never had a Board to push its case. All other countries had people keen to promote their country’s cricketers. The World XI, though, with its colorful mixture of players from different backgrounds and countries, has been left to linger on the outskirts of cricket history.
It is such a pity, for many of the teams had awesome talent – undoubtedly, the best players of their time played for the various World XIs. To say the records from these many dozens matches are superfluous and, indeed, in many cases go unrecorded, even by Wisden, is a slap in the face to all those who took part. They deserve better.

I played for two seasons in World Series Cricket, Packer’s rebel cricket competition in the late 1970s. WSC, of course, included a powerful World XI, but Packer’s competition still very much is a topic of controversy even these days, more than 30 years on. Although not recognized as “official” cricket by the statisticians, the WSC Supertests were the hardest games I ever played. I’m sure if you ask anyone involved, they would say the same.”

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