England's back-to-back Ashes victories, coupled with winning the 2010 World Twenty20, might give the impression that all is well in English cricket. But behind the headlines is another story: that of a county game struggling to cope with unprecedented levels of debt, a decline in membership and attendances, and the demands on players and spectators of an unsustainable fixture schedule. As a member of the ECB's Board of Directors admitted, 'English cricket is at something of a crossroads.'
In this new book, Graeme Wright, a former editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and author of Betrayal: The Struggle for Cricket's Soul, takes to the road to speak to those at the coalface of English county cricket. What he discovers there is not just a sport in crisis, but 18 complex organisations coming to terms with the reality of an ever-changing commercial world.
And yet, perhaps surprisingly, he finds himself buoyed by a feeling of optimism. As the counties reposition their roles, not just in cricket but also within their local communities, there is something new and hopeful on the horizon. As Wright explores the world behind the boundary, he finds himself taking an affectionate - though not uncritical - look at England itself, as well as the best-loved game at its heart.