This Saturday, 25 June, will see a grand event at the Suffolk Anthology bookshop in Cheltenham. David Battersby, author of In the Shadow of Packer, will be in the shop from 11-12 and 2-3pm, signing books and chatting with cricket fans. There’s also a signed limited-edition booklet available!
In the Shadow of Packer is David’s gripping story of England's 1977/78 winter tour of Pakistan and New Zealand, which coincided with the revolutionary first season of World Series Cricket.
It’s a tumultuous tale, taking in coups, riots and controversies, landmark losses and the rise of future stars under the stuttering leadership of Geoff Boycott.
Take a step back in time to 1977 – to the days of punk rock, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and a winter tour that was historic for so many diverse and unpredictable reasons…
• The inaugural season of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket coincides with the tour. Ex-England skipper Tony Greig along with Dennis Amiss, Bob Woolmer, Alan Knott and Derek Underwood sign up and play for Packer.
• Promising 21-year-old all-rounder, Ian Botham, is included in an overseas Tour party for the first time. Botham scores his maiden Test century, in the second Test in Christchurch, New Zealand.
• The Tour squad includes uncapped players, future England captain Mike Gatting and future England Managing Director, wicket-keeper Paul Downton.
• Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party wins the General Election. Rioting erupts after allegations of vote-rigging. General Zia Ul-Haq stages a military coup and seizes power.
• Rioting seriously disrupts the first Test in Lahore. After an appearance by Bhutto’s wife, Nusrat, and daughter, Benazir, the third day is abandoned early and puts the tour into jeopardy.
• The Lahore Test would see Pakistan’s Mudassar Nazar record the slowest ever Test century, a record that still stands to this day. His century was reached in 557 minutes off 419 balls.
• With Mike Brearley injured and homward bound, Geoffrey Boycott captains England for the first time in the Third Test in Karachi and for the rest of the Tour
• The book includes the story of how New Zealand historically record their first ever Test victory over England in the first Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Click here for more information, or to read a sample from In the Shadow of Packer.