Cricket books should meet one or more of these necessary requirements, being either literate and amusing to read, or meticulously researched, or original in concept. Tim Heald's THE CHARACTER OF CRICKET triumphantly meets all three,' said Benny Green in 1986. Nearly twenty years later, at an annual cricket dinner, Tim Heald found himself wondering about the essential characteristics of an institution that has been a defining feature of English life for the best part of two hundred years: village cricket. What exactly was it? How had it got there? Do our prejudices match the reality. To investigate the past and present of village cricket, he set off on a tour that took him from Cornwall to Lancashire, from the cradle of cricket in Kent and Sussex to Lord's itself. Tim tells the story of a match in each village he visits as a backdrop to a mix of history and anecdote about 'the grass roots'. He even returns from retirement to venture on to the field of play. The eleven that he captains against a team from his local club includes the formidable talent of two of his sons, a very modern major-general and the Bishop of Truro. Yet somehow he still ends up with dramatic bruising to his calves, chest and ego.