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"Lord, I don't ask that I should win, but please, please don't let me finish behind Akabusi."

Innocent Egbunike's prayer at the 1988 Olympics

Fred Trueman

Fred Trueman was a legend of the game of cricket, the first bowler to take 300 test wickets.

A new biography of Fred Trueman* has won both the Wisden Book of the Year 2012 and The Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year 2012, the only book ever to have won both awards. In addition, it is shortlisted for both Cricket Book of the Year and New Writer of the Year at the British Sports Book Awards 2012.

The book documents the career and later life of FS Trueman, including the importance of his Christian faith in later life.

Fred famously fell out with Geoff Boycott with the pair not speaking for years. When Boycott developed cancer, Trueman started to pray for him and ultimately picked up the telephone one day and resumed contact.

The book says: “In his last hours, Trueman was fortified by those he loved and his faith in God. The man who couldn’t face the death of his own relatives, who couldn’t physically place his Yorkshire cap on top of his father’s coffin because he was too upset, himself passed away with dignity and courage. ‘Fred knew he was dying, his family knew he was dying and I knew he was dying,’ said Reverend Ward. ‘But he was prepared to accept that the God who’d been good to him in life wouldn’t desert him in his hour of need. In his final hours, Fred was brave and didn’t go to pieces as some people do. He held himself together extremely well.’

“At his funeral Canon Ward said: ‘Little did I think that I would find myself where I stand today. Nor where I stood last Friday night as I said prayers by his hospital bedside and talked to him about the God who promises an end to pain and the drying of tears, a God who makes all things new. A God whom Fred recognised as good, and who would not let him down in his hour of need. A God who has a safer pair of hands than did David Sheppard. And when I said that, I’d like to think I saw him smile.’”

Read my review

*Fred Trueman, The authorized biography, Chris Waters, London, Aurum, 2011, ISBN 978 184513 453 2. The paperback edition is published in June 2012 at £8.99

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