Nick Greenslade was today named winner of the CWC Derek Hodgson Book Award for 2021 for his book The Thin White Line.

His book about the spot-fixing scandal of 2010, published by Pitch, was chosen from a shortlist of seven by a panel representing the Cricket Writers’ Club, supported by JM Finn. The award was presented at the club’s Annual Lunch at the Kia Oval, on the occasion of CWC’s 75th Anniversary.

Paul Edwards, the panel chair, said: “In a very strong year and from a particularly fine short-list, one that contained seven books of very high quality, we decided that Nick’s book was the worthiest of winners.

“The Thin White Line tells a story many of us thought we knew. Thanks to Nick’s excellent book, we now understand that our knowledge was imperfect and incomplete. In what is a superb example of diligent, painstaking investigative journalism, Nick manages to explain in detail how spot-fixing was organised and how The News of the World exposed it before the journalist responsible for the scoop eventually followed the cheats to jail.

“His analysis of the leading characters in the whole affair is worthy of John le Carré. Both the pace and structure are near perfect. Many members of the committee commented that the book read like a high-class thriller and the fact that we knew the ending made no difference. Rather like the film The Day of the Jackal (Fred Zinnemann, 1973) we were broadly aware how the book must conclude but this did not diminish our enjoyment of a book whose style is perfectly suited to its subject-matter.”

Given the continuing strength of cricket writing, the panel has decided to maintain the highly commended category for the foreseeable future in order to acknowledge what is effectively the runner-up to the main award. This year Too Black to Wear Whites by Richard Parry and Jonty Winch is very highly commended for its diligent and revealing biography of Krom Hendricks, who was barred from the 1894 South Africa tour to England despite being the best fast bowler in the world. It is a story of segregation and prejudice. It is, therefore, a book for our time.

The CWC Derek Hodgson Book Award Shortlist 2021

Mike Brearley – The Spirit of Cricket. Constable

James Coyne and Timothy Abraham - Evita Burned Down Our Pavilion. Constable

Nick Greenslade - The Thin White Line. Pitch

Ramachandra Guha - The Commonwealth of Cricket. William Collins

Duncan Hamilton - One Long and Beautiful Summer. Riverrun

Richard Parry and Jonty Winch - Too Black to Wear Whites. Pitch

Ian Ridley - The Breath of Sadness. Floodlit Dreams​


Published: October 5, 2021

Paul Edwards, the panel chair, said: "In a very strong year and from a particularly fine shortlist, we decided that Nick’s book was the worthiest of winners"