Here, in possibly the first book extract ever to appear on a Cricinfo blog, are ten of Briggs’s favourite Ashes sledges. (Warning: fruity language.)
1 Mark Waugh to Jimmy Ormond on his Test debut, 2001: “Mate, what are you doing out here? There's no way you're good enough to play for England.”
Ormond: “Maybe not, but at least I'm the best player in my own family.”
2 Merv Hughes to Graeme Hick et al: “Mate, if you just turn the bat over you'll find the instructions on the other side.”
3 Hughes again: “Does your husband play cricket as well?”
4 Mike Atherton, on Merv Hughes: “I couldn't work out what he was saying, except that every sledge ended with ‘arsewipe’.”
5 Dennis Lillee to Mike Gatting, 1994: “Hell, Gatt, move out of the way. I can't see the stumps.”
6 Derek Randall to Lillee, after taking a glancing blow to the head: “No good hitting me there, mate, nothing to damage.”
7 Ian Healy, placing a fielder yards away at cover when Nasser Hussain was batting: “Let's have you right under Nasser's nose.”
8 Tony Greig, England’s South African-born captain, to the young David Hookes, 1977: “When are your balls going to drop, Sonny?”
Hookes: “I don't know, but at least I'm playing cricket for my own country.” Hookes hit Greig for five consecutive fours.
9 Rod Marsh, late Seventies: “How's your wife and my kids?”
Ian Botham: “The wife's fine – the kids are retarded.”
10 Bill Woodfull, Australia’s captain in the Bodyline series of 1932-33, responding to Douglas Jardine's complaint that a slip fielder had sworn at him: “All right, which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?”
It makes you wonder about some of today’s players. They may be able to walk the walk, but can they talk the talk?