In the immediate aftermath of the catastrophe of the Cuban Missiles War of October 1962 the British government and its surviving Commonwealth allies were in a state of shock.

In Britain, the priority was to restore the rule of law, to begin to piece together what was left of the country after the hammer blows which had obliterated London, Liverpool, Chatham, Gravesend, Canterbury and half-wrecked others.

Operation Manna is the story of how the nation was saved; a history of that dreadful first year after the cataclysm…

It happened that on the day the World went mad the England cricket team was in Perth, Western Australia on the opening leg of its campaign to win back The Ashes.  Touring under the auspices of the Marylebone Cricket Club – the MCC – and playing international, or ‘test’ matches as ‘England’, the tourists under the captaincy of that most quintessentially dashing of batsmen, Edward Ralph ‘Ted’ Dexter, the eyes of the British and Australian sporting publics were not, on the day of World War III fixed on an island in the Caribbean of which few knew anything, and most cared less, but upon the forthcoming titanic struggle ‘down under’.

‘Cricket on the Beach’ is a cricket book; a history of the last MCC tour to Australia.  The tour that began in one world and ended in another.