SIMON WILDE has been the cricket correspondent of the Sunday Times since 1998 and has covered more than 260 England Test matches, 12 Ashes series and six World Cups for the paper. He has also received wide acclaim as author of 11 books - listed below - several of which have been shortlisted for awards. The most recent of these, England: The Biography 1877-2018, a history of the national cricket team, has been reprinted several times and was described by Peter Oborne in The Spectator as “an important work of scholarly synthesis which establishes Wilde as one of our foremost cricket historians”. Copies of the book were presented to members of the England squad by the team management on the eve of the 2019 Ashes series and will be given to each future player when they make their debuts.
Born in Leeds in 1960, Wilde grew up there and attended Lawnswood High School before studying English Literature and Classics at the University of North Wales, Bangor. He watched his first Test match at Lord’s in 1972 after his father Geoffrey won two tickets as part of a prize in a Radio Timescompetition to select the best post-war England team to face Australia; he also won a bat signed by the players and went on BBC Radio’s Test Match Special to discuss his selection with John Arlott. That visit hooked Simon on cricket. After university, he joined Wisden Cricket Monthly as assistant editor to David Frith (1982-84) before joiningThe Times as a sub-editor; he later became chief sub-editor of sport (1990-94). By this time he had travelled to India to research and write his first book, a widely-praised biography of Ranjitsinhji, published in 1990. He followed this with Letting Rip in 1994, an account of fast bowling’s domination of the modern era, containing an opening chapter which placed the reader in an imaginary encounter with a fearsome four-pronged pace attack. Both books were shortlisted for the William Hill sports book of the year. Between 1994 and 1998, he wrote regularly for The Times on several sports and covered the West Indies-Australia series of 1995 and England tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe.
His book Caught, an account of the downfall of Hansie Cronje in a match-fixing scandal and based on the Sunday Times's coverage of the story, was published in 2001. He was highly commended in the specialist correspondent category of the Sports Journalists Awards in 2004. He assisted Graham Thorpe in the writing of his autobiography, published in 2005, and wrote a definitive biography of Shane Warne in 2007 which opened with a reprise of the device used in Letting Rip, this time with an imagined over against the Warne’s spin bowling. This was also shortlisted for the William Hill award. He has also written biographies of two other maverick cricketing talents in Ian Botham and Kevin Pietersen. He was a contributor to a BBC TV documentary Botham: The Legend of ’81 screened in July 2011 and to a BBC Radio Great Lives episode on Len Hutton broadcast in December 2015. He has been a regular contributor to Test Match Special and Sky TV’s Cricket Writers on TV from 2006 to 2017.
He is married to Gayle, a private chef and caterer in Hampshire, and they have three children, Freddie, Lily, and Eve.