Controversial England batting genius WG Grace lifts the lid on the simmering tensions within the dressing room in an explosive new autobiography
Dr Grace, widely regarded as England's most destructive batsman and owner of its most famous beard, has at last had his say in the war of words that has cleaved English cricket asunder.
"There was a culture of bullying within the dressing rooms," claims the Doctor. "In fact, I made damn sure there was a culture of bullying by personally roughing up and generally frightening any young fellow who came through the door.
"It has been claimed by my enemies that I went so far as to roast and eat a young Leicestershire batsman. As if I would attempt such barbarism. All I will say is: there isn't much meat on batters these days."
Grace hit back furiously at suggestions that he had allowed his myriad financial and promotional interests to get in the way of cricket.
"A disgraceful accusation, and one that I shall be addressing in my new column for the Daily Beardograph this week - so buy a copy to find out what I think," thundered the Doctor.
"I find any such charge of commercial greediness quite unjust. Indeed it makes me so sick to the stomach that I must immediately reach for the Soothing Digestive Tonic And All-Around Cure-All that is Mr Roderick Bull's Sugary Energising Water - it gives you wings. A few sips of that and I find my mood notably lifted."
Other topics touched on by the Doctor include his claim that the MCC was deaf to cries from players and gentlemen alike of overwork and stress. "I told them that Ranji was going quite barmy," Grace says. "And I offered to treat him myself with a mixture of soothing words and blows to the leg side, but this offer of help was shunned."
The Doctor was also infuriated at being told he could not bring his family, nor the Gloucestershire Hunt, on tour to Australia.
Grace says that a culture of blame had grown up in the team and that young players were terrified of missing a catch, and it was for this reason that he began to send abusive telegrams about team-mates to the opposition.
However, the most surprising part of the autobiography is the ire turned on fellow allrounder CB Fry.
"The self-styled Big Stilton can add to his long list of attributes that of expert back-stabber," thundered the Doctor. "He ran from Sussex to Gloucester in an hour and a half, leapt 48 feet in the air, accepted the presidency of Peru and then knifed me in the back and then scored a century all before lunch. Typical."
More revelations in WG Grace Ate My Pedalo, at tyersandbeach.com