In­dian cricket book will bowl you over

CHB Mail - - WHAT’S ON -

Eleven Gods And a Bil­lion In­di­ans. By Bo­ria Ma­jum­dar, Si­mon and Schus­ter, $49, hard­back .. .. ..

Eng­land, the colo­nial power, gave In­dia West­min­ster-style democ­racy and a great rail sys­tem. Re­cent books claim that Eng­land took more than it gave, but that aside it's most abid­ing gift to the sub-con­ti­nent was the sport of cricket. That hap­pened be­fore par­ti­tion, but Mus­lim Pak­istan took its love of the game with it. Trag­i­cally, what could have been the great­est of ri­val­ries has not even­tu­ated. Due to fears of vi­o­lence and po­lit­i­cal en­mity, games be­tween the two strong na­tions have been strictly lim­ited.

That's a story in it­self. This book, by highly ac­claimed writer and aca­demic Ma­jum­dar, is In­dia-dom­i­nant, as be­fits a coun­try now re­garded as the global hub of the world of cricket. It traces its his­tory and evo­lu­tion from colo­nial days up to the present time.

It is all-em­brac­ing. The au­thor shines the light on scan­dals and con­spir­a­cies, in­ter­nal spats and feuds with play­ers and of­fi­cials from other na­tions, and al­le­ga­tions of bribery and match­fix­ing. But these are side-shows to the game it­self, the nail-bit­ing con­flicts, es­pe­cially those against Aus­tralia, but also with Eng­land and oth­ers.

And then there are the play­ers — and what a list of greats In­dia has pro­duced — bats­men like the im­mor­tal Sachin Ten­dulkar, Lax­man, Gan­guly, Dhoni and many more, and spin­ners like Harb­ha­jan and many more. It was Ten­dulkar who in­spired the apho­rism — “If you are go­ing to steal do so while Sachin is bat­ting be­cause even God will be watch­ing.”

This is a beau­ti­fully writ­ten and re­searched book, a clas­sic of its kind. For cricket lovers, no mat­ter where they are from, it is an ab­so­lute gem.

— Graeme Bar­row

Top bats­man Sachin Ten­dulkar.

The Waipu Pres­by­te­rian Church.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.