The Cricket World Cup is upon us and for the next month all conversation will centre around the game, ticket holders will be transformed into folk heroes, and those who can't manage to travel to the action will be glued to television screens. This is also the best time to immerse yourself in some fine new cricket books.
Historical fiction, fine essays, personal pieces, take your pick:
After Tendulkar: The New Stars of Indian Cricket by Soumya Bhattacharya
Taking 14 November 2013, the day Sachin Tendulkar retired from cricket, as its point of departure, Soumya Bhattacharya's book takes in the highlights of Tendulkar's last test while also examining the careers of his contemporaries Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble.
The author then shifts to the new stars of Indian cricket, the next generation, the inheritors of the mantle -- Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane and the most successful captain of all time, MS Dhoni. A compelling read, After Tendulkar: The New Stars of Indian Cricket is the first major account of the future of Indian cricket.
After Tendulkar: The New Stars of Indian Cricket
Soumya Bhattacharya, Aleph
Rs 495, PP 217
The Curse and the Cup by Gaurav Bhalla
One day in 1991, Vuyisa Lingani and his son Manga, legendary left-arm spinners, who were unable to play international cricket for the South African team because they were black, died tragically within hours of each other.
The Curse and the Cup, a historical fiction novel, tells the story of the curse cast by Vuyisa's wife, Mama Nonkosi, that prevents Proteas from winning the ICC World Cup. The story ties the consequences of apartheid to the inability of the South African team to lift the cup. In the novel, with the 2015 World Cup less than 100 days away, only Themba, the sole-surviving Lingani male can lift the curse.
The Curse and the Cup Gaurav Bhalla; gbkahanee
Rs 780, PP 388
Cricket World Cup; The Indian Challenge by Ashis Ray
With a foreword by Sunil Gavaskar, Ashis Ray's book attempts, as the preface points out, a dispassionate appraisal of the rise, fall and re-rise of India in the realm of one-day cricket. With a wealth of detail to excite obsessive cricket lovers, the book covers all 10 previous tournaments and previews the upcoming one. This means Ray records each match starting with the 1975 world cup and every semi final and final too. Ray, who has watched every Cricket World Cup live except the inaugural one, says the book is "written from memory and embellished by reference". Clearly an eye witness history of the Cricket World Cup that would interest those who eat and breathe cricket… which is the whole of the subcontinent.
Cricket World Cup; The Indian Challenge; Ashis Ray, Bloomsbury India
Rs 405, PP 202
Final Test; Exit Sachin Tendulkar by Dilip D'Souza
Dilip D'Souza lives across the street from Tendulkar, famously considered the god of Indian cricket. This fact adds an unexpected layer to D'Souza's observations about the man and his deliriously worshipful fans. Through a montage of Tendulkar's final test, his tearful farewell at Wankhede, and a study of the feelings that the man inspires in millions, D'Souza examines 25 years of cricket in the country, years that Tendulkar came to dominate and indeed personify.
Final Test; Exit Sachin Tendulkar; Dilp D' Souza, Random House India
Rs 299, PP 226
Third Man; Recollections From a Life in Cricket by V Ramnarayan
With forewords by Harsha Bhogle and Suresh Menon, The Third Man is a series of recollections of a life fully immersed in the game. The author, V Ramnarayan, made his debut as an off-spinner for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy in 1975 and later played alongside legends like MAK Pataudi and ML Jaisimha. An interesting book for the insight it gives into an earlier era when Indian cricket hadn't yet become the great money spinning machine it has today; a time when cricket was played for the sheer love of the game.
Third Man; Recollections From a Life in Cricket; V Ramnarayan, Westland
Rs 395, PP 348