Just serving unlimited bhujia in bowls to the people milling around your television screen over the next month-and-a-half simply won’t do. For the cricket junkie as well as the temporary enthusiast, James Alter’s The History of World Cup Cricket: 1975-2011 is as essential an accessory to your World Cup watching as a slip cordon is to South Africa’s Dale Steyn opening with the new ball.
The lavishly produced book takes the reader down all the nine previous World Cups — from the inaugural one in England in 1975 where Clive Lloyd’s West Indies blitzkrieged all opposition to the anti-climactic 2007 one in West Indies. Alter provides neat overviews of each, following them up with key match details and helpful summaries of results. But a special feature of this book has to be the ‘first person accounts’ by the likes of Dickie Bird, Roger Binny, Matthew Hayden. Especially engaging is Viv Richards describing how in the 1979 World Cup in England, Clive Lloyd dropping a catch from the bat of Geoff Boycott was part of a ‘strategy’ to keep Boycott on the pitch and bring England’s run rate down.
Alter takes us to moments that make the World Cup such an exciting event. Keep this book handy to make some insightful comments that will give the likes of Harsha Bhogle (who has written the foreword) a run for his money.
Mondy Thapar is a Delhi-based writer