Queering the pitch | books | Hindustan Times
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Queering the pitch

When John Buchanan first came into the public eye, it was as the bespectacled, lap-top-enabled coach of an Australian team that won everything in its wake.

books Updated: Jul 17, 2009 23:14 IST
Anand Vasu

The future of cricket
John Buchanan
orient paperbacks
* Rs 295 * pp 191

When John Buchanan first came into the public eye, it was as the bespectacled, lap-top-enabled coach of an Australian team that won everything in its wake. The Ned Flanders lookalike was a cricketing novelty, an international coach who was at best an average player in his time. His use of technology and assiduous gathering of statistical data were only matched by his penchant to slip inspirational passages from Sun Tzu war manuals under the hotel room doors of Australia's finest.

The more Buchanan has tried to explain his methods, the worse he has looked in the public eye. His latest offering only furthers this. For a man who is obsessed with innovating, Buchanan has little to offer beyond repeatedly
insisting that important cricket matches should be played in stadia that have a roof to avoid weather interruptions.

There’s also a leaning towards making cricket like American sport where each member of the team has a highly specialised, fixed role in various plays.

The less edifying parts of the book are Buchanan’s hasty opinions. He believes masters like Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman are not cut out for Twenty20 cricket. He takes a dig at Sunil Gavaskar, and this should surprise no-one given just how often Gavaskar goes after Buchanan in his own columns.

The book is disappointingly short on anecdotal value and flits annoyinglyfrom one superficial sketch to another. By the end of the light read you’re none the wiser.