SPANNING almost two decades, combining personal touches and socio-economics, emotions and statistics, this book tells the story of Indian cricket’s greatest moments and finest players and the role they have played in creating a new India.
India’s love affair with cricket took a turn for the passionate, overriding notion of nationalism, defying obsession on one summer evening at Lords when the night in India turned vivid and brilliant due to the fireworks that wouldn’t stop and the streams of people on the streets. The Prudential World Cup was India’s due to Kapil Dev and his men.
India has been playing international cricket since 1932. It has been 78 years and the country has marched forward and where cricket is like religion. While religion had led to a bloodbath that accompanied the birth pangs of India or more precisely the birth pangs of the two nation-states of India and Pakistan. At least two lakh people died. But cricket does not lead to bloodbath. It does cause high-pitched tension and loud shouts.
Cricket acts as a balm that heals. Cricket is anti-religion and “our most precious, deeply secular institution. As the most visible of national identity, as an obsession of a dream, cricket is the only thing that unites a country as diverse and as contradiction-fraught as India. Cricket is the glue that binds together the small minority who have access to Internet and who are at the forefront as the biggest beneficiaries of the country’s economic growth, social change and IT revolution.
This is a book about India and cricket and how the game defines us as a nation and how “my story of being a fan of that game, that team, is emblematic of the hundreds of thousands of you and I think that however much the story of Indian cricket might have moved on, the ardour and passion – what we call ‘the emotional fever’ – has not and will not change.”
(Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110017; www.penguinbooksindia.com)