Owing to the atypical bailiwick of this book with atypical title , I was not sure what to expect of this book but I gave it a read owing to the reputation of the author.
And to say that this book is an absolute stunner would be an understatement because this book is beyond comparison, a master in its own league.
As the title of the book says , this book regale the illustrated history of Indian cricket, a sport bequeathed from the Britishers. The likes of Palwankar Baloo, C.K Naidu, Jamsheb Ranjisinghji etc who are generally unheard of, are described in great details in this book.
The major theme of this book is the Bombay Quadrangular tournament played between Hindu, Parsi, Muslim and European gymkhanas. This tournament took place for almost thirty years and had the great fan following in those days .It is during those years of quadrangular that players like the Baloo brothers, Naidu come into public glares. The controversy surrounding the communal nature of the tournament is also very well documented, highlighting the views of various Politician, editors and cricketers. Even after the termination of the quadrangular, the popularity of the sports failed to diminish and soon after India’s assents to her independence the people began to cherish the national team. Even though the hockey team in those days was taking the world by storm with its gold medals plunder in the Olympics its popularity does not faze the popularity of this game. In the later part of the book the focus shifts to Indo–Pak rivalry and the advent of the modern cash rich cricket in Independent India.
The most beautiful part of the book is the incorporation of the political and the sporting ambience of that time. The struggle of the game and its patron to survive in those difficult times make this book even more worthwhile. The author has captured the very essence of the India of that time , struggling for independence and enjoying cricket to ease her difficult life.
This book is beautifully written and is easy to read and can be called belles-lettres in spite of being very informative.