Aha! Cricket. One of those words that make me smile naturally. For, the game of cricket is one of the biggest loves of my life. As I write this post on the eve of India‘s Independence Day, I can proudly say being passionate about cricket adds as much to my Indianness as the food I eat and the language I speak do.
The sport has become so integral to the Indian ethos, that in his book, The Tao of Cricket, eminent sociologist, Ashis Nandy, professes Cricket is an Indian game accidentally discovered by the British…
So when my brother recently handed me this hefty tome as a belated birthday gift, I was elated beyond measure. Steve Waugh, the former Australian cricket captain, had remained my favourite for most of his cricketing career. Not just because of his skill with the game, but for his indomitable mental toughness and his commitment to social causes, which includes his work with an institute in India that is a haven for children of leprosy patients. I would always be stunned by his ability to singlehandedly rescue his team from near-losses. His record as captain is no less spectacular. Under his leadership, the Australian team became an impenetrable wall of attack, which no team in the world could match in terms of either flair or tactics.
That’s about what I’ve managed to read of the book thus far. Admittedly, I am a slow reader and bulky books always intimidate me. But Waugh does a great job telling his life story—he maintains a conversational tone, is admirably honest, and gives a fascinating glimpse into facets of his personality that remained masked by cricket. For who could ever tell, this gritty player, who even came across as a cold and calculated strategist while leading his side, detested being in the spotlight? Or that he wrote long, wistful letters to his teenage love (and later his wife), while on his first tour outside home in England? Steve Waugh is also candid about the uneasy and somewhat strained relationship with his twin Mark, who himself was part of the same squad his brother captained, and has an illustrious track record to his credit.
Hopefully, I would finish the Waugh treatise in a few months. I must, because I also have to read the other two books you see in the picture. I am particularly interested in A Corner of a Foreign Field, which presents “The Indian history of a foreign sport.”
What sports do you like? Does its history draw you? Or the life stories of its legends?
A sport teaches us so much, even if we don’t play it.
And now, may I pass the baton to Matt at Mad Scientist Matt’s Lair.
The entire chain: