A Gentleman's Game: Reflections on Cricket History Info

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Veteran Cricket journalist, Historian and author of 14 books on
Cricket, Kersi Meher-Homji says: "I feel privileged to write a Foreword
for his book A Gentleman’s Game – Reflections on Cricket History. I
enjoyed reading this well-illustrated and many-splendored publication.
Each Chapter starts with a famous quote. The first Chapter is on
“Ranjitsinhji, the Maharaja of Elegance and of Nawanagar”. My initial
reaction was: what is there on Ranji a cricket-lover does not know
about? But after reading Anindya’s book I learnt many things about Ranji
I did not know. Some of it was not pleasant. In the beginning of his
career there was a racist article on him written by Sir Home Gordon who
called him “a dirty black”. And did you know Ranji faced bankruptcy and
earlier on he had no right to call himself a Prince? The Chapter on
Keith Miller – the supreme all-round cricket icon, a war hero, a
classical music aficionado and a lovable character – starts with his
immortal quote: “Pressure? There is no pressure in Test cricket. Real
pressure is when you are flying a Mosquito with a Messerschmitt up your
arse.” Apart from his heroics on the cricket field author Anindya
depicts Miller’s courage and gallantry during World War II. The author
also mentions unsung war veterans and cricketers Graham Williams, Lionel
Tennyson, Bob Crisp among others. Being a quirky cricket writer myself I
found Chapters on fattest and tallest cricketers fascinating. The
research on bulky cricketers is aptly titled “Have Fat, Can Bat:
Cricketers who were their weight in gold.” Who were they? I won’t tell
you; you will have to read the book." The book is not just about
achievements. It details failures too: the worst declarations in history
and on dropped catches by butterfingers. Also the mighty West Indies
lost a match to Ireland. At one stage the Windies under Clive Lloyd were
8 for 6, 12 for 8 before being bowled out for 25. A misprint? A joke?
No, it happened. I found the Chapter “A Tale of Two Test Debuts”
nostalgic as I was present at the Sydney Cricket Ground when Australia’s
Shane Warne and India’s Subroto Banerjee had made their Test debuts in
January 1992. Medium-pacer Banerjee captured 3 for 47 including the
scalps of Geoff Marsh, Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh. In contrast Warne had
a forgettable debut, being smashed all over the park by Ravi Shastri
and Sachin Tendulkar as he finished with 1 for 150. Warne became a Test
legend with 708 wickets at 25.41 in 145 Tests. For Banerjee it was his
Test debut and swan song as he was never selected in a Test again. To
quote Anindya Dutta, “Bizarrely, the man who has bowled so well in the
first innings, Subroto Banerjee, does not get to bowl a single ball in
the second innings. In fact, he never gets to bowl another ball in Test
cricket, and is destined to be forever referred to in cricketing history
as a one-Test wonder.” Cricket cruel cricket! Thus A Gentleman’s Game –
Reflections on Cricket History shows many aspects of cricket; the good,
the gallant and the paradoxical. I enjoyed reading it. So will you."
Anindya Dutta is a Banker by profession and a Cricket Historian and
Writer by passion. He writes in journals and websites across the world
from Australia's 'The Roar', to India's 'Cricket Country' and
'Sportstar' and on 'ESPN Cricinfo'. This is his first book. His much
awaited second book 'Spell-binding Spells' will be published later this
year.

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