The first seven weeks of the cricket season are already canceled. Covid-19 has put a spanner in the wickets, taking with it the enjoyment of those longer, milky evenings and fresh days that traditionally accompany this great game. So here are five reads to help you bask in the nostalgia until the bats (and hats!) come back out.
1.Pundits from Pakistan by Rahul Bhattacharya
Bhattacharya penned this at the tender age of 25 after being sent over to cover India’s groundbreaking tour of Pakistan back in 2004. A sublime read that marks a young man coming of age, it illustrates not just the unifying power of the game of cricket but the meaning of love, relationships, and friendships across borders. Retold so stunningly that one can almost smell the sweet scent of the greens and hear the gentle envelopment of the crowd lift from the pages.
2.The Art of Captaincy by Mike Brearley
Brearley has pitched himself as a”man with a degree in people”. And this read goes a way to underpinning this. A classic book on leadership, in general, told through the game of cricket, it was written after he hung up his pads in 1985. This is a thoughtful, jargon-free and empathetic read, describing the complex relationships and responsibilities of captaincy and the challenges it presents. Plenty of wisdom nuggets in here to garner for use on and off the field.
3. Steve Smith’s Men by Geoff Lemon
This multi-award winning title took the Wisden, MCC and Cricket Writers’ Club accolades. And well deserved it was. A super read on Sandpapergate – a cricket story for the ages – a tale of what happens when cricket becomes a business, winning becomes everything, leadership is empty and the game exists in a moral vacuum.
4. Rain Men by Marcus Berkmann
Berkmann’s charming story of his doomed cricket team struck a chord with grassroots cricketers everywhere, becoming a hit in literature in 1995. Now over a quarter of a century later this remains one of the greatest conveyers of cricket nostalgia ever penned.
5. Sunny Days by Sunil Gavaskar
It is widely known now that Gavaskar is a master connoisseur of words and this charming autobiography proves that in the most distinguished manner. Originally published in 1977, it has repeatedly gone to reprint and still stands up well today. Why it connects so well is the fascinating way Gavaskar has illustrated the events of his life and career. A must-read for any cricket fan.