A book that interweaves biography with history, the lives of cricketers with wider processes of social change. C.K. Nayudu and Sachin Tendulkar naturally figure in this book, but so too do Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The Indian careers of the English cricketers, Lord Harris and D.R. Jardine, provide a window into the operations of Empire. The life of India's first great slow bowler, Palwankar Baloo, introduces the reader to the still-unfinished struggle against caste discrimination. Later chapters explore the competition between Hindu and Muslim cricketers in colonial India and the passions now provoked when India plays Pakistan. This book is a meditation on the ramifications of sport in society at large, and how sport can influence both social and political history.
Ramachandra Guha is one of India's leading historians. His most recent book is Environmentalism: A Global History, and he also edited the acclaimed anthology The Picador Book of Cricket in 2001. He is a well-known writer on cricket, and currently writes a column on the game for The Hindu. He lives in Bangalore.