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Sight Screen

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Booker prizes

Geez, how much do you have to live, and do, before you qualify for a 'biography'?
Not very much, apparently -- I notice, from this story, that England quick Steve Harmison -- 3 months shy of completing three years in international cricket, and all of 28 Tests and 25 ODIs old -- already has a biography out.
Reminds me of this joke -- guy goes up to PT Barnum, the legendary showman, and tells him, I have the perfect act for you. You can price tickets as high as you like, you can bill it as a one-time show, you can clean up big time.
So what will you do, Barnum asks.
I will, the guy says, dead serious, in full view of your audience commit suicide.
Ah, great, PTB smiles -- but then what will you do for an encore?
Precisely -- having told his life story while still in cricketing kindergarten, what will Harmison do for an encore, you think?
He's not the only one, mind -- instant 'biographies' seem to be one of the many ways in which people are making a quick buck out of the fans' endless appetite for all things cricket. While in India recently, I picked up a few such. One on Tendulkar, that I am yet to read; another on Dravid, ditto; and a third on Sehwag, which I will not read -- the book is badly researched, hastily written, and not even proofed by a halfway competent editor.
I have a question for you guys (oh, and thanks all for the feedback and comments, both on here and in mail -- appreciate it, much): Which is the best cricketing biography, or autobiography, you read, and why?


  • I haven't read very many biographies, but the one that I absolutely loved was on Azhar written by Harsha Bhogle.
    I did not read it because I am a Azhar fan, but because I am a fan of Harsha Bhogle's writing.
    It was written before the match fixing scandal, so there is nothing about that period in his career, but it was interesting to see all the ups and downs of his career. I think that made it even more interesting because he did not have a steady career graph like some one Tendulkar. I think it is a very interesting read and it is very well written.

    By Anonymous Mayank, at 11:35  

  • Prem,

    Without even the blink of an eyelid, the greatest cricketing books that I have ever read are of my hero, Sunil Gavaskar. His eruditeness, his crispness, his cheekiness and his ability to paint a picture with words (a la RK Narayan) is unmatched in the world of cricket. You take any of his books -- Sunny Days, Idols, Runs n' Ruins, One Day Wonders -- they are all without any parallel, certainly in the world of Indian criket.

    As a child of the 80's who kind of came of age in the 90's I would strongly recommend Sunil Gavaskar to kids and parents, if one has not read his books. This is true, especially, of those people who want to get away from the world of desi multiplexes, veggie burgers, chicken tikka pizza, etc into something decent, wholesome, intellectuallt stimulating and family-friendly.

    For me, and people of a couple of generations before me, SMG was always and will always be an icon for life (SR Tendulkar notwithstanding)!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13:09  

  • Conrad Hunte's "Playing to Win". Wonderful book by a great man.

    By Anonymous Shrikant, at 14:51  

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