A book each by three cricket experts: a former Australian captain, a sports presenter, a Test cricketer’s son who is a well reputed journalist
Cricket is as much played on the ground as it is played off it; and if you don’t agree to a simple statement, try to remember the names of the commentators who have brought you the game from beyond the boundary line. If you can count as many as five names on your fingers (which you will, if you are an ardent fan of the game), then that means that you accept the statement to be true. Here we discuss a book each from Richie Benaud, who played the game before covering it, Alan Wilkins, who made a name as a presenter, and Rajdeep Sardesai, who has cricket in his blood. Read on:
Richie Benaud – My Spin on Cricket
Former Australian captain Richie Benaud was amongst the best cricketers of the world when he played the game; when he switched to a career behind the microphone, he became so popular that he was known as The Voice of Cricket. Till his death in April 2015, he actively participated in his broadcast duties and found the time to pen down a handful of books. In My Spin on Cricket, the man with the magical voice spoke on the issues cricket had been battling since the new millennium began. His personal anecdotes regarding sledging, gambling, and showmanship as well as his take on the many technological advances that were becoming part of the game, everything was discussed here in Richie Benaud style.
In fact, it would seem that while you are reading the book, you are conversing with the greatest TV presenter ever to sit behind the microphone and discuss whatever you had in your mind with him. He talks about not just Australian cricket but cricket in general even if it takes him to England, the West Indies or India. Add a few memorable pictures here and there and you get a cricket book that would tower above all, just like Richie Benaud towered in stature above all.
Alan Wilkins – Easier Said Than Done
He may not have the experience of Richie Benaud but Alan Wilkins has proved his worth as a sports presenter in recent years. Whenever there is a cricket extravaganza, Wilkins is there and without him, cricket looks sad. In his Easier Said Than Done, Alan Wilkins talks about his life in sports, one that started as a promising cricketer in the 1970s and took him all over the world after he was forced to retire in the 1980s. Why he retired, how he kept himself relevant, how his experience has been from a sports teacher to a sports broadcaster, Alan Wilkins talks about it all in this book.
He is not limited to cricket. He has fans among followers of sports like rugby and tennis. The book takes the readers down the memory lane. The way it has been narrated and the amazing pictures from the 1960s make you fall in love with Alan Wilkins more. His biggest achievement as a fast bowler – dismissing Viv Richards – is nothing compared to what he has achieved in his many years as a broadcaster. If you want to know how promising a cricketer he was or how good a broadcaster he is, just browse through the comments made by his esteemed colleagues including the great Majid Khan, Sachin Tendulkar and Dr. Ali Bacher. Pictures from his playing days will also give you a glimpse of the first-rate players with whom he shared the dressing room!
Rajdeep Sardesai – Democracy’s XI
He may not have followed his legendary father Dilip Sardesai into cricket, but Rajdeep Sardesai became a legend in his own rights. Recognised as one of the most authentic and unbiased journalists from the land of Arnab Goswami, Rajdeep has authored a few political books and mostly covers Indian politics on TV. And that’s why when his book Democracy’s XI – The Great Indian Cricket Story was unveiled, many were confused because they had no clue that such an eloquent gentleman would be fluent in the field of Cricket. And Rajdeep hit them all for a six!
He not only spoke about the way cricket unites the Indian nation but also how it treats everyone as equal. Be it a man from Goa (his own father), a Nawab (Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi), a middle-class hero (Sunil Gavaskar), Dada of Bengal (Sourav Ganguly) or Millennial Master (Virat Kohli, who else?), the author goes back in time and talks about their rise to the top level, how they kept their heads high when the chips were down and why they should be in India’s Democracy XI. Going through the book will make you fall in love with the writer, just as he made you like him as a broadcaster!