Cricket writing

AUGUST 26, 2014

The parts of cricket that language forgot

Jon Hotten: There are feelings and situations in cricket that all of us are familiar with but can't describe succinctly
How do you describe the feeling of relief on surviving a session mixed with the anxiety of returning to bat after the break? © Getty Images
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MAY 27, 2014

Broadcasting

Harsha Bhogle, the storyteller

Harsha Bhogle discusses the early influences that shaped his commentary, censorship, unsavoury trysts on twitter and physical attributes in television presenting. Arun Venugopal of the Hindu has more.

You will find very few networks on cricket broadcast actually taking on matters of this sensitivity. So, for example, you won't find anyone talking about why a Pakistan player shouldn't be in the IPL. [These are] very sensitive matters that you have got to be careful not to inflame. In my case, I am very clear that my job here is not to be an opinion-maker, but to be a storyteller. I believe I am an opinion-maker on Twitter, in my articles. But, I have never ever been told, 'You will not say this'. I have just been told, 'Let's not say something that might offend.' That was a long time ago. In recent times, I haven't been told that.

MARCH 24, 2014

How much of a sportsman's story do you need to know?

Jonathan Wilson: Journalists may crave the minutest details, but fans are happy to leave some things to the imagination
JANUARY 30, 2014

In praise of Margaret Hughes

Russell Jackson: The first woman to write to a high standard on the game was treated a bit like a circus freak when she appeared on the scene
JANUARY 16, 2014

Pakistan news

Qamar Ahmed's special quadruple

Sunil Gavaskar's 10,000th run, Richard Hadlee's 400th wicket, Anil Kumble's cleansweep, cricket's 1000th Test in 1984 and its 2000th in 2011 - Qamar Ahmed; has seen them all. The Sharjah Test; between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is his 400th as a reporter, and he has been present at 19% of all Tests played to date.

His favourite is Gavaskar's last innings, a 96 in a losing cause against Pakistan in Bangalore, memorable because even spinners had the ball rearing chest-high on a poor pitch. Michael Holding's furious 14-wicket haul at The Oval in 1976 is Qamar's bowling equivalent.

A first-class left-arm spinner in Pakistan in his youth, Qamar was based out of the UK for most of his reporting career. In addition to having written extensively in English, Urdu and Hindi, he has also been a broadcaster for Test Match Special, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Television New Zealand, among others.

The press in Sharjah missed the chance to perform a guard of honour with their laptops, but the PCB and Pakistan team presented Qamar with mementoes and two signed Test shirts, wishing him many more matches in the press box. It is a sentiment Qamar agrees with heartily - he said: "I am not retiring as long as I'm on my feet."

JANUARY 03, 2014

What I read in 2013

Russell Jackson: There's a surge for immediacy in the modern media but sports books, especially cricket ones, help you slow down
DECEMBER 26, 2013

When an editor ate his words

Samir Chopra: India's World Cup victory in 1983 prompted some unforgettable banter between their manager and a magazine editor
OCTOBER 12, 2013

The left-hander's cover drive

Michael Jeh: Aka the cricket stroke that can move medical professionals to poetry
SEPTEMBER 27, 2013

What do they know of cliches...

Russell Jackson: Cricket clichés find their most obvious and oft-parodied home in commentary boxes but we're all guilty of them from time to time
SEPTEMBER 19, 2013

Indian cricket

Using cricket to tell India's story

The Great Tamasha mirrors India's rise as a nation to its rise as a cricketing power. James Astill, author of the book, documents the evolution of cricket - with its introduction during the British era to its extravagant and controversial avatar, the Indian Premier League. Speaking to Will Davies of the Wall Street Journal, Astill explains his take on the sport that verges on obsession in the country and believes it is an apt tool to describe the India's story.

I wanted to tell that story, but not through the usual all-India generalizations - not from the usual New Delhi vantage. There have been too many books like that already. Rather, I wanted a unifying theme or a story, which would allow me to reflect on India's broader narrative. And it was only natural that I found this in Indian cricket - which is spectacularly rich and politically powerful, also riven with infighting and corruption, and just unbelievably popular. Most of India loves it. And I love it too

SEPTEMBER 16, 2013

England cricket

Adaptation of ambition

As yet another summer of cricket comes to a close, the Old Batsman muses how cricket's complexities allow a different face to each age of the player and how the elements of the game one takes pleasure in continuously shift.

Once you pass the point at which professionals retire, it takes on a new hue. Before that moment, however delusionally, you can convince yourself you're playing the same game that you always have. You're not yet entirely divorced from the young kids who come in to thrash their 60-ball hundreds or mark out their 20-yard runs. Soon though, there's something different in the way that they look at you, and you realise that they are occupying a psychological terrain that you have surrendered.

SEPTEMBER 09, 2013

Why does cricket not lend itself to the novel?

Jonathan Wilson: It could be because literary description of sport is almost impossible because of our over-familiarity with the language of reporting
JULY 25, 2013

The best cricket periodical ever

Samir Chopra: From 1978 to 1983, the World Cricket Digest, published out of Sydney, offered fans of cricket and cricket writing an invaluable service
JULY 11, 2013

Eng v Aus, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day

A portent of a possibly brutish Ashes

If the first day of the Ashes set the tone for the rest of the series, this one will be remembered as much for the skittish attitude of both teams, as for Australia's deficiency in the batting order. It's a view that Greg Baum, writing in the Age, and former England captain Nasser Hussain, in his column for the Daily Mail, share. Baum, in particular, believes the poor batting, especially by Australia had a lot to do with temperament.

Conditioned by short forms more like T-ball, contemporary batsmen are not technically or temperamentally suited to toughing it out on days like this. The pitch was challenging, but not the ogre they made it look. It is not a new theory, but it [is] every year more apparent."

For Paul Hayward in the Telegraph, and the nerves on both sides are likely to show through.

Modern sports stars pretend to know how to objectify hype - to block it out - but few can say they have really mastered the art. The more they say "we have to treat it as just another Test match" the more the other side of the brain is gripped by panic.

While the Test saw seven Ashes debuts on both sides, it was the experience of James Anderson and Peter Siddle that impressed the most. Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail calls Siddle a 'classic Aussie dark horse', while Malcolm Knox, in a column for the Sydney Morning Herald, analyses why Siddle and Anderson found success on the first day.

What Siddle had discovered was the humble off stump half-volley. On this wicket, a few full balls might have gone for four, but the others bent in the thick air or nipped off the crusty wicket. Anything pitched within a step of the batsman's crease was a chance. Loose technique and concentration at the other end would do the rest. Only Siddle, among the Australian pacemen, had the wit to realise this and the control over his nerves to execute it.

JULY 02, 2013

The grand online cricket library

Samir Chopra: We're privileged to be living at a time when there is such a wealth of cricket writing online
JUNE 25, 2013

CMJ and a lesson in reporting on cricket

Jonathan Wilson: His book on England's victorious tour of Australia in 1986-87 entertained a ten-year-old and taught him the value of writing on just the sport
JUNE 18, 2013

Cricket writing

Chronicles of the ghost-writer

In a piece in Man's World magazine, Sharda Ugra shares her experience of being a ghostwriter on two vastly different cricket biographies - John Wright's Indian Summers and Yuvraj Singh's The Test of My Life: From Cricket to Cancer and Back.

Now that the books are done, in hindsight, I think it would be close to impossible to take on an ultramarathon without either affinity or respect for the subject. A key commandment? Abandon your ego and your own stylistic imprints, replicate the narrator's own voice. The book, after all, belongs not to you but to the sportsman whose life it contains. It is he who must speak, authentically and credibly, to the reader and hold their attention. That's what you're there for.

MAY 11, 2013

When football replaced cricket on the back pages

Jonathan Wilson: You can almost pinpoint the date when the switch happened in England
MAY 03, 2013

Cricket writing

Notes from editors, past and present

The longest-running sports annual in history, The Wisden Cricketers' Almanack has remained steadfast through wars and global crises and even technological revolutions. In Wisden India, six editors of the Almanack share their thoughts on what it means to be a Wisden editor.

APRIL 20, 2013

India cricket

Mumbai's cricketing treasure trove in need of revival

The Kanga Memorial Library at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, a beloved haunt for cricket history buffs and probably one of the only sporting libraries in the country, is fighting for survival with administrative apathy. In the Mid day, Clayton Murzello explores the library to find some its rarest classics moth-eaten and dust-laden.

First-timers to the Wankhede Stadium won't find the library without having to ask around simply because there are no sign boards leading to the premises which comes in between the plush Cricket Centre and the Wankhede Stadium. The dark alley leading to the library is indicative of the times.

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