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Eric Ravilious' vision of cricketers in top hats has featured in 76 editions of the Wisden Almanack, but very little has surfaced about the man himself. Rupert Bates, in Wisden India, charts Ravilious' history from his less-than-attentive stints on the cricket field to possible sources of inspiration for the iconic engraving.
He said the game went on "a bit too long for my liking and I began to get a little absent-minded in the deep field after tea". He made one not out in defeat, and bowled a few overs. "It all felt like being back at school, especially the trestle tea with slabs of bread and butter, and that wicked-looking cheap cake." He went on to record the comment of the Double Crown captain Francis Meynell that his bowling was "of erratic length, but promising, and that I should have been put on before. Think of the honour and glory there."
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
Dicky Rutnagur, veteran journalist for Hindustan Times and the Daily Telegraph passed away on June 21. Tony Cozier in the Stabroek News reminisces about sharing a press box with "the voice, spoken and written, of Indian cricket through three decades"
I cherish a picture of the two of us in the Bangalore Test during the 1974-75 West Indies tour (later carried in Wisden), Dicky's face wreathed in the typically impish smile that signaled he was holding forth with some yarn or the other. He made friends, and admirers, easily. Wherever his career took him, he had the respect of cricketers of all generations. The tributes that have followed his death confirm that impression.
Raju Bharatan in the Hindu, describes why Rutnagur was good enough to cover over 300 Test matches.
He was to cricket what Zubin Mehta was to music. He conducted himself as the quintessential professional. Not for him the literary flourishes of a K.N. Prabhu or an N.S. Ramaswami. Dicky Rutnagur was first a reporter, only then an opinion moulder. His smooth narrative style held you spellbound. This was reflected in the absorption with which his Editorial Musings and his day-to-day account of Test matches were read -- months after the events took place.
Amit Roy in India's Telegraph paints the various facets of Rutnagur's life - the journalist, the man, the cricket lover and devout Zoroastrian.
One reason I wanted Dicky at the Lord's lunch on Friday was because of what he felt about the ground. I had asked him about the world's most beautiful cricketing venues when I had done a formal interview with Dicky in 2005. "Lord's, of course," he replied. "My hair still stands on end when I go through the Grace Gate (the main gate at Lord's) after all these years. It is a privilege to go to Lord's. I will wear my best clothes to go to Lord's always, even for a county match."
Rutnagur was as noted for his pranks as he was for his opinions on the game, writes R Mohan in Mid-day
A few may have suffered at the hands of the press box joker that he was reputed to be. You were not initiated into cricket journalism until you had been doused by his water pistol. Mercifully, he carried it in days when security was not the watchword it is, otherwise he may have had a tough time explaining what a gun was doing amidst the paraphernalia.
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.
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.
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.
Ted Corbett, in the Hindu, says in these days of rapid-fire Twenty20 and so many websites dedicated to cricket, Wisden might not be really necessary, but in traditional cricket circles it still has time to live.
Whenever I visit Lord's I see old men taking their grandsons -- rarely granddaughters I note -- along the same route the old and the young trod heaven knows how many years ago. Those young men will be taught to identify players without names and numbers, to applaud each fifty, each small partnership and even clap the players as they walk off for tea. One day granddad will buy their first bat and grumble about the price, as my mother did all those summers ago, and maybe even present them with their first Wisden -- now £50, the cost of a bottle of champagne -- and teach them to find their way from Notes by the Editor to the funny little tales in the back.
Cricket writing is once again finding the diversity in its voice, after years of shying away from big stories. In his review of the best cricket books for the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (featured in the Guardian), John Crace profiles five books, including Bookie, Gambler, Fixer, Spy, that reveal the best and worst of cricket.
Best of all, cricket writing is back on the money. Literally. There is no bigger story in cricket at the moment than its finances - particularly in regard to illegal betting. Predictably, the International Cricket Council is not that keen to investigate; its efforts limited to setting up any number of sub-committees that invariably seem to discover next to nothing. Cricket's writers have been far bolder and more successful on a fraction of the budget.