"Drug abuse exists far more than is reported"

Updated: Sep 21 2008, 05:37am hrs
Theres no smoke without fire. Setting the cat among the pigeons, author Tuhin Sinhas 22 Yards steers dangerously close to uncomfortable facts surrounding cricket today. Exactly 25 years after Indias famous victory at Lords, new issues are threatening to dominate cricket. There are also threats unparalleled from bookies to drugs, sponsor pressures to perks of the job, theres enough spice to enliven your day as you race through the book trying to second guess which character is based on which cricketer. Heres a start, the captain, Mayank Trivedi is from Jharkhand facing his 20-20 World Cup test. Suman Tarafdar deciphers the googlies the author has liberally strewn in his second novel after That Thing Called Love.

Q. Why a book on cricket

A. Being a fan, I have always wanted to write on the game. However, I also wanted to write fiction inspired from facts, and converged cricket with issues. Tom Alter has described it as a book that had to be written, and I am glad to have written it.

Q. What challenges is Indian cricket facing

A. For India, the first flirtation began in 1983. For 10 years, everything was hunky dory. Then the honeymoon went sour. Another face of the game became evident, and I know friends who stopped watching because they felt everything they were watching was staged. My novel is about the victory of good over evil. It is a tribute to the game, despite all its starkness. It is fiction inspired from facts, and that makes it more relatable.

Q. There are many similarities between the characters in your book and those in the team today. Was it coincidental

A. Well, my intention was to highlight issues. Issues are real, but the characters are a work of fiction. I am observant of other people. My characters are very real. May be about 25% is similar. Yes, there is a character called Ishan in the book (who is a lanky fast bowler, and not exactly a role model) but the book was written much before Ishant Sharma became popular.

Q. You are a scriptwriter too. How does writing a book differ from script writing

A. Books provide exclusivity. Writing a script is more of a collaborative effort, where the directors vision may not match the scriptwriters.