Playing The Game In Written Form

Updated: Jan 26 2003, 05:30am hrs
Cricket is not just a game, but a religion in India. We all acknowledge that. Even as the nation braces itself for the frenzy of the World Cup, books and special editions by magazines are adding to the hysteria.

For someone born in the year when the first Cricket World Cup was held in England, Pentagon Paperbacks 2003 World Cup Cricket Action Replay 1983, edited by Rahul Singhal, comes as an aid to further ones cricketing knowledge. Although the books printing reminds one of ones high-school textbooks, the contents provide some interesting facts. In the 1992 World Cup, South Africa was robbed of victory against England in the semi-finals by rain (more by the Duckworth-Lewis method), but there were no such problems in the very first World Cup. Reason Not a minute of the tournament was lost to rain.

The first ever attempt to hold a world championship of cricket was made in 1912 in the form of a three way competition between the then Test playing nations, Australia, England and South Africa. Dogged by poor weather, the experiment was never repeated again till 1975!

If you thought Indian bowlers are very lenient in giving away runs, what about this New Zealands Martin Snedden is the only bowler ever to concede 100 runs in a World Cup match (of course, he played in the 60-over format). His figures read 12-1-105-2 against England in a Group A match in the 1983 World Cup. The book not only deals with the history of the World Cup and the players to watch out for in South Africa, but also briefly mentions the history of evolution of the game of cricket.

The India Today World Cup Collectors Edition is indeed an item worth having on your shelf. Not often will you find Indian vice-captain Rahul Dravid taking the time out to pen an article. His insight on what happened in the Indian dressing room when they chased the unchasable in the 2002 NatWest Trophy at Lords, and how the team is looking forward to carry the confidence gained from that to South Africa is reassuring to the nation.

If Jonty Rhodes tells you what all he does to stop a ball at backward point and shares his thoughts on the art and science of fielding, Australian coach John Buchanan takes the opportunity to play the mind game to tell readers (read other teams) why the Aussies are out therenot to defend their title, but win it again!