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At the Olympics: Hype vs Reality

The Hindu, August 4 2012 I enjoyed my afternoon at the Olympics, sitting in my public lottery assigned £50 seat at the ExCel, with a fine view of the men’s boxing. And I enjoyed it not least because I was finally able to watch the sport itself without the surrounding hype, the layers of commentary…. Read more

Olympic icons

Contending for the Living Red Pepper, June-July 2012 In a world where the words ‘iconic’ and ‘icon’ have been cheapened by gross overuse, it’s salutary to recall their original meanings. In a religious context, an icon is a representation that is more than a representation, an image that contains a power beyond itself. It’s not… Read more

A summer of cricket and a saga of mounting debt

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 26 June 2011 In a few weeks the India squad will arrive on these shores to commence a demanding two-month tour, playing four Tests, five ODIs and one Twenty20. The Test series, in particular, looks set to be a stiff challenge for both sides and the result may well seal… Read more

World Cup: affirmative answers

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 20 March At the outset of this World Cup, both the format and the event were on trial. Questions about its pre-eminence in the global game had been raised not only by the best forgotten 2007 instalment but even more by the rise of T20 and the IPL. While it’s… Read more

The “symbolical” cricketer: Sachin Tendulkar

This tribute to Tendulkar has just been published in SACHIN : Genius Unplugged, edited by Suresh Menon. “Cricket is first and foremost a dramatic spectacle,” wrote CLR James in Beyond a Boundary. “It is so organised that at all times it is compelled to reproduce the central action which characterises all good drama from the… Read more

“Activist for the epic game”

The Mercury, Durban, South Africa Monday February 28 2011 With the 10th World Cup now under way, 50-over cricket and the event itself are on trial, says one of the game’s most provocative, passionate and analytical followers, Mike Marqusee. Patrick Compton spoke to him. THE famous dictum of historian CLR James: “What do they know… Read more

World Cup test of status

Outlook (India), 21 February The 10th cricket World Cup opens with the format, and the event itself, on trial. That’s curious, for through most of its history, the World Cup has been an extraordinary success story. It came about more by accident than design (to plug a gap left in the English season by the… Read more

Disgrace: Pakistan cricket and its discontents

Outlook (India), 6 September On top of floods, war, bombs, a corrupt and incompetent government with a much feared military in the wings, the long-suffering people of Pakistan have now been betrayed, once again, by their cricketers. Most will not be shocked or will profess not to be shocked: over the last 15 years there… Read more

Changing ends

History Today, August 2010 As the England cricket team take on Pakistan in this summer’s Test Match series, Mike Marqusee revisits S.M.Toyne’s article on the origins and growth of the game, first published in History Today in June 1955. The full text of the original article (”The Early History of Cricket”) is available at History… Read more

Come on you Ghana, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Korea, Italy…

The World Cup and the pleasures of neutrality The Guardian, 8 June 2010 With the football World Cup pressing hard on us and England mania on the rise, spare a thought for those of us who are not England supporters. Though we go largely unnoticed in the England-centred media coverage, we’re here and we’re a… Read more