Skip to content

Post-op report

Dear friends, I’m back home after a week-long spell in the Royal London Hospital recovering from seven hours of surgery on my lower spine. The experience proved arduous, as grueling as it sounds, but the good news is that I’ve survived and should draw tangible benefit from it. What happened was that the revlimid therapy… Read more

England cricket captain in retro mode

“In my opinion there’s a line and that line was crossed today.” That was Alastair Cook’s aggrieved response to the Sri Lankan spin bowler Senanayake running out the England batter Buttler at the non-striker’s end in yesterday’s One Day International. The England captain’s statement was, to speak plainly, self-righteous guff, a sad throwback to the… Read more

Why cricket?

Published in Wisden India Almanack 2014, edited by Suresh Menon. Let’s imagine a group of ultra-intelligent extra-terrestrials who visit earth and find themselves at a cricket match. I’d submit that, given sufficient time, they would be able to deduce the rules of the game in their entirety (even the lbw law) from direct observation, without… Read more

Cricket in the USA: watching and being watched

In the strangest and most distressing cricket story of the summer, it appears that New York police have compiled lists of the city’s cricket grounds, along with cafes and restaurants where people gather to watch international cricket on TV, in order to facilitate surveillance of the Muslim population. Some years back I was passing through… Read more

The “biggest” book about cricket: a tribute to Beyond a Boundary

Five decades ago, in the pages of The Cricketer, John Arlott dubbed Beyond a Boundary “in the intellectual sense… quite the ‘biggest’ book about cricket” ever written. That judgement stands, but it’s almost a disservice to a book that is, among so many other things, hugely entertaining. CLR James’ Beyond a Boundary remains uncategorisable, a… Read more

The man who went beyond a boundary

CONTENDING FOR THE LIVING Red Pepper, February-March 2013 When CLR James’ Beyond A Boundary was first published fifty years ago, the sociology of sport and the politics of popular culture had no place in the academy or on the left. The book had to create its own subject, define a new field of intervention. James… Read more

A day at Lord’s

The cricket was excellent, with the advantage swinging back and forth, superb bowling by Steyn and Morkel and impressive batting by Bell and especially the young Bairstow. My only problem, as a spectator, was the crowd. First, it was almost uniformly white, male and affluent. In fact, this was the whitest and male-est crowd I’ve… 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