So you're hanging out with two friends in a cafe, and as they're talking about cricket, you make a mistake. You say that someone - anyone - has had a better career than Sachin Tendulkar.
So they pull out their laptops, and take turns nicely (but persistently) trying to convince you that you're wrong. For three hours. Non-stop. Without buying you any more coffee.
That's this book. They are nice about it, and they even quote opposing arguments fairly before attacking them - that's why I'll give the book four stars. But you really should be prepared.
Four (IMHO) mistakes:
(1) In the chapter comparing Sachin and Viswanathan Anand, the authors claim that Russia is the country where chess is a religion ("chess rules"). Nope. Russia has more grandmasters, but...the country that has monuments to its world champion, that has outperformed all other countries per capita at the FIDE Olympiad (and won it twice!), that requires chess in its national elementary school curriculum, and has its president as the chairman of the national chess federation? Armenia.
(2) Only batting statistics. I would have thought that God could also take 800 Test wickets, or 708, or even 450 - not 45.
(3) No analysis of off-field issues. Jesus chased the money lenders out of the Temple, but God can't do anything about the BCCI and the ICC? Even the merely half-divine Hercules cleaned the Augean Stables.
(4) Comparisons against Dravid and Ganguly and Sehwag make sense, if Sachin is the god of Indian cricket (p.185). And comparisons to Ponting and Lara, if Sachin is the god of cricket (p.157). But why not Bradman?
Contrary to the product description, the authors can't claim they're only looking at the modern era. They mention Bodyline and Boringline in Chapter Four, but to compare Jardine to Hussain, not Bradman to Sachin. There's the Bradmanesque reception in Sydney (p.66), the Wisden Top Ten Batsman lists (p.90), and Bradman's suggestion that Sachin reminded him of himself (p.161). They even throw Bradman into an arbitrary analogy (p.111).
I'm American, not Australian, so I'm not interested in proving that Bradman is the better batsman. In fact, because (according to some) Jardine cheerfully batted against Bodyline when West Indies used it in 1933 against England - and got his only Test century doing it! - I'm not going to deify Bradman. But the authors skipping the comparison?
I'm never again going to a cafe with these two.