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Pundits from Pakistan: On tour with India, 2003-04 Paperback – 15 Jul 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (15 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330439790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330439794
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 966,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A most impressive book by a hugely talented writer.' -- Ramachandra Guha

Rahul Bhattacharya's Pundits from Pakistan - is one of the 'great cricket reads' -- Livingit.com

About the Author

Rahul Bhattacharya was born in 1979 and began writing on cricket in 2000. He lives in Bombay, where he is contributing editor at Wisden Asia Cricket. He covered this tour for the Guardian and Wisden.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By HP on 6 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a welcome change from the usual run-of-the mill books about Indian cricket. This, along with John Wright's "Indian Summers" are among the best of the recent books on Indian cricket.

This book tells the story of India's tour of Pakistam in 2003-04, in which they achieved unprecedented victories in the Test and ODI series. All the matches are covered in detail along with scorecards and statistics. But the book is valuable for its detailed descriptions of present-day Pakistan-a bit superficial, but still very readable.

We look forward to more from this writer-although India's cricket standing has gone down a bit since this epic tour.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not for fans of Pakistan or the game of cricket in Pakistan.

I didnt earn much about the players or the game just about the hardships of being a journalist, so what!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Sheer reading pleasure 31 Mar. 2009
By Rajeev Rajagopalan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Strangely as a book on sports, this book is a poignant read- more so because of the circumstances of the present rather than the happenings in the book. The book is about, a really good attempt at friendship, an act of faith. While I write the review Mumbai has been attacked, Pakistan is on the brink of disaster and the bickering doesn't seem to stop. This book should be mandatory reading.
The book is set in 2004 with India coming off a high of sorts recording a test win in Australia. The Indian team was set to visit Pakistan for a historic series as a sign of thawing of relationships. Pakistan had an awesome record against India and the series promised to be enthralling. The book - part travelogue, part history and for the most part sports captures every moment in lyrical prose.
The book begins with the unveiling of the preparations for the tour, furious debates on security, high handedness and showdowns galore before the party kicks off. Endless queues to get visas and finally the author sets foot in Pakistan and here's where the poetry starts. Quaint characters populate the book, there is loads of hospitality showered and the author uses his connections to reach out to the powers that matter behind Pakistani cricket. The matches - each of them epics by themselves is the stuff of DVD memorabilia by itself(there are classics from Inzamam, VVS, Dravid and Sehwag with the bat, Balaji , Shoaib and Irfan with the ball), but what clicks with the reader is the descriptions of life on the street, the remarkable richness of the culture described. Some of the interviews are downright hilarious- Abdul Quadir at his bombastic best, Shoaib Akhtar shooting his mouth off, but incredibly interesting is the visits to a Sufi Urs, the Wagah border face off.
The book is a gem- an intricate weave, and would rank as one of the best works of sports writing. I wonder if the gates ever open again as wide as it did during this series, but am thankful that this book got smuggled through. If everyone reads it wounds may heal again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A cricketing masterpiece 14 Mar. 2010
By @souvikstweets - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bhattacharya's Pundits from Pakistan is a quite delectable read. It is the story of India's tour of Pakistan in 2003-04 - a series of 3 tests & 5 ODI matches - the atmosphere is charged, the historicity is palpable, & cricket matches find themselves elevated beyond regular sporting contests & become meaningful to the ideas of individual accomplishments & national aspirations.

It is the story of the delightful Abdul Qadir, the tale of the Kaneria family, the growing up of the Rawalpindi express, the Lahori view of the cricketing world, & provincial ambitions fighting for their place in the cricketing limelight. It is the story of administrative goof-ups, of a beleaguered captain & his hometown, of incredible hospitalities strewn into the fabric of daily grind & disarray.

And the matches themselves, as they play out, fit into this frenzy of expectations & hopes, rising & receding, swaying like a slightly drunken man & vacillating like a question of philosophy. There is disparaging annhilation, & there is tantalizing swing. There is collapse & there is a clinical chase. There is the hidden Dravid double century & the hotly debated Dravid declaration. Pakistan topped the ODI batting & bowling aggregates & lost; India topped the test batting & bowling averages & won.

For those of you who are interested in cricket beyond the strokes & adrenalin, I'd recommend this book very highly.

@souvikstweets
The Next Naipaul? 16 Feb. 2011
By Ka - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Rahul Bhattacharya is not an unfamiliar name to readers of Cricinfo. His writing is very fresh and very very quote-worthy. And he has a take on cricket that is truly unique- read this if you need proof. So when I chanced upon a copy of his `Pundits from Pakistan' at Blossoms, I needed little persuasion to shell out Rs 225 for it. And as if his writings on Cricinfo were not advertisement enough, Messrs. Roebuck and Guha are there to endorse his writing on the back cover.

`Pundits from Pakistan' is the story of a scribe's journey across Pakistan in early 2003-04, tailing the Indian cricket team as it made its first extended tour of that country for fourteen years (there was a 3 ODI tour in 1997, memorable only for a last over six by Rajesh Chauhan in the second game and a violation of India's bowling by Ejaz Ahmed in the final one-dayer). This tour was part of the Vajpayee regime's attempts to improve relations with our brutally separated Siamese twins and Bhattacharya's writing captures the fraternal goodwill that Pakistanis of all kinds showed the visiting Indians during that tour.

The happenings unfold in a chronological manner beginning with the Indian team's concerns about security and the factors that influenced the Indian Government's decision to send a team to Pakistan despite the cricketer's second thoughts. It provides a gripping account of each game, interspersing it with colorful vignettes on Pakistanis, some well-known, others not so. I remember watching the matches as a class twelve student and have rather fond memories of that tour (positive experiences to justify the exam results?). Bhattacharya's account served to awaken those memories. Lying sprawled on a couch, I relived the moments- Balaji's sixes, Sachin and Inzamam's batting, the opening one-dayer, Sehwag's triple, Gul's fifer, Kumble's spell at Multan, Yuvraj's hundred, Dravid's 270 as Bhattacharya brought them back to life one by one.

Sample this para describing day three of the 2nd test:

"Sweet languor descended after the Irfan strikes. Over after over ticked by, no wickets, no runs.. lolling in cricket's silly lap, it was vastly comforting, watching Shoaib Akhtar, the speediest thing the world has known, do rigid defence and more rigid defence, drifting, up, up and away, cricket performing its time-honored function, drifting on a soft white cloud.. until the Express improperly awoke all with an explosion, which it turned out, was a slap of pure lust over mid-off."

In sum, we get an account of what it was like to be 24 years old, walking the streets of Karachi, Peshawar and Pindi with the high, the mighty and the common man. One can almost smell the offal roasting in Lahore's markets. Bhattacharya makes us part of the conversations that he has with Shoib Akhtar's parents, with cricket administrators, filers of PILs and legends of the game. Anecdotes abound and there a few colourful ones featuring the usual suspects- Javed, Sehwag, Ganguly and Inzamam.

That Bhattacharya is one of the best writers on cricket is well known. That he is a travel writer of the Sir Naipaul mold is something that I definitely wasn't expecting. This is an author who's going to interest anyone who can decipher the twin languages of English and Cricket.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5-star product with 1-star Marketplace experience 19 July 2011
By GoStanford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is difficult to find, and I purchased it as a present. It was shipped from a publisher in New Delhi, and I will restrict my comments here to the book itself, other than to say that the Marketplace experience was poor (including no notification of a very delayed shipment), and amazon.com's response to it was suboptimal.

The recipient is enjoying the book, and the quality of the book itself (printing, cover, visuals) is very good. If you are searching for this book, expect that it will take 6-8 weeks to receive it successfully. As you might expect from other comments, Mr. Bhattacharya's writing is detailed and evocative.
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