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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping book on Indian cricket, 5 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India (Wisden Sports Writing) (Kindle Edition)
The author James Astill started to write this book about India's IPL, how it has impacted test cricket and how it is likely to affect the global game in the future. He felt that this would be too narrow and hence goes back in time to the early years of Indian cricket in the 19th century and traces how it has evolved to the current day IPL.

The author is comprehensive in his research. He has interviewed current and former players, administrators, TV commentators, journalists, Bollywood stars, the guy on the street and people in slums including some who have worked for the treacherous underworld.

The interviews with Lalit Modi, Niranjan Shah, Arvind Pujara (the current cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara's father), Vinod Kambli, Salim and Preity Zinta are interesting and the conclusions that he draws are quite perceptive.

Although the author likes test cricket and the traditions of the game, he analyses the IPL objectively by considering the happiness it brings to its mostly Indian fans as well as the havoc that it is wreaking on test match cricket.

He uses cricket as the lens to view how the political and economic landscape of India has changed through the decades.

In keeping with The Economist's views (the author was the magazine's South Asia Bureau chief between 2007 and 2010), he is pro-Congress and anti-BJP. He is quick to point out Narendra Modi's negligence in controlling the Guajarat riots but is less severe on the Congress and does not mention their divisive caste-based vote bank politics.

The author maintains The Economist's time honoured tradition of being sloppy with the facts on Hindu religion. (One of this magazine's surveys, on India, frivolously referred to the Congress Party's members as followers of advaita philosophy and the Janata Dal's members as followers of dvaita philosophy) He refers to the Vedas, as opposed to the correct term Varnas, to refer to the main four main castes in Indian society - Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras.

Overall, a wonderful book on cricket although I would like to have seen more mention and illustration of the BCCI's bullying behaviour on both the ICC and other playing nations.
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