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Author: Shashi Tharoor
Publisher: Roli Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788174367181
Shadows across the Playing Field tells the story of the turbulent cricketing relations between India and Pakistan through the eyes of two men - Shashi Tharoor and Shaharyar Khan - who bring to the task not only great love of the game but also deep knowledge of subcontinental politics and diplomacy.
Shashi Tharoor, a former UN Under-Secretary-General and man of letters, is a passionate outsider, whose comprehensive, entertaining and hard-hitting analysis of sixty years of cricketing history displays a Nehruvian commitment to secular values, which rejects sectarianism in sport in either country. Shaharyar Khan, a former Pakistan Foreign Secretary, is very much the insider, who writes compellingly of his pivotal role as team manager and then Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board at a time when cricket was in the forefront of détente between the two countries.
In their essays, the two authors trace the growing popularization of cricket from the days of the Bombay Pentangular to the Indian Premier League. They show how politics and cricket became became intertwined and assess the impact it has had on the game. But above all the book is a celebration of the talent of the many great cricketers who have captivated audiences on both sides of the border. If politics and terrorism can at times stop play, the authors believe that cricket is also a force for peace and they look forward to more normal times and more healthy competition.
India versus Pakistan is a contest between two countries, not two communities within India. It is not the Pentangular revived; India has never fielded an all-Hindu team, and even Islamic Pakistan these matcher in communal terms is as reprehensible as covering them through military metaphors, a sin of which Indian and Pakistani journalists alike have been guilty. The tendency to see these matches as warfare by proxy is equally unfortunate. Cricket is a sport; a cricket team represents a country, it does not symbolize it. To ask cricket to bear a larger burden than any other national endeavour is palpably unfair.
A new generation of people living in the global village and with high expectations of a better life is no longer the willing slaves of government handouts, censored national media or the edicts of the politicians and agencies. They have developed a mind of their own. The basic issue is that the people crave peace and not hostility…In 2004, I sensed this public mood in the air like the onset of the monsoon. A stirring, sporting series would provide a perfect fillip to the desire for peace and the eventual resolution of issues. Carefully handled, cricket could act as a bridge of peace.
- Shaharyar Khan
Fantasies and realities
Rivalry and diplomacy