What sells more than cricket? Cricket controversies, obviously. From the 1932-33 Bodyline chapter, which threatened diplomatic relations between England and Australia, to the match-fixing scandal, which irrevocably damaged the clean image of the game, cricket’s rich history is replete with incidents that shook the very foundation of the sport.
Then, there are other talking points like the Packer series, which revolutionised the game, or “Mankading”, which exposed the hypocrisy of the western world. These, and several such dramatic developments, have been dealt with in a concise manner without compromising on details to give even the lay reader a basic understanding of the subject in question.
Courage, Conviction, Controversy and Cricket, written by veteran cricket journalist Vedam Jaishankar, thus makes for compelling reading.
There already is a lot of material available on almost all the topics chosen for this book. Therefore, the challenge such a piece of work faces is presentation designed to capture the reader’s interest. The author manages to satisfy both the casual follower and the serious student of the game.
Stirring of emotions
The book begins with one of cricket’s biggest controversies, Bodyline, a strategy employed by England to contain the prolific Don Bradman. The tactics, conceived by skipper Douglas Jardine and executed perfectly by pacers Harold Larwood and Bill Voce, were highly successful as they severely hampered Bradman’s scoring and the touring Englishmen won the series 4-1.
While Bradman’s travails during that series are well-known (it’s another matter that he still averaged more than 50), the exchanges between the Australian