The Early years:
My fascination with cricket started early only to be embellished and further accentuated by being introduced to cricket literature. Watching cricket is fun , playing it as a kid(and even now) is enormous fun but reading about it, especially writings of fine prose, tops it all. I was first introduced to it by my maternal uncle Anand Mama, when i was about seven years old, who suggested that i read the sports pages of The Hindu, which contained descriptions of daily play by R.Mohan, who wrote crisp short pieces, and also Ted Corbett who combined evocation with mild technical detail. I was immediately hooked. Recently, when I couldn’t watch the Ashes of 2006-07 in Australia, I consoled myself by reading Corbett’s gentle descriptions cloaked amidst his increasing despair of reconciling himself to the fact that England where going to be whitewashed for the first time since Warwick Armstrong’s team routed them five-nil in the days of yore(1920-21).
The Sportstar(a sports magazine published by The Hindu group)was a kind of elixir when I was in my early teens for sports mad schoolboys. My forays into it was shared by my friend Srinath at school . We delved into its essays every Wednesday morning with fascination and incorporated with relish some puns and sentences into literature homeworks. Harsha Bhogle wrote some fine pieces about myriad players like Sidhu and Robin Singh( i still remember one remarkable sentence that he used to characterize the latter’s spirited play; when he compared him to Tendulkar he used the sentence: “Separated by the largesse of gods , united by the spirit of man. “).Among other columnists I enjoyed were Rohit Brijnath, Bobby Simpson, Vijay Parthasarathy and occassionally Brian Glanville who wrote about soccer. Rereading the Sportstar during my undergraduate days was great fun.
Elaborations on books will follow in a future post.