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HarperCollins : The Commonwealth of Cricket By Ramachandra Guha


HarperCollins Publishers presents The Commonwealth of Cricket, which promises to be the most interesting book on cricket of the year, with one of India’s best-regarded non-fiction authors, Ramachandra Guha, writing on a sport that is a national passion.

HarperCollins India and William Collins UK will co-publish The Commonwealth of Cricket this November. Publisher Udayan Mitra acquired the book in India and Arabella Pike, William Collins Publishing Director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding India).

When Ramachandra Guha began following the game in the early 1960s, India was utterly marginal to the world of cricket: the country still hadn’t won a Test match overseas; by the time he joined the Board of Control for Cricket in India, fifty years later, India had become world cricket’s sole superpower.

The Commonwealth of Cricket is a first-person account of this astonishing transformation. The book traces the entire arc of cricket in India, across all levels at which the game is played: school, college, club, state, country. It presents vivid portraits of local heroes, provincial icons, and international stars.

Cast as a work of literature, The Commonwealth of Cricket is keenly informed by the author’s scholarly training, the stories and sketches narrated against a wider canvas of social and historical change. The book blends memoir, anecdote, reportage and political critique, providing a rich, insightful and rivetingly readable account of this greatest of games as played in the country that has most energetically made this sport its own.

Udayan Mitra says, ‘Ramachandra Guha is quite simply one of the very best non-fiction writers we have, and every new book from him is a treat for readers. This is the story of how one of the truly exceptional minds of our times has engaged over some six decades with an endlessly fascinating game – as a player, a spectator, a fan, a writer, and a cricket administrator. The narrative is as enchanting as the spin of Bedi and Prasanna, as charming as the batting of Viswanath or Hazare; it transports us out of our present miseries into a magic world where on a lazy afternoon the willow meets leather, making the loveliest sound in the world. As a writer on cricket, Ram is one of the greatest of all time, and this is a truly extraordinary book – one of the very best ever written on the wonderful game that so many of us love. We at HarperCollins Publishers are truly privileged and delighted to bring The Commonwealth of Cricket to readers in India and around the world.’

Arabella Pike says, ‘We couldn’t be prouder to be publishing Ram, one of India’s most important writers, thinkers and commentators. This book is a beautifully crafted memoir of his lifelong passion for cricket and a story that will enchant all who love this greatest of games. We hope this is just the first of many books together.’

About the author:

Ramachandra Guha was born and raised in the Himalayan foothills. He studied in Delhi and Kolkata, and has lived for many years in Bengaluru. His many books include a pioneering environmental history, The Unquiet Woods, a landmark history of the Republic, India after Gandhi, and an authoritative two-volume biography of Mahatma Gandhi, both of which were chosen by the New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year. Having previously taught at Yale, Stanford and the Indian Institute of Science, he is currently distinguished University Professor at Krea University.

Guha has been a professional historian for some three decades now. He has been a cricket fanatic for three decades longer still. He says he writes on history for a living; and on cricket to live. His awards include the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History, the Daily Telegraph/Cricket Society prize (for A Corner of a Foreign Field), the R.K. Narayan Prize, and the Fukuoka Prize. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate in the humanities from Yale University.

Praise for Ramachandra Guha’s books on cricket

A Corner of a Foreign Field (2002)

‘An original, scholarly and highly entertaining work by a writer who combines the skills of biographer, anthropologist, cricket journalist and political historian.’ – David Gilmour, Spectator

‘A Corner of a Foreign Field will become—and it’s not even a professional risk to say this—a modern classic. There are bound to be comparisons with C.L.R. James’s Beyond a Boundary.’ – Sharda Ugra, India Today

The Picador Book of Cricket (2000)

‘Wide-ranging, well informed and thoughtfully put together … [T]here is enough quirkiness to balance the old guard and that combination ensures the almost relentless excellence of this collection.’ – Tim Rice, Literary Review

‘This is a dangerous book to read in public places. The sudden laughter it provokes will outrage fellow train travellers … I do not intend to lend this volume to a single soul.’ – Gillian Reynolds, Wisden Cricket Monthly

Spin and Other Turns (1994)

‘A book of high quality … Guha ranges widely over matters other than Indian cricket and his writing has a warmth and perception admirable in one whose early studies and adherences were of Marxism.’ – Alan Ross, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack

Wickets in the East (1992)

‘This is V.S. Naipaul without the gloom. [Like Naipaul] Ramachandra Guha traces the character of a fraternity through the stories that are told about its elements … The best book on cricket by an Indian writer.’ – Suresh Menon, Indian Express

Publishing on 18 November 2020 from Fourth Estate, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

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