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Thread: The importance of cricket history and literature . . .

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    SJS
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    The importance of cricket history and literature . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by kyear2 View Post
    Great Work again SJS.

    The two reserves should be Amar Singh and Mohammad Azharuddin?
    Quote Originally Posted by watson View Post
    With the benefit of hindsight should we have selected Amar Singh to partner Dev and Srinath?
    Quote Originally Posted by NUFAN View Post
    No. Amar Singh should have been in there for sure.
    Quoted above are the three of the latest posts from the thread India ATG Team- Open Voting. These were sent after I had posted on the thread stuff about the fast medium L Amar Singh of India who played seven Tests in the 1930's

    I thank these posters for their response and here is the reason why? . . . and it has nothing to do with being satisfied that I may have won an argument in the debate . . .

    I have often been thanked for taking the trouble of fishing out the quotes from so many different books and then typing them out. This is laborious work and even though I am retired, I have plenty of interests in life that demand my time besides a wife who is fed up of the books that start piling up on the dining table as I go and bring them (sometimes in their dozens) from my library at the other end of the house and then leave them on the table and the chairs where they lie, often overnight and sometime for days till I am done with them.

    So you get the drift, it IS quite a job for, obviously, I do not remember all this stuff by heart and, to make matters worse, I am one of those one finger typists

    Why do I do it then. Here is why.

    I was not quoting so extensively from other resources during my earlier years on CW, I just wrote what I thought on a subject.While I have always been gratified for the response that I got from a large number of members (and the large number of friends I made in the process) it was not all positive. This in itself did not bother me for to win popular acclaim was not the reason why I started posting on CW some 8-9 years ago. In fact, I had no time in those days since I was working and in a high pressure job and had to sit up at nights mostly to write on CW. I was disappointed because I felt my object of writing here was not being met. I was very keen to get the cricket lovers (and we have had some of the most passionate cricket lovers here on CW) to think beyond the statistics, specially for those cricketers they did not have the good fortune to see in flesh and blood or, at least, on the TV.

    I am older (63 next month) and have been a cricket lover for half a century and more so I have seen more but that alone does not make me a cricket pundit. What I was writing on CW (not the quotes which came later) were the opinions I had formed about cricketers of the past based on what I had read about them over the last fifty years. No one can, amongst cricket fans and writers, claim any special wisdom or knowledge about the game which they have not acquired from other sources (besides watching the game) and this is something available to everyone.

    I know cricket books are expensive and I have not been fortunate enough to own so many except in the latter part of my life but it was not very difficult to try and get hold of whatever I could of what was written by the great writers and former cricketers and read it. This is what made me see beyond statistics.

    It came as a big shock to me when I first realised as a teenager that Jim Laker was not everyone's choice for the best spinner, let alone best bowler of any kind. I had to read to find out why they thought so. I also realised that there were those who, and these included some legendary cricketers, who did not think Bradman was the greatest cricketer of all time - some did not even think he was the greatest batsman - although their numbers have almost completely dried up over time. I had to read the stuff. I read it not always to agree with what was written but to see that there was another point of view and another perspective. These people never referred ONLY to statistics. So I learnt that Bradman was reduced to a much more moderate level on bad wickets while Jack Hobbs was not. On good tracks, which Bradman rightly argued he was not going to meet many anyway, the Australian was going to score much more heavily than anyone who ever lifted a cricket bat.

    I learnt about what these players were REALLY capable of, what there skills were and how the statistics did not always reflect the relative merits of players - they rarely do by themselves.

    I learnt why someone like George Gunn was considered was considered a genius with the bat and why Archie Jackson, with such a tragically short career, was considered the finest young batsmen of a generation which included Bradman.

    I also learnt that while the most authentic and reliable commentary on a player came from those he played with or against they did not, at least in the earlier years. express strong opinions. Language was moderated. In any event very few cricketers actually wrote in those days and even fewer were good at it. However, quite a few of those who had retired from the game continued as journalists, commentators and writers and their accounts were more specific and less diplomatic.

    The game was also lucky to have writers who had either played the game at some decent level or were very knowledgeable about its technical aspects and nuances. The best of them had unfettered access to the stars of the day and spent a hell of a lot of time in the company of cricketers so as to bring to the reader a more authentic account than, sadly, the mushrooming of cricket writers today does. But we have less need for today's writers to tell us about today's cricket and cricketers. We can see it for ourselves, live, and from all parts of the world - and if we know about the game we can form good opinions about the current players as long as we are habituated to look beyond statistics which, sadly, many modern writers too do not do - but they cater to an audience.

    The problem of knowing about cricketers of the times before ours, however, remains as acute today as it did at any earlier period and for this we have to rely on acquired knowledge and this has to come from written sources - and multiple sources. This is all that it takes to know the game and its heroes, past and present better. The rest of what anyone does (including yours truly at a more modest level) is to use the gift of the language which is about presentation and nothing more.

    So the point of what I have started here is that all of us, me included, need to read about the game and its history. Not just to win an argument, which I do agree is an important bit part of being a passionate cricket fan, but about being a better informed passionate cricket fan, Trust me it is a very rewarding activity - reading the game's great and vast literature including about its technical nuances and their evolution. Do it.

    It will make your involvement with the game so much more enjoyable and satisfying, watching it such an enhanced pleasure and debating at CW and elsewhere such a fulfilling and meaningful exercise.

    PS : I have started a new thread for this subject for I know there are so many very knowledgeable members of CW who will have lots to add to what I have written first thing this morning before I rush to the loo.
    Last edited by SJS; 10-01-2013 at 10:01 PM.

  2. #2
    SJS
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    I missed something there.

    So when I found that what I was writing about the game's history and former greats was not getting through, not because people disagreed but because they invariably used statistics in some form or the other to make their point sound more valid, I realised I was not able to get my point across. What I thought then was that this may have to do with the fact that I am not considered an authority they should take the word of as authentic. The stats WERE authentic and so could be used to counter whatever I was saying.

    I decided to tell them that what I was saying, particularly about cricketers before my time, was not my personal opinion in its originality, but an opinion formed through the writings of those whose word carried more weight and these were people whose opinions needed to be considered. I was just a messenger. I decided to make my messenger status clearer by quoting directly from original sources. In fact I decided to let those ghosts from the past post here on CW. By the way, I have noticed how much people get excited when anyone known to be connected to the game (irrespective of how big a personality) there is such a buzz. So-and-so said so does matter. So I decided to bring the REALLY big cricket celebrities to come and say their piece on a subject and they have allways recieved the welcome they deserve.

    It was, and is, a very tedious job as I have already mentioned but it has its plusses as well as minuses. The pros mainly consist of making me revisit some of my old readings, which is a pleasure always and which, by the way, sometimes is a revelation to me as well for one forgets a few things. On the minus side, besides the back-breaking work, is the impossibility to find the source to all the stuff I have in my head. I faced this problem with Amar Singh the other day. I do not have a catalogue of what is where in my library particularly when we are talking about a passing (less than half a page) reference to a person in a book whose title may give no clue to its (the reference's) existence inside.

    Yet I guess it does help because people do look at it and think.

    Think is the operative word here. I did not say, "people do change their mind". That has never been my intention whenever I have written here. But we all owe it to ourselves and to our passions to be more aware of them.

    After that you still have to make up your own minds. Remember there is nothing wrong in disagreeing with Bradman on O'Rielly being better than Grimmett. Similarly there is nothing wrong in disagreeing with O'Rielly who said Bradman was wrong. The important thing is to read what both have to say, and the others who were in a position to comment authentically and with credibility and then form one's own opinion.

    Just remember, if you can disagree with Bradman, the next man on CW can and will disagree with you
    Last edited by SJS; 10-01-2013 at 09:31 PM.

  3. #3
    State Vice-Captain JBMAC's Avatar
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    Well said SJS
    Keep Your Feet on The Ground,Keep Reaching for The Stars!

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    School Boy/Girl Captain cricmahanty's Avatar
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    Thoroughly enjoyed your write-up, SJS. The fact that the reading habits of the majority of the modern cricket-following folk are very much on the wane is disturbing indeed. And we'll soon be in for a dearth of good, aesthetic cricket-writers as well. I've read a bit of Gideon Haigh and he's one of the few modern cricket writers who appeal to me. The other name that comes to mind is of Rahul Bhattcharya.

    However, I yearn to read Cardus, CLR James, Ashley Mallett and other such brilliant writers on the game whose works, I'm assuming, you'd have read. While I enjoy cricketing literature very much, I unfortunately do not have either the source for reading the works done by the names I've mentioned above or I'm not yet old enough to arrange for the finances of it all. Your cricket library sounds so enthralling an idea and I must confess that's exactly what I've dreamt of preoccupying myself with when I'm your age and am free from the cobwebs of studies and work. I guess only time will tell whether I'll be able to realise this dream of mine or not but at present, your seemingly large collection of cricket books does make me envious of you.

    And oh, I might be only 19 but I too am a one-finger typist, like you.
    Last edited by cricmahanty; 12-01-2013 at 06:56 AM.


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    School Boy/Girl Captain cricmahanty's Avatar
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    Yes, Aakash has an insight into the game. I find his views to be balanced and yet, at the same time, striking. He probably has two books to his name so far.

    One is titled 'Beyond the Blues: A First-Class Season Like No Other.' And it is based on his 2007-08 domestic season. And the other came out in 2011 and is titled 'Out Of The Blue'. It is based on Rajasthan's unexpected Ranji win in the 2010/11 season.

    I plan to give both books a read. Both have been acclaimed critically and should provide a good, detailed reflection into India's domestic cricket, it's highs and it's lows.

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    School Boy/Girl Captain cricmahanty's Avatar
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    How come one of the posts disappeared ?

    My above post was a reply to what someone had to say on Aakash Chopra and his contribution to Cricinfo's articles.

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    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by cricmahanty View Post
    Thoroughly enjoyed your write-up, SJS. The fact that the reading habits of the majority of the modern cricket-following folk are very much on the wane is disturbing indeed. And we'll soon be in for a dearth of good, aesthetic cricket-writers as well. I've read a bit of Gideon Haigh and he's one of the few modern cricket writers who appeal to me. The other name that comes to mind is of Rahul Bhattcharya.

    However, I yearn to read Cardus, CLR James, Ashley Mallett and other such brilliant writers on the game whose works, I'm assuming, you'd have read. While I enjoy cricketing literature very much, I unfortunately do not have either the source for reading the works done by the names I've mentioned above or I'm not yet old enough to arrange for the finances of it all. Your cricket library sounds so enthralling an idea and I must confess that's exactly what I've dreamt of preoccupying myself with when I'm your age and am free from the cobwebs of studies and work. I guess only time will tell whether I'll be able to realise this dream of mine or not but at present, your seemingly large collection of cricket books does make me envious of you.

    And oh, I might be only 19 but I too am a one-finger typist, like you.
    When is your next birthday ?

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    School Boy/Girl Captain cricmahanty's Avatar
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    Ah, that was sudden. It went by only last month. The 30th of December is when I have my birthday, dear Sir.

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    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by cricmahanty View Post
    Ah, that was sudden. It went by only last month. The 30th of December is when I have my birthday, dear Sir.
    Where in India do you live?

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    School Boy/Girl Captain cricmahanty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    Where in India do you live?
    My hometown is Patna. But I'm pursuing my higher studies at Haldia in W.B., it's about 90-odd kms off Kolkata.

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    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by cricmahanty View Post
    My hometown is Patna. But I'm pursuing my higher studies at Haldia in W.B., it's about 90-odd kms off Kolkata.
    send me your address at swaranjs@gmail.com

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend smalishah84's Avatar
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    wow.....you might get a nice b'day gift I reckon cricmahanty
    And smalishah's avatar is the most classy one by far Jan certainly echoes the sentiments of CW

    Yeah we don't crap in the first world; most of us would actually have no idea what that was emanating from Ajmal's backside. Why isn't it roses and rainbows like what happens here? PEWS's retort to Ganeshran on Daemon's picture depicting Ajmal's excreta

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    Quote Originally Posted by smalishah84 View Post
    wow.....you might get a nice b'day gift I reckon cricmahanty
    Look out everyone, Sherlock Holmes is in the house.
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    Kohli. Do something in test cricket for once please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS View Post
    send me your address at swaranjs@gmail.com
    Done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by benchmark00 View Post
    Look out everyone, Sherlock Holmes is in the house.



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