‘Indian Innings: The Journey of Indian Cricket from 1947’, edited by Ayaz Memon narrates the history of Indian cricket through earlier published reports of journalists who enjoyed a ringside view of the action.
Ayaz Memon, a prominent sports journalist in India, has done a commendable job putting together an anthology that spotlights some of the finest writing on the game. The anthology touches upon all the major inflection points in Indian cricket since 1947. Ayaz is meticulous and has succeeded in casting a journalist’s eye on the coverage of the sport in the country.
“Primarily it was the lack of enough published material on the period between 1947 and 1971. I deep-dived into the archives of some leading national dailies, and while there are reports of most matches, these are mainly from news agencies or carried no bylines, which defeated the original concept. In a way, this highlights the beleaguered state of sports journalism in the 1950s and 60s. Things started to improve in 1971, the year of India’s cricket renaissance, and caught speed after India won the World Cup in 1983,” Menon writes in the foreword about the motivation for the book.
While two of the essays — Makarand Waingankar on Tiger Pataudi and Harsha Bhogle’s “Cricket with Pakistan” — are freshly minted, the rest are evergreen. Ayaz has used match reports, screaming headlines, and scorecards to convey the flavor and tenor of the 1950s and 60s.
The book also features articles by Shashi Tharoor, historian Ramachandra Guha, novelist Shobhaa De and Prithi Narayanan, wife of off-spinner R Ashwin.