Aditya Sharma’s book “Champs of Devgarh” narrates the story of school students growing up with complete devotion to cricket
Cricket has been rightly termed religion in India. And when it features in a book, everyone becomes curious to know about it. At the recently concluded New Delhi World Book Fair which focussed mainly on children’s literature, Penguin Books India launched “Champs of Devgarh” which deals with the game and children. The book written by Aditya Sharma, editor, Reader’s Digest in Mumbai was unveiled by Murali Kartik, the left-arm spinner who represented India from 2000 to 2007.
The launch was attended by a number of cricket fans who came to see their favourite player and to get some cricket tips. Aditya said that it was his pleasure to get the book released by a cricketer of such a great stature. Aditya who grew up in Sonepat, aspired to be a cricketer but when his childhood dream went for a toss, he pursued law and practised couple of years in his hometown until he discovered he wanted to be a writer. Starting his career by freelancing for many national newspapers and magazines and he moved on to his current job.
Releasing the book Kartik said, “The book has been written by a person who wanted to be a good cricketer, so it is worth reading especially for those who have interest in cricket.” Elaborating the role of a coach in cricket, Kartrik stated, “It is the coach only who gives you all round development. Not only the professional training but he also makes you emotionally strong too”. Asked about the new talent from small towns and villages who did not get an appropriate platform, he said now there was no demarcation between those who hail from the metros and those from small towns. “Today many players in our cricket team come from small towns. So one should play with dedication and try honestly.”
The book, set in a fictional town Devgarh, is about players of the Star Eleven cricket team studying in Holy Mission School. Captained by Ajay but led by Aakash, the team, both individually and together, get into one scrap after another with only one goal in sight — being the best cricketing side in Devgarh. In the process of following their dream, they go through a whole gamut of experiences, like learning the value of money and honesty, victory, defeat, first love, all of which transforms them into champs of Devgarh. Asked about Ruskin Bond’s comment that the book took him “back to R.K. Narayan’s Swami and Friends’,” Aditya said, “I have imbibed from R. K. Narayan”.