FOCUS M.S. Dhoni is the subject of three recent biographies, a welcome development in a market characterised by a dearth of sports books
Donald Bradman was a great subject for cricket writers. Some of the best cricket literature was dedicated to this Australian, who also penned an autobiography Farewell To Cricket , a book that has seen many reprints; just as Brightly Fades The Don by Jack Fingleton.
Cricket books have always found a market in Australia and England. Publishers encourage sportsmen to pen their autobiographies and sports scribes contribute biographies, authorised and otherwise, in a good number.
The sub-continent, despite the crazy following for the game, has remained disappointingly slow in producing cricket books. Few cricketers have looked at the possibilities of sharing their experience with their fans even though Sunil Gavaskar had set the trend in 1976 when he wrote Sunny Days , an autobiography, barely five years after his international debut.
There has been a dearth of sports books in India for various reasons, lack of interest among the players being the prime one. It thus comes as a change when someone like M. S. Dhoni has three books on him, of course, none being an authorised work.
After Gulu Ezekiel’s Captain Cool in 2008, brought out by Westland, Rajshekhar Rao’s book on Dhoni, published by Ocean Paperbacks in 2009, earned good reviews. Ezekiel, who also has unauthorised biographies of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly to his credit, has updated his work with a new cover, stats, photos and a chapter that includes the triumphs at the Champions Trophy and the subsequent tri series in the West Indies.
An addition to the books on Dhoni is seasoned journalist Shantanu Guha Ray’s offering titled MAHI, The Story of India’s Most Successful Captain , published by Roli Books.
Ray took his time to finish the book, travelling to Dhoni’s home town, met many important people in the cricketer’s life and drew on his own interactions with the India captain to piece together a narration that is easy reading. Dhoni’s achievements are the reasons for these three authors to have set aside time to write. Ray has many anecdotes and references, some too well-known to be included in a book released nine years after Dhoni’s debut, but the essence on local flavour is the standout feature.