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VIJAY LOKAPALLY
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Books Love for cricket brings Don Bradman and Vaibhav Vats on the same pitch

Two cricket books with diverse appeal. One is a celebration of a team and the other a celebration of the game itself. Don Bradman and Vaibhav Vats have little in common. Bradman scorched cricket fields with his impeccable batsmanship. Vats, a passionate lover of the game and now a writer, grew up in Delhi and followed the exploits of the Indian team at the 2011 World Cup. His travels took the shape of a delightful cricket account while Bradman’s observations were penned more than six decades ago as a guide for budding youngsters.

Vats took a while to narrate his world cup journey. Triumph in Bombay, Travels During The Cricket World Cup , published by Penguin Viking, takes you around the sub-continent with this young writer capturing the mood of the nation brilliantly, especially his observations on the train to Dhaka. The Maitree Express launches Vats’ wonderfully expressive cricket journey that culminates with the triumph that MS Dhoni and his men registered so convincingly at Mumbai.

There is a laudable quality that sets Vats apart when he documents in detail the local aura surrounding cricket. He brings out Bangladesh’s obsession with the game through his interactions with people. “I am sad to leave Dhaka,” he writes at the end of the opening chapter. It sums up his experience.

Vats’ views on the Ferozeshah are accurate. “The Kotla is more than simple ugliness; it is rowdiness, unruly mobs and an overzealous police. The stadium is wholly lacking in unity,” he is acerbic but accurate. The author brings alive some of the magical moments from the World Cup. Much of it is well crafted but why did it take two years for this fine book to hit the market? Only Vats can answer.

How To Play Cricket is as relevant as it was when Bradman was the most sought-after cricketer on earth. Revived by Orient Publishing, it is a compact presentation of Bradman’s idea of cricket with dedicated chapters discussing various aspects of the game. “Herein, you will find no difficult scientific explanations. Practical common sense in one’s play is very often more effective than any textbook can be,” writes Bradman. The book provides an insight into the technical details concerning batting, bowling, fielding and also running between wickets. There is a superb chapter on selecting a bat and preparing the blade. How To Play Cricket discusses the correct way of playing the game, so tellingly signified by Bradman. It can be a handy manual for a youngster taking his first steps in the world of cricket.

Triumph in Bombay and How To Play Cric ket are welcome additions to your cricket library.

VIJAY LOKAPALLY

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