Going Places: Small town cricketers making it big (Book Review)

By Mauli Buch, IANS
Monday, February 7, 2011

Book: “Going Places: India’s small town cricket Heroes”; Author: K.R. Guruprasad; Publisher: Penguin; Pages: 166; Price: Rs.199.

With the 2011 Cricket World Cup just a few days away, a Mumbai-based sports journalist tells the story of 11 cricketers from small towns who made it to international cricket with style.

The story is about Indian players whose sparse means did not deter them from starting to play the game with a mere notebook or a flat piece of wood as a bat and a round something as a ball.

‘Going Places’ talks about these 11 who came from lower-middle-class backgrounds, some even poor, but that did not stop them from earning the India cap and inspiring millions of youngsters.

The book is not about how many wickets Harbhajan Singh took in how many matches, it is about how his father slept hungry to save money to fund his game.

It is not about Ravindra Jadeja’s statistics and match figures, but his coach who made him just pluck out the weeds from the wicket and field for more than six months.

It tells how S. Sreesanth during his early days when he faced consistent rejection drew a picture of himself and wrote ‘Rejected Piece’ on it and pinned it to his wall to motivate himself.

The book subtly states how difficult it is for a budding cricketer from a small town to even reach the one lone cricket ground shared by a couple of towns. This apart, it is about the ordeal that people close to these cricketers go through to make them what they are today.

The author, an avid cricket fan himself, while growing up in a small town called Bellary on the Andhra-Karnataka border used to wake up neighbours early morning so that he would watch cricket matches on their television sets.

The book is for those wanting to know the people who have tirelessly worked behind the cricketers. The hardships a player goes through, not just with respect to the game but also on the personal front.

With writing that will form vivid visuals in a reader’s mind, it describes the cricket of a small town.

The 11 men featured in this book are: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, S.Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Iqbal Abdullah, Ashok Dinda, Suresh Raina, R. Vinay Kumar, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar and Virender Sehwag.

Six of them are part of Indian team for the World Cup.

(Mauli Buch can be contacted at mauli.b@ians.in)

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