Agassi, Harry Potter on cricketer’s reading list: Survey

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NEW DELHI - Cricketers have time to read too despite their gruelling schedule both on and off the pitch and they have their favourites, a new survey says.

India’s Virat Kohli and Australia’s Shane Watson recall being inspired by tennis star Andre Agassi’s book, “Open”, Tamim Iqbal of Bangladesh is still hooked to J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” while Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi is fond of Muhammed Zakariya Kandhlawi’s “Fazail-E-Amaal”, the survey by international literacy organisation Room to Read, the charity partner for the ICC World Cup, has revaled.

The literary fancies of the cricketers are varied, though they bound by a common passion of racy and inspirational reading material. One member of each of the 14 participating teams have contributed to the survey with their favourite book, a statement issued by Room to Read late Tuesday said.

“I have read many books but my favourite book is Andre Agassi’s autobiography ‘Open’. He describes his thoughts and emotions so well that he transports the reader into the moment in time with Agassi. He is an amazing man with an amazing story,” Shane Watson said.

Tamin Iqbal steps into Harry Potter’s shoes every time he picks up a J.K. Rowling book. “That is Rowling’s power. At times, I feel I can do anything while reading ‘Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone’ was so engaging that I read day and night and at every break,” Iqbal said.

Canadian team member Zubin Surkari cites “Life” by Keith Richards as his favourite book, while England’s Luke Wright still reads “Goosebumps” by R.L. Stein. George Orwell’s “1984″ tops Ireland’s Ed Joyce’s list of favourite books.

Being a closet rock musician, Surkari “identifies with the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards”.

“His autobiography (’Life’) was a great look into the life of someone society had labelled a rebel and trouble maker. On the contrary, his life, although extreme and at times dangerous started amid humble beginning in what seemed a normal family upbringing with massive passion for all varieties of music. The book delivers full value on his many years of experience and that of the Rolling Stones,” Surkari said.

Joyce said he read Orwell’s “1984″ when I was 14. “I can’t remember loving reading something as much as I did this book. It was scary and clever in equal measure and I think I finished reading it in a couple of sittings,” he said.

Steve Tikolo of Kenya draws inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom” and Peter Borren of the Netherlands was deeply affected by Pascal Mercier’s “Night Train to Lisbon”.

Tikolo said “When he heard Nleson Mandela’s biography was on sale, he told himself this was a book he must read”. “I have always admired him for his humility and sacrifices he made for the people of South Africa,” he said.

Kane Williamson of New Zealand likes to read the “Jack Reach” series by Lee Child while Wayne Parell of South Africa is fond of Stephen King. “The Stand” is his favourite book.

Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathew looks to “Talent Is Never Enough” by John Maxwell for inspiration and Suleiman Benn of the West Indies has picked up several survival lifelines from “Supercat: The Authorised Biography of Clive Lloyd”.

Zimbabwe’s Graeme Cremer was influnced by cyclist Lance Amstrong’s “It’s Not About the Bike”.

Room to Read has been trying to transform the lives of millions of children across Asia and Africa by advocating gender equality in education. It supports women’s literarcy by sponsoring secondary education for girls and imparting relevant life skills to them.

The organisation has already benefitted 4.1 million youngsters in nine countries with educational scholarships. It has distributed more than eight million English and local language books and established 10,000 libraries and over 1,100 schools.

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