Shadows Across the Playing Field 75 Years of India-Pakistan Cricket

Shashi Tharoor and Shaharyar Khan, Edited by David Page

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Shadows Across the Playing Field tells the story of the turbulent cricketing relations between India and Pakistan through the eyes of Shashi Tharoor and Shaharyar Khan, who bring to the task not only great love of the game but also deep knowledge of subcontinental politics and diplomacy.

Shashi Tharoor, a former UN Under-Secretary-General and man of letters, is a passionate outsider, whose comprehensive, entertaining and hard-hitting analysis of seventy-five years of cricketing history displays a Nehruvian commitment to secular values, which rejects sectarianism in sport in either country.

Shaharyar Khan, a former Pakistan Foreign Secretary, is very much the insider, who writes compellingly of his pivotal role as team manager and then Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board at a time when cricket was in the forefront of détente between the two countries.

In their essays, the two authors trace the growing popularization of cricket from the days of the Bombay Pentangular to the Indian Premier League. They show how politics and cricket became intertwined and assess the impact it has had on the game. But above all the book is a celebration of the talent of the many great cricketers who have captivated audiences on both sides of the border. If politics and terrorism can at times stop play, cricket is also a force for peace and healthy competition.

Shashi Tharoor worked for the United Nations in various humanitarian, peace-keeping and management roles for nearly thirty years and was Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information during the tenure of Kofi Annan. Currently a Lok Sabha MP representing the Thiruvananthapuram constituency, he is an acclaimed novelist, author and newspaper columnist. His non-fiction titles include An Era of Darkness (2016), The Paradoxical Prime Minister (2018) and The Battle of Belonging: On Nationalism, Patriotism, and what it means to be Indian (2020). He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Indian cricket, which he has followed avidly from afar, and has played in such cricketing hotbeds as Singapore and Geneva.

Shaharyar Khan had a long and distinguished career as a diplomat, retiring as Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary in 1994. He had earlier served as Ambassador to Jordan and France as well as High Commissioner to London. On retirement, he was appointed the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Rwanda. He was born in Bhopal and educated at Cambridge University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston. He has had a lifelong interest in cricket and over the past ten years has played a pivotal role in cricketing relations between India and Pakistan. He was manager of the Pakistan cricket team that toured India in 1999 and served as Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board from December 2003 to October 2006. He is the author of The Begums of Bhopal (1999), The Shallow Graves of Rwanda (2000), Cricket: A Bridge of Peace (2001) and Bhopal Connections (2017).

About the Editor David Page took his doctorate in history from Oxford University and worked for more than twenty years as a writer, editor and manager in the BBC World Service. He is co-director of the Media South Asia project at the Institute for Commonwealth Studies at London University, and is the author of Prelude to Partition (1999) and co-author of Satellites over South Asia: Broadcasting, Culture and the Public Interest (2001).

Roli Books
Page Extent
224 + 16 pg insert
Published Date
25 June 2022

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