Book Review: An excellent book providing valuable insight on Mumbai's cricket culture

Bombay (or Mumbai) cricket is inseparable from Indian cricket. For years, Bombay has enjoyed its dominance in Indian cricket. But what is the reason behind it? Makarand Waingankar has analyzed it in his new book. The author of this article has reviewed it. Continue reading.

It is not possible to discuss Indian cricket without discussing Bombay (now Mumbai). Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the Mumbaikars have adopted cricket as a part and parcel of the culture of the city. The record of the city, which has been playing as an independent team since the very beginning of Ranji Trophy is remarkable. Bombay won the first Ranji Trophy in 1934-35. Till date, Bombay (now Mumbai) has won Ranji Trophy forty-one times. From 1955–56 to 1976–77, Bombay won twenty out of twenty-two titles including fifteen in a row from 1958–59 to 1972–73. Again the Mumbai players won another six Ranji Trophies from 1993–94 to 2003–04 under the new name of Mumbai.

Even in the Irani Trophy, where the Ranji Trophy winner plays the Rest of India, Bombay has stamped its dominance. It has won Irani Trophy against the Rest of India fourteen times and one the team became the joint winner.

But what is the reason behind such dominance of Mumbai in Indian cricket? In the book titled ''A Million Broken Windows The Magic and Mystique of Bombay Cricket'', the great cricket historian Dr. Makarand Waingankar has successfully tried to find the reason.

A note about the author

Dr Makarand Waingankar is a well-known figure in Indian cricket. He has served the sport in various capacities. Dr. Waingankar completed his doctorate in the history of Mumbai cricket. His doctoral thesis was on one hundred and fifty years of Mumbai cricket. He is the son of an Army Officer. He lives for cricket and has done humongous and selfless service for Indian cricket. He started off as a journalist in 1969 but quit that full-time job a few years down the line. He has worked as an administrator in various coaching schemes like BCA-Mafatlal Bowling Scheme.

Some relevant details of the book

  • Name of the book: A Million Broken Windows The Magic and Mystique of Bombay Cricket
  • Author: Makarand Waingangkar
  • Publisher: Harper Sport (HarperCollins Publisher)
  • Published in: 2015
  • Page: 275
  • Price: Rs. 399/-

Now let's know about the book

The book has been divided into ten chapters. The first chapter titled ''Khaddoos'' tells about the never-say-die attitude of the Bombay players which separates them from the players of other regions. This chapter describes in graphic details about the fighting spirit of the Bombay players at every level. It tells us how these players travel by crowded local train for more than four hours everyday and practice or play for six hours. Bombay players feel immensely proud of the Bombay Ranji cap and fight till the last to protect the honor of his team. This attitude has helped the team to snatch victory from the jaws of almost certain defeat. The second chapter titled the ''Batting Charms of Bombay'' vividly describes the learning process of Bombay batsmen. It tells us how the youngsters learn to bat in the treacherous pitches, amidst coastal rainfall in front of eagle eyes of the coaches and seniors. It describes how the senior players guide and mentor the juniors. The third chapter tells us about Bombay bowlers and some of the Bombay greats like Shivalkar, Nilesh Kulkarni and Subhash Gupte. The author here admits that Bombay players don't give much stress on bowling compared to learning the craft of batsmanship.

In the next chapter titled 'Kanga League'', the author has mentioned the important role played by the unique cricket league in Bombay to develop and strengthen cricket culture of the city. The abysmal condition of the pitches and outfields, in a peculiar way, strengthen the resolves of the players to excel. In the next chapter, the author has indulged in the most favorite pastime of the cricket lovers. He has tried to form the best Bombay XI, and in the process has discussed the cricket of some international and state geniuses with statistics. In the seventh chapter of the book, the author has compared the two best Bombay batsmen, Gavaskar and Tendulkar and found that Gavaskar has been a better batsman. Although I agree to this view, many cricket-lovers would hotly contest the claim of the author. The next chapter describes some memorable matches involving Bombay cricket team and shows how the indomitable spirit and 'khaddoos' attitude help the team to fight till the last and to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The ninth chapter mentions about the marginal degeneration of cricket of Mumbai, but I personally feel that instead of degeneration, we must acknowledge the rapid progress of many other state teams. The last chapter proves how the cricketing greats of other regions respect the attitude of Bombay players.

In conclusion

The innumerable anecdotes told by many known and unknown cricketers have been the assets of the book. It is written in a very lucid style, but critically analyses many issues like Bombay's domination in Indian cricket, the players' attitude, the matter of pride associated with Bombay cap and describes those memorable matches. Even the Appendix of the book contains many interesting facts. I strongly recommend this book to the innumerable cricket-lovers of the country.

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