Book Title: The Lords of Wankhede
Author: W. V. Raman and R. Kaushik
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Number of Pages: 288
Date Published: Oct. 5, 2023
Price: INR 327
Mumbai, India’s historic cricketing city, has held three distinct Test matches at three different venues. The first Test in India was conducted in 1933-34 at the Bombay Gymkhana. Following WWII, the Cricket Club of India’s Brabourne Stadium hosted 17 Tests. A conflict between the Cricket Club of India and the Bombay Cricket Association, on the other hand, resulted in the creation of the 45000-capacity Wankhede Stadium. The stadium was the site of India’s first victory against New Zealand in 1974-75, as well as memorable innings by Sunil Gavaskar, Alvin Kallicharan, and Ian Botham. Swing bowlers benefit from the Wankhede stadium’s beachfront setting, although the red soil has mitigated these impacts.
In this connection, the book “The Lords of Wankhede,” authored by W. V. Raman and R. Kaushik, provides a compelling narrative of Indian cricket’s transformation over 28 years, bridging the gap between two iconic World Cup victories. The authors, drawing from their extensive cricketing experience, deliver a perspective that encapsulates the triumphs, challenges, and captivating journey of Indian cricket during this significant period.
One of the book’s standout features is its unwavering focus on Indian cricket, offering recognition to superstars without veering into hero worship. It paints a vivid picture of the sport, emphasizing the notion that few love success more than Indians, and even fewer possess the sagacity to appreciate the game for what it truly is. The book skillfully navigates complex topics like match-fixing and the Greg Chappell era, providing multiple perspectives while avoiding sensationalism. It highlights the role of stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly in restoring confidence in Indian cricket.
W. V. Raman, a former cricketer himself, provides valuable insights into how players and administrators attempted to collaborate, often with varying degrees of success. The book is marked by its deep affection for Indian cricket, and its balanced narrative offers a comprehensive view of the sport’s evolution in the country.
In “The Lords of Wankhede,” the authors chronicle the transformation of Indian cricket from the 1983 World Cup victory to the memorable 2011 win at the iconic Wankhede Stadium. They capture the essence of the sport’s progress, showcasing key moments and the rise of legendary figures like Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and Sourav Ganguly. The book delves into controversies, such as the Greg Chappell-Ganguly saga and the dark period of match-fixing.
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For cricket enthusiasts, “The Lords of Wankhede” is a delightful read that perfectly complements the thrill of watching the game. It offers a comprehensive account of the events that shaped Indian cricket, making it a valuable addition to any cricket book collection. The book’s meticulous documentation of cricket memories, alongside its insightful analysis, ensures it stands as a must-read for cricket aficionados, offering a journey through the highs and lows of Indian cricket in an engaging and informative manner.
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