RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians

by Suresh Menon

Published by:
Harper Sport - An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
A joint venture with The India Today Group
A-53, Sector 57, Noida - 201301
Website : www.harpercollins.in

Abhishek Hazarika (Executive-Digital Marketing)

Pages : 148

Price :

HarperCollins Publishers and Suresh Menon must be congratulated on bringing out the first book on India's World Cup triumph.

Clearly laid out and well printed, this is a useful addition to the library of the statistician/historian. The pictures which decorate many of the 148 pages enhance the overall effect.

In the first chapter, namely, Dhoni did it his way, Suresh Menon remarked: "Just as the tournament put the stamp on Asian resurgence, it brought to an end the domination of Australia, who had won the last three championships. Ricky Ponting bowed out with one of the most courageous centuries in one-day cricket, standing tall as everyone around him fell, and ignoring both a fractured finger and calls for his head. The journey had begun for Australia in the 1987 World Cup in the subcontinent, so things had come full circle.

Menon believes the 2010-11 was "a tournament that was necessary to restore faith in a World Cup that had floundered in the West Indies four years ago, easily one of the most poorly organized of the ten editions so far. The average fan struggled to watch a match as much due to the high price of tickets as to the various do's and don'ts he was subjected to. Stands were often empty. In the subcontinent, by contrast, there were healthy crowds even for the minor games, and Bangladesh in particular brought to the grounds a spectacular mix of excitement an sheer energy."

India, according to Menon, won the World Cup after systematically defeating all the previous champions - West Indies, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. There were no lucky breaks, no elimination of strong teams by others to ease the path, and in fact no easy games handed to them on a platter.

In a chapter, The Quiet Motivator, Menon says the captain-coach relationship is crucial in a team. Ganguly-Wright was excellent, Dravid-Chappell worked well, but it is the Dhoni-Kirsten one that has been the most effective and the least controversial. Captain Cool and Coach Calm had the maths right.

Yuvraj Singh has got special mention from the author: "The resurrection of Yuvraj has been one of the inspiring stories of the World Cup. Down, and nearly out six months ago, he transformed into a champion in a champion side. It must have been difficult, and it is possible he learnt as much from Tendulkar, who inspired him, as from the younger playrs who held up a mirror to his own flashy ways."

The book is a thoughtful, well organised and presented with all the professional attention to the fascinating minutiae.