RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
The Great Tamasha
The Great Tamasha - Cricket, Corruption and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India

by James Astill
Published with permission from Wisden Sports Writing -
an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Indian address: Vasant Kunj, New Delhi - 110070

ISBN 978 93 82951 16 2

Senior Manager Marketing - Academic & Trade:
Ms Anurima Roy
Email: anurima.roy@bloomsbury.com


James Astill is the political editor of The Economist. He was formerly the newspaper's South Asia Bureau Chief, stationed in New Delhi between 2007 and 2010.

The timing of the release of James Astill's The Great Tamasha is perfect in view of the happenings during the IPL VI. The betting scandal is another example of the way India's control of the game has ruined cricket. The book examines how a game and a country, both regarded as synonymous with infinite patience, managed to produce such an event.
Astill believes "India has made an English summer game its own, and in the process changed it. Indian cricket is more popular, more manically followed and at its infrequent best, more delicately skilful than the game played by any non-Asian country".

The superb publication has nine chapters, namely, Mastering the Game; In the Land of the Blind; The Cricket Box; The Pawar and the Glory; Boundaries of Belief, Cricket, Caste and the Countryside; Cricket a la Modi, With the Daredevils and Twenty20 Vision. The first three chapters are broadly historical, tracing the history of the Indian game, from its genesis on the maidans of Victorian Bombay to the explosive growth of the TV-cricket economy, followed by the next three covering politics while the last three are mainly about the great cricketing event of James' time spent in Delhi - the launch and early years of the Indian Premier League.

Astill tells how cricket has become the place where power and money and celebrity and corruption all meet in India, to the rap attention of a billion eyeballs.

James has shown his concern with regard to Jagmohan Dalmiya's temporary appointment in place of Srinivasan. "His two-decade-long rule over Indian cricket, from the mid-1980s, coincided with the reshaping of Indian cricket into the rapaciously commercial and bruisingly confrontational force it is today. He also stands accused of being chiefly responsible for the board's most egregious failure, underestimating the seriousness of the match-fixing cancer spread by illegal Indian bookmakers that emerged during the 1990s. Dalmiya's era ended in disgrace, in 2006, when he was charged with embezzlement by his rivals on the cricket board, briefly arrested and slung out of Indian cricket. Yet now, having been cleared of those charges, he is back in the top job. What a circus this is."

A brilliant evocation of an endlessly beguiling country, The Great Tamasha is a brilliant evocation of an endlessly beguiling country, it is also essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the workings of modern India.

Having also worked as the newspaper's defence editor, energy and environment editor and Afghanistan correspondent, Astill has won several journalism awards including America's Gerald R.Ford Prize for Reporting on National Defence, the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Environmental Reporting and a Ramnath Goenka Award for writing on India.

Assiduous research with punctilious attention to detail, show the author's well established thoroughness and dedication.

Although an enjoyable book - the author's admiration for his subjects are obvious throughout, making the book an intriguing read. The rich text is authoritative.

The book is also available in Delhi with Prakash Books India Pvt. Ltd. (Tel: 23247062 web: www.prakashbooks.com)